Legal secretaries are employees in a law firm who are responsible for many administrative tasks. They handle the tasks such as filing and keeping records, ensuring that all documents are stored properly, and update contact information data and other essential office databases. They must also be knowledgeable on the law because they are, at times, assigned to draw up legal documents such as motions and subpoenas, conduct legal research, and write up other important office memoranda. Legal secretaries should be organized, trustworthy, and level-headed.

Legal Secretary Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real legal secretary resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Maintain and develop relationships with parties involve in claims including adjusters and employer representatives and cooperate and managing expectations.
  • Research/Draft legal correspondence, setup /maintain extensive legal files for trial, prepare pleadings/letters/motions subpoenas, and monitor office supplies.
  • Create presentations in PowerPoint for national meetings, keep calendars, domestic and international travel arrangements and handle all administrative duties.
  • Enter billing for department paralegals.
  • Proofread all documents for accuracy and completeness.
  • Provide administrative support for senior partners, associates and other paralegals.
  • Update legal website uploading current documents, organization charts and company policies on SharePoint.
  • Maintain legal department calendars and coordinate with medical offices, insurance companies and opposing counsel.
  • Schedule transportation including travel arrangements, court reporters, interpreters and conference rooms via internet or telephone.
  • General understanding of PowerPoint: create, update and/or modify presentations for speaking engagements or client development seminars.
Legal Secretary Traits
Writing skills is important when it comes to clearing expressing yourself in any written document.
Interpersonal skills involves being able to communicate efficiently with multiple people regarding your thoughts, ideas and feedback.
Organizational skills are essential to working as efficiently as possible through being able to focus on projects at hand while also keeping a clean workspace.

Legal Secretary Job Description

Between the years 2018 and 2028, legal secretary jobs are expected to undergo a growth rate described as "decline" at -7%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So if the thought "should I become a legal secretary?" Has crossed your mind, maybe you should take the growth rate into account. In addition, the number of legal secretary opportunities that are projected to become available by 2028 is -276,700.

A legal secretary annual salary averages $37,097, which breaks down to $17.84 an hour. However, legal secretaries can earn anywhere from upwards of $26,000 to $52,000 a year. This means that the top-earning legal secretaries make $26,000 more than the lowest-earning ones.

As is the case with most jobs, it takes work to become a legal secretary. Sometimes people change their minds about their career after working in the profession. That's why we looked into some other professions that might help you find your next opportunity. These professions include a district court administrator, service officer, litigation paralegal, and paralegal.

Legal Secretary Jobs You Might Like

Legal Secretary Resume Examples

Legal Secretary Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 26% of Legal Secretaries are proficient in Legal Documents, Law Firm, and Court Proceedings. They’re also known for soft skills such as Writing skills, Interpersonal skills, and Organizational skills.

We break down the percentage of Legal Secretaries that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Legal Documents, 26%

    Supported Managing Partner with document management, calendar organization, preparation for meetings, and preparation of correspondence and legal documents.

  • Law Firm, 7%

    Managed practice for busy partner in Intellectual Property and Technology department of an international law firm.

  • Court Proceedings, 5%

    Witness attestation and affirmation of signatures, Follow-up inquiry letters to attorneys and litigants involving court proceedings.

  • Scheduling Appointments, 4%

    Provided direct support to 3 associates and performed administrative functions including heavy filing, maintaining calendars, scheduling appointments and meetings.

  • Travel Arrangements, 4%

    Coordinate travel arrangements, meetings and maintain business/personal calendar client contact, manage business/personal calendar for partner and associate.

  • Subpoenas, 3%

    Created continuance motions, deposition notices and subpoenas, compiled exhibits and updated correspondence in preparation for hearings and depositions.

"legal documents," "law firm," and "court proceedings" aren't the only skills we found legal secretaries list on their resumes. In fact, there's a whole list of legal secretary responsibilities that we found, including:

  • Writing skills can be considered to be the most important personality trait for a legal secretary to have. According to a legal secretary resume, "secretaries and administrative assistants write memos and emails when communicating with managers, employees, and customers" legal secretaries are able to use writing skills in the following example we gathered from a resume: "answer incoming calls, making outbound calls scheduling appointments responding back to e-mails writing cover letter to attorney/clients"
  • While it may not be the most important skill, we found that many legal secretary duties rely on interpersonal skills. This example from a legal secretary explains why: "secretaries and administrative assistants interact with clients, customers, or staff." This resume example is just one of many ways legal secretaries are able to utilize interpersonal skills: "used extensive interpersonal skills to assist clients with scheduling appointments and questions about their files. "
  • Legal secretaries are also known for organizational skills, which can be critical when it comes to performing their duties. An example of why this skill is important is shown by this snippet that we found in a legal secretary resume: "secretaries and administrative assistants keep files, folders, and schedules in proper order so an office can run efficiently." We also found this resume example that details how this skill is put to the test: "processed invoices for payment, ordered office supplies and equipment; updated organizational charts. "
  • See the full list of legal secretary skills.

    We've found that 37.4% of legal secretaries have earned a bachelor's degree. Furthermore, 3.1% earned their master's degrees before becoming a legal secretary. While it's true that some legal secretaries have a college degree, it's generally possible to become one with only a high school degree. In fact, one out of every four legal secretaries did not spend the extra money to attend college.

    Those legal secretaries who do attend college, typically earn either business degrees or legal support services degrees. Less commonly earned degrees for legal secretaries include criminal justice degrees or secretarial and administrative science degrees.

    Once you're ready to become a legal secretary, you should explore the companies that typically hire legal secretaries. According to legal secretary resumes that we searched through, legal secretaries are hired the most by Robert Half International, Zurich, and Adelson, Testan, Brundo & Jimenez. Currently, Robert Half International has 62 legal secretary job openings, while there are 9 at Zurich and 3 at Adelson, Testan, Brundo & Jimenez.

    Since salary is important to some legal secretaries, it's good to note that they are figured to earn the highest salaries at Seyfarth Shaw, Fisher & Phillips, and Kutak Rock. If you were to take a closer look at Seyfarth Shaw, you'd find that the average legal secretary salary is $87,737. Then at Fisher & Phillips, legal secretaries receive an average salary of $78,522, while the salary at Kutak Rock is $75,943.

    View more details on legal secretary salaries across the United States.

    We also looked into companies who hire legal secretaries from the top 100 educational institutions in the U.S. The top three companies that hire the most from these institutions include LAW Offices, Skadden, and Robert Half International.

    For the most part, legal secretaries make their living in the professional and manufacturing industries. Legal secretaries tend to make the most in the professional industry with an average salary of $59,678. The legal secretary annual salary in the manufacturing and retail industries generally make $45,285 and $38,620 respectively. Additionally, legal secretaries who work in the professional industry make 80.0% more than legal secretaries in the government Industry.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious legal secretarys are:

      What District Court Administrators Do

      In this section, we compare the average legal secretary annual salary with that of a district court administrator. Typically, district court administrators earn a $8,534 higher salary than legal secretaries earn annually.

      While their salaries may differ, one common ground between legal secretaries and district court administrators are a few of the skills required in each craft. In both careers, employees bring forth skills like court proceedings, federal courts, and counsel.

      There are some key differences in responsibilities as well. For example, a legal secretary responsibilities require skills like "legal documents," "law firm," "scheduling appointments," and "travel arrangements." Meanwhile a typical district court administrator has skills in areas such as "court operations," "police reports," "administrative capacity," and "court administration." This difference in skills reveals how truly different these two careers really are.

      District court administrators tend to reach higher levels of education than legal secretaries. In fact, district court administrators are 29.5% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 15.3% more likely to have a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of a Service Officer?

      A service officer or client services officer is a professional who is a part of a financial management team that delivers services to customers. Service officers provide client support services by maintaining a high level of professionalism and competence in client interactions. They analyze and resolve customer service issues but inform management when they are faced with complex issues to discuss resolutions. Service officers are also required to attend educational training and workshops for their personal growth.

      Next up, we have the service officer profession to look over. This career brings along a higher average salary when compared to a legal secretary annual salary. In fact, service officers salary difference is $9,133 higher than the salary of legal secretaries per year.

      A similarity between the two careers of legal secretaries and service officers are a few of the skills associated with both roles. We used resumes from both professions to find that both use skills like "subpoenas," "counsel," and "powerpoint. "

      While some skills are similar in these professions, other skills aren't so similar. For example, several resumes showed us that legal secretary responsibilities requires skills like "legal documents," "law firm," "court proceedings," and "scheduling appointments." But a service officer might use skills, such as, "customer service," "procedures," "facility," and "financial services."

      In general, service officers study at higher levels of education than legal secretaries. They're 15.6% more likely to obtain a Master's Degree while being 15.3% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      How a Litigation Paralegal Compares

      A litigation paralegal is a specialist who is responsible for assisting attorneys throughout the trial process. On the plaintiff side, litigation paralegals conduct initial client interviews and legal research for case preparations. They assist with the preliminary examinations of witnesses and jury selection in the courtroom. Litigation paralegals often assist attorneys with case settlements and help identify issues for appeals. They must also possess excellent skills in verbal and written communication and should have great attention in detail.

      Let's now take a look at the litigation paralegal profession. On average, these workers make higher salaries than legal secretaries with a $14,730 difference per year.

      Using legal secretaries and litigation paralegals resumes, we found that both professions have similar skills such as "legal documents," "law firm," and "court proceedings," but the other skills required are very different.

      Some important key differences between the two careers are a few of the skills necessary to fulfill responsibilities. Some examples from legal secretary resumes include skills like "scheduling appointments," "word processing," "telephone calls," and "expense reports," whereas a litigation paralegal might be skilled in "document review," "affidavits," "litigation support," and "document management. "

      Interestingly enough, litigation paralegals earn the most pay in the professional industry, where they command an average salary of $57,346. As mentioned previously, legal secretaries highest annual salary comes from the professional industry with an average salary of $59,678.

      When it comes to education, litigation paralegals tend to earn similar education levels than legal secretaries. In fact, they're 4.6% more likely to earn a Master's Degree, and 8.1% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of a Paralegal

      Paralegals are law firm or legal department employees who work on cases with lawyers. They handle different activities, usually administrative or clerical, such as organizing and maintaining files, updating records, and managing correspondences, among others. Paralegals also handle different activities directly related to active cases being worked on by lawyers in the firm or department. They assist lawyers on cases by preparing materials needed for trials, conducting legal research, verifying trial facts, helping during interviews, getting statements from those involved in the case, and creating presentation materials. Paralegals should have knowledge of laws and should be familiar with landmark cases.

      Now, we'll look at paralegals, who generally average a higher pay when compared to legal secretaries annual salary. In fact, the difference is about $6,896 per year.

      While their salaries may vary, legal secretaries and paralegals both use similar skills to perform their jobs. Resumes from both professions include skills like "legal documents," "law firm," and "court proceedings. "

      Each job requires different skills like "word processing," "expense reports," "administrative tasks," and "secretarial support," which might show up on a legal secretary resume. Whereas paralegal might include skills like "document review," "affidavits," "bankruptcy," and "due diligence."

      Now, let's take a closer look at the financials in each career. The manufacturing industry tends to pay more for paralegals with an average of $53,708. While the highest legal secretary annual salary comes from the professional industry.

      In general, paralegals reach similar levels of education when compared to legal secretaries resumes. Paralegals are 3.9% more likely to earn their Master's Degree and 6.7% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.