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Become A Legal Secretary

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Working As A Legal 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

  • $40,508

    Average Salary

What Does A Legal Secretary Do

A Legal Secretary provides administrative support to one or more lawyers. They prepare court forms and statements, handle confidential information, and make appointments.

How To Become A Legal 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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82 Legal Secretary jobs More

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Real Legal Secretary Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Finance Broker & Legal Foreign Secretary Sky Enterprises LLC Jacksonville, FL Aug 01, 2014 $110,000
Legal Secretaries Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Palo Alto, CA Jun 18, 2012 $77,771
Legal Secretary/Legal Assistant Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Palo Alto, CA Sep 24, 2013 $68,757
Legal Secretary Feiner & Lavy PC New York, NY Sep 04, 2015 $67,766
Legal Secretaries Foley Hoag LLP Washington, DC Nov 08, 2012 $66,250
Legal Secretaries Law Offices of James S. Hong Los Angeles, CA Jun 25, 2014 $61,797
Legal Secretaries Law Offices of James S. Hong Los Angeles, CA Aug 07, 2014 $61,797
Legal Secretaries Law Offices of PJ Lee, P.C. Los Angeles, CA Mar 09, 2012 $60,091
Legal Secretary Law Office of Thomas V. Allen. PLLC. Edison, NJ Nov 05, 2012 $60,000
Legal Secretary/Legal Assistant Wilson Sonsini Goodrich &Amp; Rosati Palo Alto, CA Sep 24, 2010 $57,502
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Top Skills for A Legal Secretary

LegalCorrespondenceLegalDocumentsRealEstateClosingsDiscoveryDocumentsPretrialAgreementsTravelArrangementsPersonalInjuryCasesCounselComplaintsLawFirmBankruptcySchedulingAppointmentsExpenseReportsCourtDocumentsMedicalRecordsTelephoneCallsPhoneCallsLegalResearchOfficeSuppliesCourtDates

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Top Legal Secretary Skills

  1. Legal Correspondence
  2. Legal Documents
  3. Real Estate Closings
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed various duties as a legal secretary including scheduling depositions, typing legal correspondence and documents and Dictaphone transcribing.
  • Prepared legal documents for filing in state court.
  • Handled accounts payable, accounts receivable, monthly billing to nearly 200 clients and wrote checks for real estate closings.
  • Analyzed discovery documents in an Innocent Project case for potential factors to commute a death sentence or exonerate the client.
  • Prepared and processed legal documents and papers; summonses, subpoenas, complaints, appeals, motions and pretrial agreements.

Top Legal Secretary Employers

What Kind Of Companies Hire a Legal Secretary

  1. Law Offices of Winn and Sims
  2. Robert Half
  3. Steptoe & Johnson
  4. K&L Gates
  5. BakerHostetler
  6. Reed Smith
  7. Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP
  8. McGuireWoods
  9. Jackson Lewis P.C.
  10. Ogletree Deakins
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