How to Secure a Legal Secretary Job

With the legal profession, there are lots of different jobs that you can consider.  You may want to train to become a solicitor or a barrister or even start as a paralegal.  Another area that is always in demand is the legal secretary – but how do you go about getting one of these roles?

What is a legal secretary?

Before you look at How to get a Legal Secretary Job, it is worth understanding what the role entails and what kind of work you will be required to do in the role.  Legal secretaries offer administrative support with day to day tasks in a law firm. This means it can be a varied and interesting role with the exact responsibilities being different in different companies.

Some examples of the kind of duties a legal secretary may be asked to do include:

  • Help produce legal documents such as wills, court papers and contracts
  • Handle enquiries from clients
  • Prepare court forms and statement
  • Deliver and collect documents
  • Attend court or police stations alongside solicitors

The role also involves a lot of general secretarial duties that are common across industries such as organising and operating the office filing system and processing documents of all sorts.  There may also be scheduling work such as organising meetings and handling the calendars of legal executives within the company. It may also involve jobs such as ordering stationery, handling incoming mail and faxes and other administrative errands.

Skills and qualifications

The skills and qualifications needed for the role are a combination of classic secretarial skills and more specialist ones for the nature of the role.  

In terms of qualifications, there isn’t always the need to go to university.  A good general education can work for some entry-level positions. Other companies may require some specialist training such a CPD accredited legal secretary diploma.  There are usually two levels of these diplomas – Level 2 is for people with no previous experience and gives them the essential secretarial skills to start in the role.  A Level 3 qualification is then added to this and allows you to specialise as a legal secretary.

Some of the skills needed for the job will be learned in a variety of secretary roles.  These include computer literacy, exceptional communication skills and the ability to work under pressure.  Excellent organisational skills are key to the role and you should be versatile and able to take on new duties or adapt to a new task quickly.

Roles and career progression

Even if you are just starting your qualification as a legal secretary, there are often ways to get a role in a legal firm and start your career.  There are some that offer trainee programs where you study alongside gaining work experience. There may also be entry roles that are ideal if you have some experience as a secretary and want to add that Level 3 qualification for legal secretaries to this knowledge.

The career path for the legal secretary is wide and varied.  Some move on to become personal assistants or even executive assistants for top lawyers or make a sideways move into another area of the legal profession.  These roles involve a lot more responsibility and decision making than that of a secretary and obviously command a higher wage. You could even train in specific areas of the law and move into different types of roles with your solid background.

Conclusion

Legal secretaries are always in demand and by adding qualifications to skills and personality traits, you can make yourself the ideal candidate for this type of role.  There are lots of different areas of law you can work in and plenty of career progression available.

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