Legal Secretary

Last Updated:
April 8, 2023

Job Description Overview

A Legal Secretary job description includes providing essential support to attorneys and paralegals within the legal administration industry. Legal Secretaries primary responsibilities involve handling administrative tasks, such as preparing legal documents, organizing files, scheduling meetings and appointments, and maintaining attorney's calendars. In addition, they assist with research, draft correspondence, and ensure timely communication with clients and court personnel.

Having strong typing and computer skills is crucial for accuracy in preparing and proofreading legal documents. The role also requires excellent organizational capabilities to manage multiple tasks and deadlines efficiently. Legal secretaries must have effective communication and interpersonal skills, as they interact with clients and various legal professionals daily. 

To become a legal secretary, an individual often needs a high school diploma or GED, along with specialized training in legal office administration. Some employers may require additional certification or relevant experience in the legal administration field.

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Draft and edit legal documents, like contracts and agreements, to ensure they are accurate
  • Organize and maintain files of clients' cases, both digital and paper copies
  • Schedule meetings, appointments, and court dates, managing calendars to avoid conflicts
  • Communicate with clients, lawyers, and other professionals through phone, email, or in-person
  • Perform general administrative tasks, such as answering phones, photocopying, and filing
  • Conduct research and gather information needed for cases, such as finding relevant laws and previous rulings
  • Prepare and submit legal forms, such as court filings or applications, following proper procedures
  • Maintain confidentiality of sensitive information, protecting clients' privacy and rights
  • Monitor and track deadlines, ensuring all paperwork and actions are completed on time
  • Provide support during trials, including gathering materials, assisting with witness preparation, and taking notes

Experience and Education Requirements

To become a legal secretary, completing high school is important. Many companies also prefer candidates with an associate's degree or certificate in legal studies, although some may accept work experience instead. Coursework in legal procedures or paralegal training can boost chances of getting a job. Familiarity with computer software like Microsoft Office and knowledge of legal terminologies are valuable. Previous experience in a law office is a plus. Practical skills such as typing, file management, and communication abilities are significant too. Developing good relationships with clients and colleagues benefits a legal secretary's career.

Salary Range

The Legal Secretary salary range varies depending on experience, location, and employer type. In the United States, the average annual salary is around $47,000, with entry-level positions starting at $35,000, and experienced professionals earning over $60,000. Legal secretary salaries in New York and California are generally higher due to living costs. Salaries in other countries like the United Kingdom range from £18,000 ($25,000) to £40,000 ($55,000) per year. Keep in mind that factors such as benefits, bonuses, and overtime may also impact the overall compensation for this role.



Career Outlook

The career outlook for Legal Secretaries in the Administration industry is promising. Over the next 5 years, job opportunities will grow. Legal Secretaries will be in demand as law firms and corporate legal departments need help with daily tasks. These tasks include managing files, scheduling appointments, and drafting legal documents. Automation and technology advancements might impact some aspects. However, human skills like communication and client interaction will be crucial. Legal Secretaries with strong computer skills and a background in legal studies will have better chances in the competitive job market.



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What does a Legal Secretary do?

A: A Legal Secretary provides administrative support to lawyers, including typing legal documents, scheduling meetings, answering phones, and organizing files.

Q: Do I need special qualifications for this job?

A: Typically, you'll need a high school diploma and some experience or training in administrative work. Knowledge of legal terminology is helpful.

Q: Is a Legal Secretary different from a Paralegal?

A: Yes, Paralegals have more advanced legal knowledge and handle more complex tasks, while Legal Secretaries focus on administrative tasks.

Q: What skills are important for this job?

A: Good communication, organizational skills, attention to detail, typing skills, and knowledge of office software are essential.

Q: Is there opportunity for career advancement?

A: Yes, a Legal Secretary can advance by gaining experience and further education, transitioning into roles like Paralegal or Office Manager.

Cover Letter Example

I am writing to express my interest in the Legal Secretary position at [organization]. With a strong background in administration and my [experience] working in a legal environment, I am confident that my skills and enthusiasm make me an excellent candidate for this role. I have a solid understanding of various legal processes and terminology, which I gained during my time as a [previous position] at [previous employer]. This experience, combined with my [qualifications], also contributed to my proficiency in managing legal documents and correspondence efficiently.

My exceptional organizational skills allow me to manage multiple tasks and deadlines effectively, while keeping attention to detail. I have experience working closely with attorneys and clients, consistently providing excellent support and maintaining a professional and discreet demeanor. Communication is a strong point for me as I am adept at conveying complex legal information in a clear and concise manner, both verbally and in writing. Alongside my interpersonal and administrative skills, I am proficient in various software applications such as Microsoft Office and legal case management systems. I am eager to bring these strengths and contribute to the success of the team at [organization].

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