Legal Secretary

What Does a Legal Secretary Do?
Legal secretaries work with lawyers and prepare important documents for submission to the courts. They organize correspondences and draft legal papers, including summonses, complaints, motions and subpoenas under the watch of an attorney or paralegal. Some legal secretaries review legal journals, assist with legal research and check citations in briefs. Most legal secretaries continue to oversee administrative duties in law offices, such as filing paperwork, answering phone calls and organizing meetings. They may even teach new lawyers how to organize documents to be submitted to court. While the responsibilities of legal secretaries change over time, they still carry out the administrative duties they were originally trained to do and help attorneys or paralegals whenever they need assistance.

What Is the Employment and Salary Outlook for a Legal Secretary?
The employment and salary outlook should be favorable for legal secretaries, with an estimated job increase of 18 percent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, legal secretaries will experience a larger job growth than other legal services. This increase can be attributed to America’s expanding population and the growing need for legal services. Law is a growing profession and one that requires more organization and efficiency. Therefore, more legal secretaries will be hired to balance the duties of lawyers and paralegals and maintain the secretarial duties at offices. Legal secretaries are expected to have a satisfactory salary outlook as well. According to the Bureau, legal secretaries made an average salary of $39,860 in 2008. The industries with the highest levels of employment were in legal services, followed by local and state government and employment services. Visit the Bureau’s Occupational Employment Statistics for more information on legal secretaries’ wage estimates and employment profiles.

How Can I Become a Legal Secretary?
Before you can obtain a legal secretary position, you must first complete the necessary educational and training steps that prepare you for the challenges of legal work. While legal secretaries learn a great deal from on-the-job training, it is vital that they complete some kind of formal college education to learn the language of the industry. Most legal secretaries earn their associate degree because it is quick, effective and affordable. Many four-year colleges, community colleges and vocational-technical schools offer associate degrees in specialized legal secretary or administrative programs. During your two years of formal training, you will learn about legal terminology, legal research and writing, citations, legal processes, written communications, filing procedures and much more. For more information on legal secretary classes and helpful law resources, check out The Center for Legal Studies. With this comprehensive education and prior training, you’ll be ready to enter a legal secretary position at various work settings and law offices.