The primary function of a legal coordinator is to work with lawyers, law clerks, paralegals, and other members of the law services team. They are responsible for managing the flow of documents, information, and data within the team. The vast majority of legal coordinator positions are found in large law firms, where multiple people work on client files.
There are multiple career paths and methods to become a legal coordinator. In Europe, these coordinators are fully certified lawyers. They are often required to travel extensively, and must be licensed to work in multiple European countries. This role is often found in large, international firms that require information from multiple locations to complete different processes. The coordinator is responsible for managing the file, in a role very similar to project manager.
In North America, legal coordinator is typically an administrative position. Candidates must have some type of legal training, but it is usually as a legal assistant or associate. The primary purpose of the role remains the coordination of information, but the level of responsibility is very different. In Europe, clients on large cases expect to communicate directly with the coordinator. In North America, the coordinator provides an overview of the file status to the lead lawyer, who communicates directly with the client.
Experience is the most important consideration when looking for a position as a legal coordinator. There are two types of experience required in this position: file management and process documentation. As a coordinator, he or she must have advanced computer software skills, in addition to excellent organization, communication, and interpersonal skills.
File management is more than just filing, and this is especially relevant for a legal coordinator. The management of document flow, ensuring the appropriate people receive the right documents in a timely fashion, and that the information in the primary file is well organized and up to date is very important. Archiving, indexing, and cross checking techniques are all necessary to ensure that documents can be retrieved quickly when needed.
Process documentation is a written set of instructions regarding the management of different business processes within the company. In the legal profession, it is very important for all the processes surrounding the management of documents, files, information, and data to be clearly documented. These procedures may be used in court, should there be any disputes surrounding the security of documents, and the steps taken by the law firm to protect its clients' confidentiality and rights.