Legal secretaries form an integral part of any legal team. Find out more about the role on this page.

What Is a Legal Secretary?

Legal secretaries are an essential part of the legal profession and assist with legal departments’ smooth running. Providing support to Lawyers, they perform valuable administrative duties. They are required to have knowledge of the law, legal terms, procedures and documentation.

The work they do varies significantly as there are many different areas of the law and practice, including family, probate, conveyancing, litigation and criminal law.

As well as working within law firms, legal secretaries can work within other legal environments.

What Do Legal Secretaries Do?

Legal secretaries perform several essential tasks. These involve producing legal documents, completing legal forms, typing professional correspondence from dictation, liaising with clients and responding to enquiries. They can take time-consuming tasks off lawyers’ hands, from basic jobs such as filing or photocopying to more complex tasks such as arranging meetings or performing legal research.

Their work and responsibilities can vary on a day-to-day basis depending on the legal department they work in and the cases being handled. Attending court can be an exciting part of working within a litigation department, for example. By working as a legal secretary, you will get to know a wide range of legal procedures and build up experience in several different areas.

As legal secretaries are often the “front window” of the firm, they must be well informed and confident in order to deal with whatever arises. Lawyers rely on their secretaries to ensure that clients are well looked after. Secretaries have a great responsibility to record and relay accurate information, so they need to communicate well and have a good knowledge of each client’s needs.

Skills/Qualifications Needed

To work in this position, you must have:

  • An understanding of the law and legal procedures
  • Administrative skills or experience
  • A fast and accurate typing speed
  • Audio typing skills
  • The ability to produce legal documents, forms and professional correspondence
  • Computer literacy, including an understanding of Microsoft Office
  • Familiarity with office procedures
  • A good standard of written and spoken English
  • Good attention to detail
  • Communication skills
  • Organisation skills

If you want to, you can study a Legal Secretaries Diploma course. A course like this will teach you valuable legal and practical skills and provide you with a recognised qualification.

Career Progression

There’s plenty of opportunity for career advancement for legal secretaries. The more experience you gain, the higher the salary you can achieve.

Through experience or study, you can even progress on to becoming a paralegal or legal executive. You can contact the National Association of Licensed Paralegals or the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives for further information.

Where Do Legal Secretaries Work?

It’s not just law firms and barristers’ chambers that rely on the skills and services of good legal secretaries. They have great scope to choose a working environment that best suits them.

Some of the places where you will find a legal secretary are:

  • Law firms
  • Barristers’ chambers
  • Law courts
  • Legal departments in large corporations and organisations
  • Licenced conveyancers
  • Local authorities
  • Estate agents
  • Banks

They can also be self-employed and run their own Legal VA businesses.

This information was provided by The Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs. ILSPA is a professional body dedicated to your career every step of the way. Whether you would like to become a legal secretary or you would like to advance your career, it exists to support you during your journey.

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