Legal secretaries are the backbone of the legal profession. Find out more about this job role, how to become a legal secretary and how this might be a pivotal stepping stone to your success in the legal sector.

What Is A Legal Secretary?

For aspiring law students in the UK, a legal secretary holds a pivotal role within the legal landscape. They are integral in providing crucial administrative support to lawyers and legal departments, ensuring the seamless functioning of legal processes. Their responsibilities range from crafting legal documents and managing correspondence to interacting with clients and organising important records. A solid grasp of legal terminology, procedures, and documentation is a must. 

Legal secretaries operate in various legal domains like family law, probate, and litigation, offering opportunities in law firms, barristers’ chambers, corporate legal teams, and public sector entities. Understanding their significance can guide future legal professionals in their pursuits.

Skills & Qualifications Required

Becoming a legal secretary in the UK requires a blend of essential skills, qualifications, and specialised knowledge. These professionals play a vital role in law firms, corporate legal departments, and various legal settings by providing indispensable administrative support to legal practitioners. Aspiring legal secretaries should focus on acquiring both practical skills and relevant education to excel in this field.

Skills Needed

  • Communication Skills: Effective written and verbal communication is paramount, as legal secretaries often interact with clients, lawyers, and colleagues through emails, phone calls, and in-person discussions.
  • Organisational Abilities: Legal secretaries must manage a multitude of tasks, including document organisation, scheduling, and record keeping, necessitating strong organisational skills.
  • Attention to Detail: The legal realm demands accuracy, and legal secretaries must be meticulous in drafting legal documents, transcribing notes, and managing files.
  • Legal Terminology: A solid grasp of legal terminology and concepts is essential for comprehending documents, communicating effectively, and assisting lawyers.
  • Computer Proficiency: Proficiency in word processing, spreadsheet software, and legal management tools is crucial for producing documents, managing data, and researching.

Qualifications and Education

While there is no specific mandatory degree for becoming a legal secretary in the UK, having relevant qualifications greatly enhances job prospects. Many legal secretaries hold diplomas or certificates in legal studies, secretarial studies, or business administration. Several universities and institutions offer courses specifically designed for aspiring legal secretaries, covering legal procedures, documentation, and software tools.

University Programmes

Some universities in the UK offer degree programmes in legal studies, law with business, or paralegal studies. These programmes provide a comprehensive understanding of legal principles, which can be advantageous for a legal secretary’s role. While not mandatory, these degrees can provide a competitive edge in the job market. Some examples include:

  • University of Law: The University of Law offers various programmes in law and legal studies that can provide a solid foundation for aspiring legal secretaries. Their courses cover legal principles, procedures, and practical skills relevant to the legal profession.
  • University of Central Lancashire: UCLan offers a “BA (Hons) Law with Business” programme that combines legal knowledge with business skills, preparing students for roles like legal secretary in law firms and corporate settings.

Diploma And Certificate Courses

Specialised diploma and certificate courses in legal secretarial studies are widely available. These programmes cover legal terminology, document drafting, administrative skills, and practical knowledge needed in a legal office. They offer a more focused and expedited route into the field, often including hands-on training or internships.

  • Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs (ILSPA): ILSPA offers a Legal Secretaries Diploma course that covers a range of topics including legal terminology, document preparation, and practical skills required for the role.
  • National Association of Licensed Paralegals (NALP): NALP provides various courses and qualifications for legal support professionals, including legal secretaries. Their Level 3 Certificate in Legal Studies covers key legal areas and practical skills.
  • Pitman Training: Pitman Training offers a Legal Secretarial Diploma programme that focuses on administrative and legal skills such as document production, communication, and IT skills specific to legal environments.
  • CILEx Law School: The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) offers legal courses at different levels, including legal secretary qualifications, which provide a pathway to a recognized legal career.
  • London School of Business and Finance (LSBF): LSBF offers a Legal Secretary Certificate programme covering legal documentation, office procedures, and practical skills needed in a legal office

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What Do Legal Secretaries Do?

Legal secretaries in the UK shoulder a diverse array of responsibilities that are integral to the seamless functioning of legal operations and delivering efficient client service. These duties encompass crafting legal documents such as contracts, agreements, and court filings with meticulous attention to detail. In family law cases, for instance, legal secretaries play a crucial role in preparing complex documents like divorce petitions and custody agreements. 

Effective communication management is also a core aspect of their role, involving liaising with clients, lawyers, and external parties to ensure smooth information flow. Furthermore, legal secretaries are tasked with maintaining meticulous records of legal documents and case files, contributing to organised and accurate documentation. Their role extends to assisting lawyers with administrative tasks like calendar management, scheduling, and coordination of court appearances. 

Utilising legal software for comprehensive research, ensuring confidentiality, and fostering effective team collaboration are other pivotal facets of their responsibilities. Overall, legal secretaries are indispensable contributors to the legal landscape, adapting across various domains and ensuring the integrity of legal processes.

Career Progression

Working as a legal secretary in the UK offers opportunities for growth and specialisation within the legal field. Starting as a legal secretary, individuals can advance their careers through various avenues:

  • Senior Legal Secretary: With experience, legal secretaries can take on more responsibilities, overseeing junior staff, managing complex cases, and handling higher-level administrative tasks.
  • Legal Team Leader/Supervisor: Progressing to a team leader or supervisor role involves overseeing a group of legal secretaries, coordinating tasks, and ensuring efficient workflow within a legal department.
  • Specialisation: Legal secretaries can specialise in specific areas such as family law, corporate law, or litigation, enhancing expertise in those domains and becoming a valuable resource for lawyers in those fields.
  • Paralegal: Transitioning to a paralegal role involves more involvement in legal research, drafting legal documents, and providing direct support to lawyers.
  • Legal Executive: With further qualifications, legal secretaries can become Chartered Legal Executives, taking on more legal responsibilities and even representing clients in certain legal proceedings.
  • Office Manager: Some legal secretaries may transition to office manager roles, overseeing administrative operations and staff within a law firm or legal department.
  • Professional Development: Continuous learning, pursuing courses in legal studies or administrative management, can lead to broader career opportunities.

Legal Secretary Salaries

Legal secretary salaries in the UK vary based on factors such as experience, location, and the type of legal practice. Entry-level positions typically start around £18,000 to £25,000 per year. With several years of experience, salaries can range from £25,000 to £35,000 annually. Senior legal secretaries, those with extensive expertise, or those in specialised roles may earn £35,000 or more. London and larger cities tend to offer higher salaries due to the higher cost of living. Additionally, legal secretaries with specialised skills or in-demand expertise may command higher salaries within their chosen legal field.

Is The Legal Secretary Profession Right For You?

The Legal Secretary profession could be an ideal fit if you possess strong organisational skills, attention to detail, and an interest in the legal field. If you enjoy drafting documents, managing records, and supporting legal procedures, this role offers opportunities to contribute to law firms, corporate legal teams, and more. 

Effective communication and adaptability are key, as you’ll collaborate with lawyers, clients, and colleagues. Pursuing legal studies or specialised courses can enhance your suitability. If you’re looking for a career that combines administrative prowess with a legal environment, becoming a Legal Secretary in the UK could be a rewarding path

Why Choose A Career As A Legal Secretary?

A career as a legal secretary can be rewarding and a fulfilling career path due to the following reasons: 

  • Integral Role: Legal secretaries are the backbone of legal practices, providing vital administrative support that ensures the smooth functioning of law firms and legal departments.
  • Diverse Responsibilities: The role is multifaceted, involving tasks such as document preparation, correspondence management, client interaction, and record keeping. This diversity keeps the job engaging and ever-evolving.
  • Legal Insight: Working closely with legal professionals grants valuable exposure to various legal areas, fostering a deeper understanding of legal procedures and terminology.
  • Skill Development: Legal secretaries hone essential skills like attention to detail, time management, communication, and proficiency in legal software, which are transferable to other roles.
  • Industry Relevance: Legal secretaries are in demand across different legal domains, making their skills applicable in various legal settings such as law firms, corporate offices, and public sector entities.
  • Contribution to Justice: By assisting in document preparation and organisation, legal secretaries play a critical role in upholding the integrity of legal proceedings and supporting clients’ access to justice.
  • Job Stability: The legal sector remains a cornerstone of society, ensuring steady job opportunities for skilled legal secretaries.
  • Flexibility: Legal secretaries often have the chance to specialise in areas they find most intriguing, allowing them to tailor their careers to match their interests.
  • Networking: The role involves interactions with legal professionals, allowing legal secretaries to build valuable professional relationships and connections.

Future Of The Profession

The future of the Legal Secretary profession in the UK appears promising and adaptive. While technological advancements may automate certain tasks, the role’s intricate nature and need for human judgement ensure continued relevance. 

Legal secretaries are evolving into tech-savvy professionals, using AI tools and legal software to enhance efficiency. Specialised skills like legal research and client interaction will gain prominence, along with opportunities for remote work. The profession’s adaptability to changing legal landscapes and its integral support in law firms, corporate settings, and public sectors indicate a resilient and evolving future.


In the UK, legal secretaries form a crucial component of legal teams, offering vital administrative assistance to lawyers and legal divisions. Their role mandates an understanding of legal procedures, terminology, and documentation, alongside proficient administrative and organisational abilities. 

With accumulated experience and additional qualifications, legal secretaries can evolve into paralegals or legal executives. They enjoy flexibility across diverse legal domains and practices, presenting ample prospects for career growth.


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