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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

  • $47,633

    Average Salary

What Does A Legal 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 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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Do you work as a Legal Secretary?

Legal Secretary Jobs

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Legal Secretary Career Paths

Legal Secretary
Office Administrator Accounts Payable Clerk Accounts Receivable Specialist
Accounts Receivable Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Office Manager
Administrative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Office Manager
Business Office Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Operations Manager Chief Executive Officer
Chief Executive Officer/Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Clerk Billing Specialist Collections Specialist
Collections Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Paralegal Contracts Administrator Senior Contract Administrator/Contract Administrator
Contracts Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Real Estate Agent Sales Consultant Internet Sales Manager
Customer Relations Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Office Administrator Project Coordinator Program Manager
Deputy Director
9 Yearsyrs
Clerk Accounts Payable Clerk Human Resources Coordinator
Executive Assistant/Human Resources
6 Yearsyrs
Bookkeeper Billing Specialist Medical Coder
Health Information Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Executive Secretary Legal Assistant Medical Transcriptionist
Medical Office Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Executive Secretary Office Manager
Office Manager Of Human Resources
7 Yearsyrs
Legal Secretary/Paralegal Paralegal
Paralegal/Office Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Paralegal Office Manager
Practice Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Data Entry Clerk Operator Production Manager
Processing Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Billing Specialist Claims Representative Adjuster
Property Management Specialist
7 Yearsyrs
Data Entry Clerk Analyst Risk Analyst
Risk Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Legal Secretary
6 Yearsyrs
Secretary Vice President Partner
Senior Partner
10 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Legal Secretary 4.0 years
Legal Assistant 3.2 years
Clerical Secretary 3.1 years
Personal Secretary 2.9 years
Secretary 2.8 years
Legal Clerk 2.1 years
Legal Receptionist 1.9 years
Top Employers Before
Secretary 10.3%
Paralegal 5.7%
Internship 3.2%
Cashier 2.9%
Teller 2.0%
Clerk 1.9%
Top Employers After
Paralegal 9.9%
Secretary 6.1%
Cashier 2.1%
Owner 1.5%
Manager 1.5%

Do you work as a Legal Secretary?

Legal Secretary Demographics

Gender

Female

92.9%

Male

5.4%

Unknown

1.7%
Ethnicity

White

61.9%

Hispanic or Latino

16.9%

Black or African American

11.8%

Asian

6.0%

Unknown

3.4%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

68.9%

French

8.2%

German

3.7%

Portuguese

3.0%

Italian

2.9%

Russian

2.2%

Arabic

2.1%

Polish

1.6%

Chinese

1.2%

Mandarin

0.8%

Korean

0.8%

Japanese

0.8%

Hindi

0.7%

Dutch

0.6%

Urdu

0.5%

Carrier

0.4%

Tagalog

0.4%

Greek

0.4%

Croatian

0.4%

Swedish

0.3%
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Legal Secretary Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

21.4%

Kaplan University

11.7%

Northern Virginia Community College

5.5%

Liberty University

5.3%

University of Maryland - University College

4.8%

Miami Dade College

4.5%

Florida International University

4.4%

Strayer University

4.2%

American InterContinental University

4.2%

Katharine Gibbs School

3.5%

Ashford University

3.4%

George Mason University

3.4%

Grand Canyon University

3.2%

Northeastern University

3.2%

Georgia State University

3.0%

Nassau Community College

3.0%

Marshall University

2.9%

Southern New Hampshire University

2.9%

Camden County College

2.8%

San Francisco State University

2.8%
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Majors

Legal Support Services

24.2%

Business

20.3%

Criminal Justice

8.5%

Psychology

4.5%

Law

4.4%

Accounting

3.9%

English

3.6%

Health Care Administration

3.5%

Secretarial And Administrative Science

3.1%

Legal Studies

2.9%

Political Science

2.9%

Liberal Arts

2.5%

General Studies

2.4%

Education

2.3%

Communication

2.2%

Nursing

2.2%

Management

1.8%

Human Resources Management

1.8%

Elementary Education

1.7%

General Education, Specific Areas

1.5%
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Degrees

Other

30.3%

Bachelors

28.2%

Associate

18.4%

Certificate

10.0%

Masters

8.2%

Doctorate

2.8%

Diploma

1.6%

License

0.6%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

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 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 Secretaries Brian Lee Attorney at Law Santa Clara, CA Jan 17, 2008 $55,827
Legal Secretaries Brian Lee Attorney at Law Santa Clara, CA Nov 20, 2007 $55,827
Legal Secretaries Feiner & Lavy PC New York, NY Apr 10, 2012 $55,619
Legal Secretary Law Office of Leping Zhu, P.C. Denver, CO Dec 01, 2009 $46,415
Legal Secretaries Feiner & Lavy PC New York, NY May 09, 2011 $45,580
Legal Secretaries Miller, Canfield, Paddock & Stone, PLC Detroit, MI Apr 03, 2009 $42,162
Legal Secretaries Law Offices of James S. Hong Los Angeles, CA May 02, 2011 $40,780
Legal Secretary Harvard Management Associates Inc. New York, NY Sep 10, 2014 $39,924
Legal Secretary American Education Center, Inc. New York, NY Sep 10, 2014 $39,924
Legal Secretary Robert A. Siegel New York, NY Aug 17, 2012 $39,319 -
$48,084
Legal Secretary Robert A. Siegel, ESQ. New York, NY Aug 17, 2012 $39,319 -
$48,084
Legal Secretary Law Office of Peter L. Quan, PLLC NY Sep 10, 2015 $36,800 -
$37,000
Legal Secretary The Kasen Law Firm PLLC NY Oct 01, 2012 $36,450
Legal Secretary Leigh Group PLLC Dallas, TX Oct 29, 2015 $35,942
Legal Secretary Robert A. Siegel, ESQ. New York, NY Aug 16, 2010 $35,479
Legal Secretary Scott T. Kimmel, P.A. Deerfield Beach, FL Jun 25, 2009 $35,020
Legal Secretary Law Offices of Wong, Wong & Associates, P.C. New York, NY Oct 01, 2012 $35,000
Legal Secretary Wong, Wong & Associates, P.C. New York, NY Oct 01, 2012 $35,000

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Top Skills for A Legal Secretary

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  1. Legal Documents
  2. Real Estate Closings
  3. Pretrial Agreements
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Generated correspondence and legal documents Answered telephones Prepared expense reports Trial preparation
  • Organized and prepared documents for real estate closings Coordinated calendars and scheduled meetings Typed highly confidential documents with short turnaround times
  • Prepare and process legal documents, such as summons, subpoenas, complaints, appeals, motions, and pretrial agreements.
  • Coordinated domestic and international travel arrangements for attorneys; prepared visa applications/ follow up issuance of passport.
  • Maintained scheduled court hearings calendars.

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