Legal Secretary

Legal Secretary Jobs

Legal secretary jobs… did you know?

Think you could be a legal eagle? Legal secretaries are hired by law firms to support lawyers and legal executives in carrying out legal activities.

As a legal secretary you are a secretary – but also a specialist in this area of work. Law firms need a lot of administration work, and legal secretaries have to be discreet and know their law, too. In a smaller law firm you’ll build a general understanding of a wide range of legal matters.

In a larger law firm you’ll be more likely to deal with one particular area of law, and will build your knowledge and skills in that specialised area.
You could work in or with:

  • Law courts
  • Law firms and solicitors’ offices
  • Barristers’ chambers
  • Local authorities
  • Estate agents
  • The police force.

Whether you want to build a career in the business and office side of things, or take extra qualifications and training to enter the law world as a legal executive of even barrister, becoming a legal secretary is great experience.

Industry: Legal, Finance and Accounting

Legal secretary job trends

How much money can you make as a legal secretary?

£18,000 – £22,000 (UK average)

Labour market information for 2017 says you can earn on average between £18,000 and £22,000 a year as a legal secretary in the UK.

Your starting salary can vary because of factors like level of experience, training, location or the size of the company. Your salary as a legal secretary will increase over time as you build skills, knowledge and experience.

You could earn up to £45,000 a year in a supervisor role with increased experience according to labour market information for 2017.

What entry qualifications and training do you need for this job?

School, college and training

You’ll normally enter a legal secretarial role with at least five GCSEs or their equivalent, including maths and English. You’ll be expected to have a good understanding of spelling, grammar and punctuation. That’s because words matter a lot in the legal profession. Any written communication with clients need to say exactly what it’s meant to, to offer clients reassurance that they are in good legal hands.

You could go straight into this job as a school leaver.

You can also study for qualifications relating to business administration or the specific knowledge and skills needed for legal secretarial work. These qualifications can be studied for full-time or part-time, and may be offered as training opportunities in the workplace.

Useful qualifications relating to business administration:

  • Level 1-4 qualification in business administration
  • Technical certificate Level 2-3 in business administration

Useful qualifications for legal secretarial work:

  • Legal secretaries diploma / advanced diploma (offered by the Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs)
  • ILEXPP certificate / diploma for legal secretaries

Taking a course in audio transcription or legal word processing could also help you to get a job as a legal secretary.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

You can become a legal secretary through a traineeship. Legal apprenticeships are also available in the UK.

Example relevant apprenticeships include:

  • Legal administration apprenticeship
  • Business administration apprenticeship
  • Paralegal apprenticeship

Career Progression and further qualifications

As a legal secretary you could go on to become a senior secretary, PA or office manager. Your experience will give you useful skills and experience in firms inside or outside the legal sector.

With extra training and qualifications you could become a legal executive, paralegal or licensed conveyancer. You could also train as a solicitor or barrister.

What experience do you need for legal secretary jobs?

Work experience

To become a legal secretary, you’ll find it useful to have previous work experience in an office-based environment. You’ll also find it helps to show you have IT skills and can use Office software like Word. Your work will involve accurate typing, so any work experience that helps you show you have good spelling, grammar and punctuation will help.

Examples of relevant work experience include:

  • Work shadowing (even if it’s just for a day)
  • Work placements in a company
  • Work placements on a college or uni course.

What skills do you need for legal secretary jobs?

Useful skills to highlight to your employer when applying for jobs as a legal secretary include:

  • Very good communication skills (verbal and written)
  • Fantastic spelling and grammar
  • Word processing and IT skills
  • Teamworking skills
  • Self-management skills
  • Accuracy and a good eye for detail

Vocational qualifications and work experience will help you build these skills over time.

What does a legal secretary do?

Your day could be filled with a great deal of variety, because the law covers most aspects of life, from birth to death and everything in between.

Example job responsibilities:

  • Producing legal documents (like contracts or wills)
  • Preparing court forms and court statements
  • Working from notes written or dictated onto audio files by a solicitor
  • Managing the office calendar and diary, and making appointments
  • Keeping records
  • General office administration work
  • Dealing with clients in a clear and discrete way so that they understand the information being covered and trust that it is in safe hands
  • Going to court or police stations with the solicitor of a law firm
  • Collecting, filing and delivering documents.

Your first steps into legal secretary jobs

To find jobs for young people in this role, you can search on job boards for positions with these words in the title:

  • Legal secretary
  • Trainee legal secretary
  • Junior legal secretary
  • Legal secretarial assistant
  • Paralegal apprentice
  • Legal administration apprentice
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