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Legal Assistant

Job Details

American Psychiatric Association HQ - Washington, DC
4 Year Degree
Legal Admin


Position Summary:

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is a nonprofit organization of more than 38,000 psychiatrist members working together to ensure humane care and effective treatment for all persons with mental illness, including substance use disorders. It is the voice and conscience of modern psychiatry. Its vision is a society that has available, accessible quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment.

This energetic and self-starting person is integral to the success of the APA Office of General Counsel by managing the department’s various functions and processes, which includes budget and financial tracking, interaction with other departments of the organization and outside organizations, and substantive and administrative support to the legal department, important organizational committees and councils and other departments. The Legal Assistant provides research, organizational and administrative support to a very busy office that handles diverse issues and works closely with other organizations, members, and all other departments of APA and its foundation.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Prepares presentations and materials for attorneys for meetings and seminars.
  • Assists with management of administrative aspects of APA’s contracting process, including database management, requests for proposals, contract amendments and renewals under supervision of department attorneys.
  • Files annual corporate documents and updates in DC and DE, ensures representation in states where APA does business, monitors and coordinates trademark and copyright renewals with outside counsel.
  • Oversees legal department finances to adhere to yearly budget and forecasts future budget needs, including processing invoices and expenses, preparing budget reports and planning of expenditures.
  • Coordinates logistics for meetings and seminars.
  • Assists in the selection and management of student interns in summer intern program when held.
  • Prioritizes and responds to requests from members, and district branches under direction and supervision of department attorneys.
  • Responds to correspondence received from the public.
  • Coordinates travel and oversees expenses and organization of the meetings and phone calls of the various APA components staffed by the legal office.


The Legal Assistant’s performance on these duties and responsibilities will be measured using the following competencies:


  • Performs complex administrative or operational processes for the Legal Department to perform legal and factual research, respond to inquiries from the public and psychiatrist members, manage specific request for proposal processes, and Department budget.
  • Contributes knowledge and skills to the day-to-day activities of the Legal Department, Ethics Committee, Council on Psychiatry and Law, and Committee on Judicial Action
  • Provides suggestions and recommendations that improve processes and increase efficiency
  • Demonstrates proficiency in the use of specialized skills and techniques, including proficiency in Microsoft Office and legal research databases WESTLAW, LEXIS-NEXIS, and PACER
  • Success is frequently measured by completing a small to medium set of tasks and demonstrating defined individual and group work environment behaviors


  • Work is primarily routine as methods and procedures are well-defined but offers opportunity for minor planning and problem solving as challenges arise and flexibility in how tasks are executed
  • Proposes plans to manage direct responsibilities and assist with other aspects of the Legal Department more effectively
  • Develops short-term plans/priorities for meeting individual goals
  • Identifies problems and issues. Implements known solutions with management approval
  • Recognizes out-of-scope problems and escalates them to the appropriate level


  • Relationships primarily center on collaborative work efforts within the Legal Department and between other departments across the organization
  • Relationships may include significant face-to-face interactions with members, customers, and vendors, especially members of the Ethics Committee, Council on Psychiatry and Law, and Committee on Judicial Action
  • Accurately differentiates and prioritizes information and/or issues and determines who needs to be consulted or kept informed
  • Uses tact and discretion to obtain cooperation and understanding on routine and non-routine matters


  • Demonstrates a general understanding of theLegal Department’s relationships and responsibilities within the department
  • Demonstrates a general understanding of the relationships and responsibilities of relevant APA components
  • Demonstrates general knowledge of APA’s policies and procedures
  • Demonstrates general knowledge of terminology of the Legal Department


  • May supervise summer interns when engaged by the Legal Department



  • College degree preferred. Associate degree plus experience can substitute.
  • Strong interest in law and mental health.
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality, exercise discretion and sound judgment.
  • Highly organized with ability to prioritize, multi-task and take initiative. Possess strong accuracy, attention to detail and ability to follow-through.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, interpersonal skills, tact and diplomacy with the ability to work with all levels of management.
  • Ability to work under pressure, meet multiple deadlines, troubleshoot and problem solve.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook).
  • High-energy and creativity.
  • Proficiency in legal research using Westlaw, Lexis-Nexis and Pacer databases a plus.

EOE, including disability/vets