It takes more than a lawyer to run a law firm. Many people are involved in the legal process. Whether you are a client or starting a career in law, it is essential to understand the hierarchy of the law firm.
Attorneys, individuals who are licensed to practice law, are the backbone of any law firm. Generally a firm employs both partners, usually more experienced lawyers, and associates, less experienced attorneys.
Legal assistants are trained in law but are not licensed to practice. Typical legal assistants hired by law firms include law clerks, paralegals and legal secretaries.
Not everyone who works in a law firm is trained in law. Support staff can include IT professionals, customer service representatives, accountants and librarians. The support staff are the glue that holds the law firm together.