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5 Key Attributes of a Legal PA

Legal PA Jobs

At the end of last year, our sister site SecsintheCity published a motivational piece entitled “5 Key Attributes of a Great PA”. The article gave readers an insight into the skills and characteristics required to excel in the role. Now, in collaboration with The Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs, TotallyLegal, the UK’s leading job site for Legal Professionals, wants to expand on this topic and talk about the key attributes of a Legal PA.

Great PAs need to be flexible, proactive, organised, positive and have the ability to communicate flawlessly. As one of many different types of personal assistants, Legal PAs need to embody these skills to succeed. Working in the legal sector requires niche knowledge and expertise, aiding Legal PAs to flourish in their field.

Knowledge of Law and Legal Procedure:

A notable difference and additional skill that a Legal PA needs is legal knowledge. To support their fee earner properly, they need to understand the practice area that they are working in and the legal procedures that accompany it. Legal PAs complete forms, compile documents and send out correspondence on behalf of their fee earner, as well as other more traditional PA duties. To do this competently they need to have a good understanding of the law.

Confidentiality and Discretion:

Discretion and confidentially are key skills for Legal PAs. Clients will need legal assistance in difficult and sensitive times during their lives. Not only do law firms handle confidential information but they also have an insight into the client’s personal life and situation. This means that Legal PAs who work in this sector need to be both sensitive and subtle, as well as be aware of legalities such as data protection.

Relationship Building Skills and Teamwork:

Legal PAs work closely with one, or sometimes multiple, fee earners. Their job is to support and assist these fee earners to allow them to do their job as efficiently as possible. Building good relationships with each other is key to this role. This enables them to gain a greater understanding of their fee earner and, in time, be able to anticipate their needs.

It makes a Legal PA’s job a lot easier if they can create strong relationships with the people they are working with. In bigger firms Legal PAs work in departments or teams, even sometimes overseeing the latter. In smaller firms, Legal PAs may be working with the office as a whole and need to integrate themselves as an essential part of the wider team. Building authentic, professional relationships with everyone involved helps to make their working environment more enjoyable and more manageable

Along with professional relationships, Legal PAs also have client relationships to maintain. They are often the first port of call for anyone contacting the fee earner and, therefore, need to demonstrate an attentive and cordial manner when creating a rapport with them.

Attention to Detail:

Anyone in a business support or admin-related role should understand the importance of good attention to detail. The legal sector may be one of the areas where details and accuracy are the most important, and for good reason. A mistake in a legal document can have terrible and sometimes irreversible consequences. Therefore, impeccable attention to detail is vital to the role of a Legal PA.


A Legal PA’s role is to support their fee earner. One way that Legal PAs do this is by taking on responsibilities such as planning, organisation, and administration to free up the fee earner’s time, enabling them to focus solely on their legal work. Having this level of responsibility means that Legal PAs must be capable of solving problems and using their initiative without having to constantly defer back to the fee earner.


Discover the latest Legal PA jobs available on-site.

For further information about the Legal PA profession, have a read of our Legal PA job description, and reach out to The Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs.

Find out more about the role of a Legal PA through the SecsintheCity PA of the Year awards, encompassing interviews from 2022 Legal PA finalists.


The Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs (ILSPA) is a professional body who are dedicated to your career every step of the way. Whether you would like to become a Legal Secretary or advance your Legal Secretary career, they are there to support you through your journey.