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Become A Law Secretary

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Working As A Law Secretary

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Performing Administrative Activities
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $56,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Law Secretary Do

Secretaries and administrative assistants perform routine clerical and administrative duties. They organize files, prepare documents, schedule appointments, and support other staff.

Duties

Secretaries and administrative assistants typically do the following:

  • Answer telephones and take messages or transfer calls
  • Schedule appointments and update event calendars
  • Arrange staff meetings
  • Handle incoming and outgoing mail and faxes
  • Prepare memos, invoices, or other reports
  • Edit documents
  • Maintain databases and filing systems, whether electronic or paper
  • Perform basic bookkeeping

Secretaries and administrative assistants perform a variety of clerical and administrative duties that are necessary to run an organization efficiently. They use computer software to create spreadsheets; manage databases; and prepare presentations, reports, and documents. They also may negotiate with vendors, buy supplies, and manage stockrooms or corporate libraries. Secretaries and administrative assistants also use videoconferencing, fax, and other office equipment. Specific job duties vary by experience, job title, and specialty.

Executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants provide high-level administrative support for an office and for top executives of an organization. They often handle more complex responsibilities, such as reviewing incoming documents, conducting research, and preparing reports. Some also supervise clerical staff.

Legal secretaries perform work requiring knowledge of legal terminology and procedures. They prepare legal documents, such as summonses, complaints, motions, and subpoenas under the supervision of an attorney or a paralegal. They also review legal journals and help with legal research—for example, by verifying quotes and citations in legal briefs.

Medical secretaries transcribe dictation and prepare reports or articles for physicians or medical scientists. They also take simple medical histories of patients, arrange for patients to be hospitalized, or process insurance payments. Medical secretaries need to be familiar with medical terminology and codes, medical records, and hospital or laboratory procedures.

Secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal, medical, and executive is the largest subcategory of secretaries and administrative assistants. They handle an office’s administrative activities in almost every sector of the economy, including schools, government, and private corporations. For example, secretaries in schools are often responsible for handling most of the communications among parents, students, the community, teachers, and school administrators. They schedule appointments, receive visitors, and keep track of students’ records.

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How To Become A Law Secretary

High school graduates who have experience using computer software applications, such as word processing and spreadsheets, usually qualify for entry-level positions. Although most secretaries learn their job in several weeks, many legal and medical secretaries require additional training to learn industry-specific terminology. Executive secretaries usually need several years of related work experience.

Education

High school graduates can take courses in word processing and office procedures at technical schools or community colleges. Some temporary placement agencies also provide training in word processing, spreadsheet, and database software.

Some medical and legal secretaries learn industry-specific terminology and practices by attending courses offered at community colleges or technical schools. For executive secretary positions, employers increasingly prefer to hire those who have taken some college courses or have a bachelor’s degree.

Training

Secretaries and administrative assistants typically learn their skills through short-term on-the-job training, usually lasting a few weeks. During this time they learn about administrative procedures, including how to prepare documents. Medical and legal secretaries’ training may last several months as they learn industry-specific terminology and practices.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Executive secretaries can gain experience by working in administrative positions that have less challenging responsibilities. Many secretaries and administrative assistants advance to higher level administrative positions.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although not required, certification can demonstrate competency to employers.

The International Association of Administrative Professionals offers the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) certification. Candidates must have a minimum of 2 to 4 years of administrative work experience, depending on their level of education, and pass an examination.

Legal secretaries have several certification options. For example, those with 1 year of general office experience, or who have completed an approved training course, can acquire the Accredited Legal Professional (ALP) certification through a testing process administered by NALS (previously known as National Association of Legal Secretaries). NALS also offers the Professional Legal Secretary (PLS) certification, considered to be an advanced certification for legal support professionals.

The Certified Legal Secretary Specialist (CLSS) certification is conferred by Legal Secretaries International in areas such as intellectual property, criminal law, civil litigation, probate, and business law. Candidates typically need to have 5 years of legal experience and pass an examination to become certified.

Advancement

Secretaries and administrative assistants generally advance to other administrative positions with more responsibilities, such as office supervisor, office manager, or executive secretary.

With additional training, many legal secretaries become paralegals or legal assistants.

Important Qualities

Integrity. Many secretaries and administrative assistants are trusted to handle sensitive information. For example, medical secretaries collect patient data that is required, by law, to be kept confidential in order to protect patient privacy.

Interpersonal skills. Secretaries and administrative assistants interact with clients, customers, or staff. They should communicate effectively and be courteous when interacting with others to create a positive work environment and client experience.

Organizational skills. Secretaries and administrative assistants keep files, folders, and schedules in proper order so an office can run efficiently.

Writing skills. Secretaries and administrative assistants write memos and emails when communicating with managers, employees, and customers. Therefore, they must have good grammar, ensure accuracy, and maintain a professional tone.

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Average Length of Employment
Legal Secretary 5.0 years
Head Secretary 3.8 years
Program Secretary 3.2 years
Secretary 3.0 years
Law Secretary 3.0 years
Field Secretary 2.7 years
Junior Secretary 2.4 years
Law Internship 0.6 years
Top Careers Before Law Secretary
Secretary 17.4%
Cashier 6.5%
Internship 5.8%
Waitress 3.9%
Paralegal 3.2%
Clerk 2.6%
Teacher 2.6%
Editor 1.9%
Top Careers After Law Secretary
Secretary 13.8%
Cashier 4.9%
Server 4.0%
Associate 3.6%
Paralegal 3.6%
Volunteer 2.8%
Teacher 2.4%
Partner 1.6%
Tutor 1.6%

Do you work as a Law Secretary?

Law Secretary Demographics

Gender

Female

75.8%

Unknown

13.1%

Male

11.0%
Ethnicity

White

61.1%

Hispanic or Latino

16.5%

Black or African American

12.4%

Asian

5.8%

Unknown

4.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

61.5%

French

15.4%

German

7.7%

Korean

7.7%

Vietnamese

7.7%
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Law Secretary Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

17.6%

Manchester Community College

8.8%

New York University

5.9%

Fordham University

5.9%

Florida International University

5.9%

Hofstra University

5.9%

New York Law School

5.9%

Florida State University

5.9%

Norwalk Community College

5.9%

Saint Louis Community College

2.9%

Lone Star College System

2.9%

Ferris State University

2.9%

California State University - Chico

2.9%

Westmoreland County Community College

2.9%

Suffolk County Community College

2.9%

Richland Community College

2.9%

Elizabethtown College

2.9%

University of Alabama

2.9%

Washington University in Saint Louis

2.9%

Southwest Mississippi Community College

2.9%
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Majors

Law

13.1%

Business

12.4%

Legal Support Services

10.9%

Health Care Administration

7.3%

English

6.6%

Criminal Justice

6.6%

Psychology

5.1%

Legal Studies

4.4%

Accounting

4.4%

General Studies

3.6%

Communication

3.6%

Management

2.9%

Political Science

2.9%

Nursing

2.9%

Medical Technician

2.2%

Music

2.2%

Medical Assisting Services

2.2%

Criminology

2.2%

Secretarial And Administrative Science

2.2%

Social Work

2.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

32.7%

Other

27.7%

Associate

16.3%

Doctorate

7.4%

Certificate

6.9%

Masters

5.9%

Diploma

2.5%

License

0.5%
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Top Skills for A Law Secretary

  1. Legal Documents
  2. Court Hearings
  3. Scheduling Appointments
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Prepared time-sensitive legal documents for filing with various courts.
  • Greeted visitors, screened incoming telephone calls and mail to provide assistance or refer to lawyer.
  • Set up new clients file based and computer based.
  • Worked directly for the squadron commander answering phones, creating spreadsheets, filing administrative paper work and data entry.
  • Handle all detail work related to real estate closing files.

How Would You Rate Working As a Law Secretary?

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