Legal secretaries serve in an administrative capacity in a legal office, typically working for attorneys or paralegals. Responsibilities may include scheduling appointments and meetings, drafting and distributing agendas, maintaining records, and preparing letters and other correspondence. In addition, legal secretaries are often the first point of contact for clients seeking legal services.
Individuals employed as legal secretaries must maintain a high level of professionalism and handle sensitive information with the utmost privacy.
At a minimum, most legal secretary positions require significant prior administrative experience and specialized training in the field. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree may be given preference, but many technical and vocational schools offer one- and two-year programs in office administration.
Legal secretaries provide important administrative services to many law firms and offices. In addition to recordkeeping, secretaries in the legal field prepare various documents such as motions, subpoenas, summonses and complaints. They may also assist in conducting legal research and in reviewing law journals. Legal secretaries must be detail-oriented, extremely organized, and good communicators. Because they interact with clients on a regular basis, secretaries in the legal field should enjoy working with individuals from diverse backgrounds.
Specific duties of a legal secretary may include the following:
Candidates could gain invaluable experience by volunteering or interning in a legal office to learn proper protocol and procedure. Legal secretaries can also obtain certification through various organizations, such as the National Association of Legal Secretaries and Legal Secretaries International, Inc.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of individuals employed in administrative capacities will grow by 11% through the year 2018, with such positions in the legal field growing by 18 percent. Expanding technology and office automation will result in increased efficiency and greater responsibility for individuals serving in an administrative capacity.
According to a May 2008 government report published by the Department of Labor, the average salary for a legal secretary was just under $40,000, with the median salary ranging from $31,000 to $51,000.