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.

  • Interview clients and manage discovery response process including responses to interrogatories and production of documents.
  • Manage and perform paraprofessional and legal research functions relate to medical malpractice, products liability and general litigation.
  • Perform administrative tasks for managing partner and trial attorney at a medical malpractice litigation firm including daily transcription and stenography.
  • Draft and type probate documents, estate planning documents, discovery including interrogatories, correspondence.
  • Prepare pleadings such as; summonses and complaints, motions, interrogatories, subpoenas and judgments as well as general correspondence.
  • Provide full administrative and secretarial support for labor and employment law partner involve with high-stakes litigation on behalf of corporate clients.
  • Create presentations in PowerPoint for national meetings, keep calendars, domestic and international travel arrangements and handle all administrative duties.
  • Assist attorneys in devising, proofreading and executing legal documents that include motions, appeals, complaints, subpoenas and summonses.
  • Assist in contract review and retention, create and monitor agreements for projects and ensure entry into SharePoint contract management system.
  • Enter billing for department paralegals.
  • Proofread all documents for accuracy and completeness.
  • Provide administrative support for senior partners, associates and other paralegals.
  • Draft legal papers including complaints, summons and interrogatories and all documents relate thereto.
  • Update legal website uploading current documents, organization charts and company policies on SharePoint.
  • Prioritize constant daily dictation work flow of correspondence and carrier reports detailing various medical conditions.

Legal Secretary Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 12% of Legal Secretaries are proficient in Litigation, Legal Correspondence, and Dictation. 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:

  • Litigation, 12%

    Provided full administrative and secretarial support for labor and employment law partner involved with high-stakes litigation on behalf of corporate clients.

  • Legal Correspondence, 11%

    Research/drafted legal correspondence, setup /maintained extensive legal files for trial, prepared pleadings/letters/motions subpoenas, and monitored office supplies.

  • Dictation, 6%

    Typed general correspondence and extensive legal documentation; took dictation; filed and performed general office duties.

  • Law Firm, 6%

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

  • Travel Arrangements, 4%

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

  • Scheduling Appointments, 4%

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

Most legal secretaries list "litigation," "legal correspondence," and "dictation" as skills on their resumes. We go into more details on the most important legal secretary responsibilities here:

  • 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: "assist in writing mediation and arbitration summaries. "
  • Another trait important for fulfilling legal secretary duties is interpersonal skills. According to a legal secretary resume, "secretaries and administrative assistants interact with clients, customers, or staff." Here's an example of how legal secretaries are able to utilize interpersonal skills: "used extensive interpersonal skills to assist clients with scheduling appointments and questions about their files. "
  • Organizational skills is also an important skill for legal secretaries to have. This example of how legal secretaries use this skill comes from a legal secretary resume, "secretaries and administrative assistants keep files, folders, and schedules in proper order so an office can run efficiently." Read this excerpt from a resume to understand how vital it is to their everyday roles and responsibilities, "supervised law clerk as to administrative functions, established efficient organizational methods, and also performed duties corresponding to notary public. "
  • See the full list of legal secretary skills.

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    What District Court Administrators Do

    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.

    In this section, we compare the average legal secretary annual salary with that of a district court administrator. Typically, district court administrators earn a $15,362 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 legal research, court appearances, and district court.

    There are some key differences in responsibilities as well. For example, a legal secretary responsibilities require skills like "litigation," "legal correspondence," "dictation," and "law firm." Meanwhile a typical district court administrator has skills in areas such as "court operations," "police reports," "court administration," and "administrative capacity." 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 5.9% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 12.6% more likely to have a Doctoral Degree.

    What Are The Duties Of a Service Officer?

    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.

    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 $6,822 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," "powerpoint," and "district court. "

    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 "litigation," "legal correspondence," "dictation," and "law firm." But a service officer might use skills, such as, "customer service," "financial services," "patrol," and "veterans."

    It's been discovered that service officers earn higher salaries compared to legal secretaries, but we wanted to find out where service officers earned the most pay. The answer? The finance industry. The average salary in the industry is $65,804. Additionally, legal secretaries earn the highest paychecks in the professional with an average salary of $49,727.

    On the topic of education, service officers earn higher levels of education than legal secretaries. In general, they're 7.7% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 12.6% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    How a Litigation Paralegal Compares

    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.

    The third profession we take a look at is litigation paralegal. On an average scale, these workers bring in higher salaries than legal secretaries. In fact, they make a $16,759 higher salary per year.

    By looking over several legal secretaries and litigation paralegals resumes, we found that both roles utilize similar skills, such as "litigation," "law firm," and "travel arrangements." But beyond that the careers look very different.

    There are many key differences between these two careers as shown by resumes from each profession. Some of those differences include the skills required to complete responsibilities within each role. As an example of this, a legal secretary is likely to be skilled in "legal correspondence," "dictation," "scheduling appointments," and "transcription," while a typical litigation paralegal is skilled in "discovery responses," "mediation," "excellent organizational," and "affidavits."

    Interestingly enough, litigation paralegals earn the most pay in the professional industry, where they command an average salary of $64,050. As mentioned previously, legal secretaries highest annual salary comes from the professional industry with an average salary of $49,727.

    Litigation paralegals are known to earn similar educational levels when compared to legal secretaries. Additionally, they're 2.0% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 3.4% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    Description Of a Paralegal

    Paralegals tend to earn a higher pay than legal secretaries by about $8,218 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 "litigation," "legal correspondence," and "law firm. "

    While some skills are shared by these professions, there are some differences to note. "dictation," "transcription," "word processing," and "administrative tasks" are skills that have shown up on legal secretaries resumes. Additionally, paralegal uses skills like discovery responses, affidavits, legal support, and due diligence on their resumes.

    Paralegals earn a higher salary in the professional industry with an average of $55,416. Whereas, legal secretaries earn the highest salary in the professional industry.

    Paralegals reach similar levels of education when compared to legal secretaries. The difference is that they're 1.7% more likely to earn a Master's Degree more, and 3.4% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.