What does a Legal Secretary do?
Legal secretaries provide administrative support for lawyers, solicitors and legal executives.
Legal secretaries carry out a wide range of administrative and secretarial tasks to help make a legal firm run smoothly. These include:
- Typing letters and legal documents
- Attending meetings and taking minutes
- Answering phone calls, emails and faxes
- Booking appointments and travel
- Basic book-keeping
- Audio transcription
- Acting as the first point of contact for clients and other individuals making enquiries
It’s possible that a legal secretary will work for a variety of lawyers who specialise in different areas of law. Alternatively, if they work in a large law firm, it’s more likely a legal secretary will work in one main area of law, such as employment, family or tax, for example.
Training and qualifications
There are no strict qualification requirements for becoming a legal secretary but a good standard of education is necessary – an English GCSE at grade A to C will normally be essential. Some relevant experience is usually required too.
Accredited secretarial qualifications can be beneficial. The Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs offers relevant courses, for example.
Experience of administrative work will be an advantage. Some employers will prefer this experience to be in a legal setting, whilst others are happy to train legal secretaries on the job.
The following skills and attributes will help you to succeed as a legal secretary:
- Strong secretarial skills such as typing and minute-taking
- High standard of English, both written and spoken
- Excellent attention to detail skills and an eye for accuracy
- Tact and discretion
- Ability to meet deadlines
- Ability to work under pressure
- Strong communication skills and the ability to deal with clients and lawyers professionally
The employment opportunities for legal secretaries are varied. As well as working in chambers and solicitors’ office, jobs also exist within councils, public sector offices and some large private businesses.
With experience and further training (which may be available on the job or be paid for by an employer), legal secretaries can go on to become paralegals or legal executives. Some even develop such an interest in the legal profession that they go on to become qualified barristers, lawyers or solicitors.
Legal secretaries can earn between £13,000 and £20,000. Experienced legal secretaries who work for large legal firms or businesses can earn more than £30,000.