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How to become a Legal Secretary

legal secretary careers

What does a Legal Secretary do?

Legal secretaries help lawyers and legal executives with the day-to-day tasks in a legal firm. Duties include word processing, audio-typing, dealing with telephone calls and correspondence, and general clerical work such as filing, organising diaries, keeping records and controlling petty cash. There may be some contact with clients when dealing with enquiries, telephone calls and making appointments. Some legal secretaries may attend court or police cells, and contact other firms and organisations to request or deliver information.

Some law firms specialise in areas such as corporate law or criminal law, while others deal with a wider range of legal matters including property purchase, divorce and family law. In a local firm undertaking general legal work, secretaries may have a wide variety of duties with less opportunity to specialise.

What's the working environment like working as a Legal Secretary?

Most legal secretaries work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. There may be opportunities for part-time work or job share.

Work is mainly office-based. Some travel may be required, to deliver documents to other organisations or to attend court or police cells.

What does it take to become a Legal Secretary?

As a legal secretary, you should:

  • have excellent secretarial skills
  • be interested in law and business
  • be computer literate
  • have good attention to detail, as accuracy is vital
  • be discreet as you will be dealing with a lot of confidential information
  • have a good standard of English, spelling and grammar
  • be able to work to deadlines
  • be able to work on your own initiative when necessary
  • have a polite, friendly manner.

Legal Secretary Career Opportunities

Legal secretaries work in solicitors’ offices, barristers’ chambers and law courts. Other employers include local authorities, the police and armed forces, finance houses, insurance companies, and estate agents.

In large firms it is possible to progress to senior secretary, PA or office manager. In smaller firms it may be necessary to change jobs to achieve promotion.

With further training it is possible for a legal secretary to become a legal executive, paralegal or licensed conveyancer. They may choose to study for a law degree and go on to qualify as a solicitor or barrister.

The Scottish legal system is separate and distinct from the English legal system. With enough experience and training however, it would not be difficult to move from one jurisdiction to another.

There are some opportunities to work abroad in the European Courts of Justice and the overseas subsidiaries of British companies.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Legal Secretary that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX)
Kempston Manor
Kempston
Bedfordshire
MK42 7AB
01234 845 740
www.ilex.org.uk

OCR Information Bureau
Tel: 024 7685 1509
www.ocr.org.uk

Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs
9 Unity Street
Bristol
BS1 5HH
Tel: 0117 927 7007
www.institutelegalsecretaries.com