If you can combine good organizational skills, the ability to manage yourself and others and an interest in Law, then being a legal secretary may be the perfect career choice.
If you can combine good organizational skills, the ability to manage yourself and others and an interest in Law, then being a legal secretary may be the perfect career choice. The legal secretary is the administrative support for lawyers, solicitors and legal executives whose job is to ensure the smooth running of an office so their boss can focus on legal matters.
Training as a legal secretary
There are no compulsory training courses you need in order to become a legal secretary but there are some courses to take to increase your chances of landing the role.
For example, you can take quality Legal Secretary Training Courses in London or where you live to gain a complete understanding of the role. Or you can train as a secretary and then add basic legal studies into your curriculum. You can even find short-term intensive courses to top up and gain a qualification to go with experience you already have.
Legal secretary duties
What you will be required to do as part of your role depends a lot on the nature of the practice and what they are involved with.
Many of the jobs will be fairly standard secretarial tasks such as organizing and operating an office filing system, taking and handling incoming calls, scheduling meetings and organizing the calendars of the solicitors or lawyers in the practice and other admin tasks.
You will also be required to perform jobs relating to the legal side of the job. This might include the creation and processing of legal documents such as appeals, summonses and subpoenas. It may also mean handling correspondence and creating discovery documents, motions and briefs, depending on your legal experience.
What makes a good legal secretary?
So what are the skills and characteristics that make a good legal secretary and that you can work on in yourself?
- Organizational ability
Top of the list has to be organizational ability, just as with any other type of secretary or PA. You need to be able to organize your workload to accomplish as much as possible and also organize the people around you, so the office runs smoothly.
Good people skills
As the first point of contact for clients coming to the business, good people skills are important. You will also have to liaise with other professionals, other secretaries and legal specialists so being able to talk to people, listen to their problems and have a friendly manner is important.
- Top secretarial skills
Obviously, you need to build and hone secretarial skills that are universal across most industries. Computer literacy, typing skills, proofreading and the ability to work under pressure are all the kinds of skills that you need for any secretary job. You may also need skills such as time and billing software understanding and the ability to create presentations and spreadsheets for your boss to use in court and in meetings.
Basic legal knowledge
As a legal secretary, you won’t be expected to know as much as a solicitor or lawyer although you will pick up a lot over time. However, a good basic understanding of legal terminology and the courts system is a good foundation.
The job of a legal secretary is changing with the use of technology in the office, but job prospects remain strong with a continuous demand for these skills.
You can also look to progress to roles such as an administrator or a personal assistant in the legal profession as well as working for larger companies with different responsibilities and challenges once you have good foundation experience alongside your training.