A legal secretary works in a law office and helps the attorney’s at the firm. Legal secretaries help run the law office and ensure that the services that are provided to each of the clients are efficient. Legal secretaries will keep a log of events for the person that they work for and book appointments with clients for the lawyer. In addition, a legal secretary will write administrative letters for the law firm and in some cases arrange meetings between the attorney and potential witnesses for some cases. Other duties of the legal secretary include ordering office supplies and meeting with the various lawyers of the firm.
Legal secretaries are not paralegal’s and although work can have some similarities, it is not entirely the same. Paralegals can perform many of the same things as attorneys, but cannot practice law, cannot give legal advice, or present a case in court. They assist by doing the “grunt work” for matters, such as status checks, filings, research, and producing documents. To become a paralegal, you are required to complete a paralegal program.
Legal Secretarial Educational Requirements
In most cases an individual in not required to have a degree in order to become a legal secretary. However, most law firms will only hire someone that has a degree of some type. Many legal secretaries have a degree in a subject related to business and will then take an accredited legal secretary course in order to be qualified to work for a law firm.
For those that do not have a degree in legal administration there are accredited legal courses available that will allow them to seek employment as a legal secretary.
During a legal training course a person will learn legal vocabulary, which is very important for work within a law firm. In addition, the course will teach administrative skills that will allow a person to gain an understanding of how to run an efficient office. Computer skills will be learned as well.
Legal secretaries need to have a high level of confidence and be extremely organized as they will have to communicate with their boss regularly and schedule appointments and meetings for the lawyers and their clients. Communication skills are extremely important for those that wish to work as a legal secretary.
There are many jobs available for those that wish to become legal secretaries. Many law firms are now hiring legal secretaries in order to maintain a more efficient office. It is important to note that progression in this field is difficult as the skills required by a legal secretary are extremely defined. Most people that enter this field remain there for a long time. There are some individuals that choose to become legal secretaries and then go back to school to earn their law degree and progress into the legal field.
After obtaining a job as a legal secretary it is important to continue your education and to make sure that you keep your certification current. The requirements for keeping certification current will vary based on the credentials, but often will require that an individual take part in activities such as educational sessions within the field.