Legal Secretary Job Description

Legal Secretary

  • Overview: What is a Legal Secretary?

    Legal Secretaries are responsible for providing secretarial and administrative support within law firms, barristers’ chambers or other legal establishments. They assist lawyers and legal executives and ensure that the office runs in the most efficient way possible.

    Other terms for a Legal Secretary may include Legal Personal Assistant, Court Secretary or Barrister’s Clerk depending on the organisation.

    The role of a Legal Secretary can be demanding at times – working in the busy world of law can certainly be a challenge. However, the work is varied and interesting, and a career as a Legal Secretary offers excellent financial and progression prospects. In this Legal Secretary job description, we give an overview of what the role involves.

  • Duties of a Legal Secretary

    Legal Secretary duties vary depending on the establishment, but daily tasks are likely to include the following:

    • Typing and filing legal documents
    • Keeping records up to date
    • Diary organisation
    • Taking phone calls
    • Preparing paperwork and court forms
    • Conducting legal research
    • Liaising with clients
    • Making appointments / organising travel
    • Attending court / police stations on occasion
    • Managing expenses

  • Legal Secretary Job Requirements / Qualifications and Experience

    There are no specific entry requirements in order to become a Legal Secretary, however at a basic level, employers expect good GCSE grades (C and above – including Maths and English).

    Experience of office work and administration is desirable, and whilst there are no mandatory qualifications to be a Legal Secretary at entry level, you might want to consider these options:

    With regards to further and higher education, a relevant course or qualification in secretarial studies, business administration or similar would be advantageous.

    You can also take courses run by recognised bodies to help improve your secretarial skill set. As a foundation, the following courses are beneficial:

    • OCR Higher Diploma in Administrative and Secretarial Procedures
    • NVQ/SVQ in Business and Administration - Levels 3 and 4

    At a more advanced and specialist level, you can study these courses to further enhance your career:

    • The Legal Secretaries Diploma - run by the Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs (ILSPA)
    • ILEX / City and Guilds Level 3 Certificate for Legal Secretaries

    Some employers may send you on single-subject specific courses, particularly if you work for a specialist firm that deals with one area of law such as conveyancing or litigation.

  • What skills does a Legal Secretary need?

    It’s a given that an interest in the law and secretarial skills are important, but in terms of skills, most employers of Legal Secretaries will look for:

    • Organisational skills
    • Administrative skills
    • Written and verbal communication skills
    • Typing skills
    • Excellent telephone manner
    • IT proficiency (in particular Microsoft Office and database management programmes
    • Attention to detail
    • The ability to work well as part of a team

  • How much do Legal Secretaries earn?

    Depending on location, the typical starting salary for a Legal Secretary can be around £19,000 - £25,000 per annum, but with experience, training and hard work, you could be earning up to £35,000.

    The TotallyLegal 2018 Audience Insight Report revealed that the average annual Legal Secretary salary was £34,615, on the higher end of the spectrum.

    Legal Secretary salaries vary from location and type of employer – you may be earning up to £45,000 or more if you’re very experienced and employed by a large or multinational firm in a major city.

  • Legal Secretary Career Prospects

    Becoming a Legal Secretary can be a springboard to many different career paths.

    If you’re interested in furthering your career as a Legal Secretary, it is certainly helpful to gain membership of a recognised organisation such as the Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs (ILSPA).

    There are several training courses on offer to Legal Secretaries to develop your knowledge and expertise, which employers may fund in some cases.

    Taking a step in a different direction…

    Many Legal Secretaries stick with the administrative part of their role and become an office manager, PA or EA. Alternatively, if you’re more interested in the legal side of things, you’re in a great position to train as a paralegal or legal executive – or even study to become a barrister or solicitor.

Summary

A career as a Legal Secretary is an excellent stepping stone into the legal profession without having to qualify or work anti-social hours. However, it’s still a demanding and fast-paced job that requires excellent organisation, communication and administrative skills. Being a Legal Secretary is a great foundation to develop your career in either the legal sector or in a secretarial position.

Looking for your next Legal Secretary job? Search and apply for the latest Legal Secretary jobs on TotallyLegal.

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