How to Become a Legal Secretary

If you want to become a legal secretary, then you must know beforehand that you will be assisting legal professionals in a law firm.  As a legal secretary, you are expected to carry out the clerical duties for your immediate boss. This might include managing the phone calls and emails, preparing court papers, typing and filing documents, maintaining a law library, and scheduling appointments with the clients.

Steps to Become a Legal Secretary

If you are interested in legal affairs and proficient in clerical and administrative skills, then becoming legal secretary might be a good option. Given below is a summary of steps in becoming a legal secretary.

  • Though graduation is not essential, it is advisable as many employers prefer to hire graduate secretaries. Legal administrative course is a good option.
  • Undertaking a secretarial course is highly recommended.
  • As most of the documents are in digital format, get yourself acquainted with the computer and word processing skills. Since you will be typing various types of documents like court papers, wills, contracts and leases, having good typing speed is also essential.
  • Familiarize yourself with the legal terminologies and documents.
  • Develop your interpersonal skills as you have to be in liaison with demanding clients and attorneys.
  • Work on your organizational and administrative skills as the legal secretary is vital in improving the efficiency of attorneys. As a legal secretary, you will be spending most of your working hours filing numerous papers or documents.
  • If possible, first intern with one of the local law firms before you join a bigger firm. This gives you a hands-on job experience and makes you more efficient before you take on bigger responsibilities.

 

Tips for Advancing

Attend the required courses and obtain certificates from the National Association of Legal Secretaries, as it will help you to advance your career expeditiously.

  • If you are within the first three years of your career as a legal secretary, then you can obtain the certification as Accredited Legal Secretaries (ALS).
  • Professional Legal Secretaries (PLS) certificate can be obtained if you have more than three years of experience.
  • Get training in legal transcription so that you get an opportunity to work from home or independently.

Types of Opportunities

A legal secretary can get hired by barristers’ chambers, solicitor’s offices, law courts, local authorities, the police and armed forces, finance houses, insurance companies and estate agents. Usual working hours are standard 8 hours (9am to 5pm) from Monday to Friday. However, if you are working independently, then this may vary greatly.

Important Information

Legal secretaries are very important in effectively allocating the resources in a law office.  You need to be extremely confident as the job requires constant interaction with attorneys and clients. Though there is no defined career path in this profession, advancement comes in the form of getting employment in bigger law firms.