You’re in the right place if you’re looking for information on a legal secretary job description. This article discusses the duties and responsibilities of a legal secretary, at the same time, we also talk about what it takes to become one and its career outlook.
Here’s the information you’re looking for.
Legal Secretary Educational Requirements
Most law firms who employ legal secretaries list a high school diploma as a requirement for an entry level position. But it is advisable for anyone interested in this career to take the law or business administration classes in their community college. While not required, a background in law or business will be of great help to new entrants to the position. It also helps if they get certified by the local legal secretaries’ organization.
Aside from education, a legal secretary must possess above-average written and oral communication skills. Her grammar should be near perfect and she should be able to multitask. Legal secretaries are also expected to be adept at data encoding and data management software. Organization skills like filing and schedule management are also essential to the job.
Most of all, a legal secretary should possess good people skills. She will be constantly dealing with clients, guests and third-party providers. A successful law firm is one that builds lasting relations and connections. The legal secretary, being the gatekeeper and the front-liner, plays an important role in achieving this success.
Legal Secretary Job Description
Here are the tasks that are expected from legal secretaries:
- Take down dictation and minutes
- Transcribe notes
- Make and follow through appointments
- Manage the schedules, travel plans and billing statements of the law firm partners
- Send out written correspondences (both internal and external, electronic and hard-copy)
- Act as the front-line—meets and welcomes clients and guests
- Follow up clients for collection of the lawyers’ professional fees
- Issue official receipts
- Prepare the needed documents for cases and litigations
- Do necessary legal research, if required
- Manage the law firm’s incoming and outgoing calls
- Maintain expense accounts
- Assign resources and workstations to new employees
- Manage the firm’s library resources
- Generate pertinent reports, as required
- Liaise with other agencies (both government and non-government)
- Take charge of purchasing and acquisition of supplies and equipment
- Deal with contractors and suppliers
- Photocopying and sending fax messages
- Maintain the upkeep of the office
- File and organize documents
- Other tasks that are deemed essential for the secretary to fulfill her functions at the firm
Working Conditions and Pay Scale
The working hours of a legal secretary are from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Work is on weekdays, but they may be required to come on weekends from time to time. They are expected to dress appropriately (corporate attire) as law firms are strict with their dress code.
Legal secretaries also receive the government mandated benefits and are eligible to receive pension upon retirement. They are also provided with health care plans and maternity benefits (as most legal secretaries are women). For their pay, the annual median income of a legal secretary was $41,500 in 2010 or $19.95 an hour (data taken from Bureau of Labor Statistics).
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a decline in the employment growth of legal secretaries is to be expected. In fact, this decline is foreseen to last until 2020. While fewer individuals are seen to be interested in a career as a legal secretary, the job actually provides a positive career path. A legal secretary with more than five years experience can transition to become paralegals or legal assistants. A lot of law students take part-time jobs as legal secretaries at law firms with the hope of gaining experience and exposure. It is not uncommon to find lawyers who started out their law career as legal secretaries.
Is Legal Secretary the Right Job For you?
Now that you know the legal secretary job description and career outlook, you can make the decision if the job interests you. Your career in law might auspiciously get a jump start with a legal secretary job.