ALA Logo
Welcome, Guest!   |  
ALA Tagline
Competency-Based Job/Needs Analysis

Job Tasks Performed

Required Knowledge or Competencies

Competencies Required of Principal Legal Administrators:

Full Listing of Competencies

The following 56 competencies are listed in the order of importance in which they were rated by principal legal administrators, along with a comparison to their rank in the 2000 survey:

Statement Rank in
Rank in
Written communication skills (e.g., writing memos, policy manuals, proposals, job descriptions). 1 1
Interpersonal relations skills (e.g., performance counseling, client contacts). 2 2
Oral communication skills (e.g., presentations to staff and lawyers, interactions with clients and vendors). 3 3
Knowledge of general accounting procedures, systems, terms, concepts and policies, including familiarity with general ledger, general journal entries, cost accounting, fixed asset accounting, accounts receivable, and accounts payable 4 4
Knowledge of budgeting, financial reporting, cash flow analysis, and variance analysis 5 5
Knowledge of time management strategies (e g., setting priorities, delegating) 6 6
Knowledge and skill in negotiation and conflict management techniques. 7 21
Knowledge of procedures and tools for recruiting, selecting, and promoting employees. 8 11
Knowledge of performance management systems (e.g., appraisal, disciplinary, and termination procedures). 9 18
Knowledge of leadership styles and techniques. 10 11
Knowledge of U.S. federal employment laws (e.g., Civil Rights Act of 1991, Americans with Disabilities Act). 11 23
Skill in using computer systems (e.g., word processing, accessing informational databases). 12 7
Knowledge of special issues in accounting for law firm operations, including time and billing systems, alternative billing methods, collection procedures, and cost recovery guidelines. 13 19
Knowledge of U.S. federal employee benefit laws (e.g., Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act [COBRA], Fair Labor Standards Act, Family and Medical Leave Act [FMLA], Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act [HIPAA], ERISA). 14 27
Knowledge of incentives/rewards systems (compensation, employee benefits). 15 10
Knowledge of employee motivational techniques. 16 17
Knowledge of records management and retention requirements (including paper and electronic documents). 17 30
Knowledge of stress management techniques. 18 15
Knowledge of methods of financial analysis, including reading and interpreting financial statements, calculating and interpreting various financial ratios, and analyzing comparative financial information across fiscal years. 19 16
Knowledge of the features and capabilities of computer and network hardware and software systems, including general purpose packages (e.g., spreadsheets, database programs, and word processing applications). 20 9
Knowledge of planning techniques (e.g., strategic, disaster, and business planning). 21 24
Knowledge of team development and management principles (e.g., self-directed teams, team building). 22 20
Knowledge of the features and capabilities of the Internet, web-based technology, and hardware and software systems, including security and confidentiality. 23 12
Knowledge of professional liability issues. 24 36
Knowledge of trust accounting procedures and regulations. 25 37
Knowledge and expertise in personnel training and development systems/methods. 26 25
Knowledge of electronic privacy issues. 27 n/a
Knowledge of changes/trends in the legal industry. 28 14
Knowledge of financial controls (e.g., division of responsibilities). 29 26
Knowledge of the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Ethics as it pertains to law firm management (e.g., conflict of interest, advertising, client file management). 30 44
Knowledge of organizational development techniques (e.g., change management). 31 22
Knowledge of the features and capabilities of automated financial management systems. 32 35
Knowledge of computer-based tools for financial analysis and management. 33 38
Knowledge of facilities management procedures and techniques. 34 32
Knowledge of work place health issues (e.g., ergonomic work stations, EAPs). 35 n/a
Knowledge of banking/investment policies and procedures and types of accounts. 36 42
Knowledge of U.S. federal payroll and employee benefit procedures, and tax and reporting requirements (e.g., Internal Revenue Service Code). 37 34
Knowledge of lease/contract agreements. 38 33
Knowledge of project management. 39 31
Knowledge of work product quality control procedures and techniques. 40 39
Knowledge of the features and capabilities of document assembly and management systems. 41 40
Knowledge of space assessment, design, and development strategies. 42 29
Knowledge of financing methods and investments (e.g., lease vs. buy). 43 45
Knowledge of laws and regulations regarding business insurance coverages. 44 47
Knowledge of the features and capabilities of practice support systems (e.g., LEXIS/NEXIS, QUICKLAW, research, document management, litigation support, case management). 45 43
Knowledge of legal organization structures and the laws and regulations regarding accounting procedures for each structure, including tax reporting requirements. 46 46
Knowledge of procurement and contract management procedures (e.g., developing requests for proposals, evaluating proposals, overseeing contractor performance). 47 48
Knowledge of workforce demographics and trends. 48 38
Knowledge of marketing techniques, including market analysis and marketing tools. 49 49
Knowledge of client service strategies (e.g., cross selling, value pricing, service/product packaging, business process re-engineering). 50 52
Knowledge of survey research (e.g., survey design, confidentiality issues) as it applies to employee, client, and market survey efforts. 51 50
Knowledge of the process of law firm mergers and acquisitions. 52 n/a
Knowledge of applicable non-U.S. payroll and employee benefit procedures, and tax and reporting requirements (e.g., Canadian Customs and Revenue Agency regulations). 53 n/a
Knowledge of non-U.S. employment laws. 54 53
Knowledge of non-U.S. based law-related codes of professional conduct. 55 54
Knowledge of non-U.S. employee benefit laws (e.g., Canada/Quebec Pension Plan). 56 55
Additional Information


Competencies of Legal Administrators


ALA Chapters

Connect with ALA: