How to become a Legal Secretary

Do you have aspirations and ambitions? Are you tired of that mediocre job you are into? Do you want to earn more money? And you feel being a legal Secretary might solve all your problems. Wonderful reader, you are on the right page. 

Here I’ll be showing you “What a legal secretary does, how much they make, the difference between a legal secretary and a paralegal, the skills you need to become, and so much more.

Welcome as we show you how to become a secretary.

I know you might be wondering, who a legal secretary is. The answer is quite simple. A legal secretary is a secretary in the legal field. Just like I would call a secretary in a hospital a “medical secretary”.

The difference lies in the technicality of the job.  

Now, for a more concise definition. But first, let’s see who a secretary is. Secretaries are often the people who keep track of and coordinate office chores, execute policies, and perform other administrative responsibilities, depending on their position.

In the course of this post, I will talk about the roles and activities of a legal secretary. 

According to Wikipedia, a legal secretary is a specific type of employee. He is a person who works in the legal profession, usually as an assistant to lawyers. Follow attentively to see their roles.

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The role of a legal secretary cannot be overemphasized. But I will be telling you the basic roles legal secretaries perform.

Solicitors, barristers, and legal executives use legal secretaries for administrative help. Legal letters and papers, such as wills, will be among the things you produce.

You’ll need to be able to decipher complicated legal language and possess exceptional administrative and IT abilities.

Below is the list of some of the roles you will perform as a legal secretary.

  • Keeping records up to date
  • Typing up legal documents.
  • Answering the phone.
  • Organizing diaries.
  • Preparing court forms.
  • Attending court.
  • Performing legal research.
  • Making appointments with clients.

These are just a few of the many things legal secretaries do.

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As I have defined earlier, a legal secretary is a specific kind of secretary that operates in the legal field.  But who is a “Paralegal”

The truth is, you might have seen how paralegals work on TV. TV series like Suits, how to get away with Murder etc. The list is endless. But do you know what they do? Do you understand their roles? Do not fret. I will show you all these.

A paralegal is a valuable part of a legal team who has a broad understanding of the law and legal issues but is not a licensed attorney. They also perform many administrative duties.

Administrative duties like Legal Research, Negotiations, Project management, Document management, Drafting basic legal documents, Administrative support, Client care, and client progression. 

They are frequently associate members of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and work with solicitors, barristers, and/or chartered legal executives (CILEx).

A legal secretary performs more like a cleric or an assistant, with duties like typing, transcribing, and filing, while a paralegal assumes more responsibilities, often writing legal drafts and creating correspondence on behalf of the lawyer.

Being a legal secretary requires certain skills. Apart from understanding the roles, you must also get to know the skills.  I won’t dwell more on this. But I’ll be listing the top 10 skills you need to possess to become a legal secretary.

1. Writing Skills:

This skill was expected, right? Yeah, I know. Writing skills are one of the major skills needed by legal secretaries. Attorneys need their secretaries to be good and proficient writers.

There will be a lot of paper works and documents to fill in and all. The lawyer can’t do all these alone. This is where the legal secretary comes in as an assistant. 

2. Computer Skills:

How efficient are your computer skills? Typing, photocopying, printing, etc. How efficient are you computer-wise. Attorneys need their assistants to be excellent computer users. 

3. Problem-solving skills:

Due to the enormous work, an attorney is occupied with, his assistant must be ready to deal with certain problems and assist in making some problem-solving decisions.

4. ProofReading:

This is an essential skill when it comes to the attorney or some other legal practitioner working to meet up a deadline. The attorney might not have the time to read through some documents especially those he wrote/typed. The legal secretary must be a fast and mistake spotting reader.

5. Typing Skills:

This may fall underwriting and computer skills. The secretary must be a good type and a very fast one at that.

6. Ability to Prepare and File Court Documents.

The responsibility of preparing court forms, filing them in court, and serving them on opposing parties lies upon the legal secretary. Therefore, they should become familiar with all legal documents, including proofs of service, complaints, briefs, and subpoenas.

7. Confidentiality:

Some cats are not meant to be let out of the bag. Legal secretaries should learn to keep clients. 

8. Attention to detail:

Paying full attention to errors during typing, proofreading, and some editing work is important. 

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9. Listening and Communication Skills:

These skills are as important as all the above skills mentioned. During meetings that require taking and reading minutes, the legal secretary should be able to listen and communicate in such meetings. 

10. Research Skills:

As a legal secretary looking forward to being better, your research skills must be top-notch. You will need this skill to make research on witnesses to a case or to make research on the case as a whole.

There are so many skills required. These are some of the skills required.

Being a legal secretary can be very stressful. You would have noticed already. You might be thinking, “how will I do that much work and won’t break down?” The truth is there’s is no much you can do about it. Just take care of yourself health-wise.

Eat and exercise well on your free days.  

Sometimes mental and emotional breakdowns are the major cons associated with being a legal secretary.

Please don’t let this scare you. As I said earlier just eat and rest well.

To be at the top of the game, you must earn some degrees (if you don’t possess them already).

However, in this field, there are no important requirements or experiences needed, but in order to be at the top of the field and handle some complexities, you will need to earn some degrees. 

A Bachelor’s degree program in legal practices and administration will be of great help. 

There Is however something you should know. “INTERNING”. Yes INTERNING! Find places where you can intern. This is one of the best ways to gain experience as a legal secretary.

This differs with places. But in most places in the US, legal secretaries earn an average salary of 40000 USD to 50000 USD. Is it mouth-watering enough?  I don’t know. You tell me.

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To work as a secretary, you must first obtain the necessary qualifications, which include schooling and job experience, as well as develop essential skills. 

Here I’ll be giving you a step-by-step guide on how to become a legal secretary.

1. Earn a high school diploma.

Working as a legal secretary requires at least a high school diploma or a GED certificate. You should concentrate on strengthening your grammar and writing skills, as well as your database management and word processing skills, while in high school.

2. Formal education or a college program must be completed.

Although formal training is not required, some law firms prefer legal secretaries who have earned a bachelor’s degree or a postsecondary certificate.

Legal research, billing procedures, state and federal court systems, court filings, and law office operations may be covered in legal secretary programs.

You may enroll in a secretarial school that includes short-term internships with lawyers.

3. Acquire some work experience.

As I have mentioned earlier, you can gain work experience by interning. It is one of the best ways to gain some experience.  You might inquire about internships or short-term work opportunities with law firms or government entities with legal departments. 

4. Begin your career as an administrator or secretary.

5. Make a solid resume.

When creating a resume, include some of your work experiences and some of the areas you specialized in. Include, in your resume, the training courses you took. 

If you don’t have any relevant work experience, emphasize relevant talents such as computer and writing skills, as well as organizational skills.

Conclusion

Some jobs may not require much experience, but experience is always preferred. If an aspiring legal secretary wants to earn on-the-job training they may first start as a legal receptionist.

References

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