Gaining a qualification is the best way to acquire the legal knowledge and practical skills you need to work as a legal secretary. Law firms and legal recruiters often check to see whether candidates have a legal secretarial qualification on their CVs as evidence of their capabilities.
If you don’t have any legal work experience, you will benefit significantly from studying a course. A Legal Secretaries Diploma course will teach you about the various areas of law, legal document production and the day-to-day tasks involved in a legal secretary role. Having a recognised qualification will show potential employers you are serious about your career and ensure you stand out from the crowd.
Some of the large law firms run trainee programmes or offer law apprenticeships. Through on-the-job training, you work alongside experienced professionals to acquire various essential skills and become competent in a legal secretary role.
To join a trainee programme, having a qualification is desirable, although some firms will accept you if you have good secretarial skills. As an apprentice, you will train on the job while studying for your role.
Once you complete your contract, you will be a fully trained legal professional. You will then be able to secure a permanent role within the firm as a legal secretary or even a PA.
A great way to become a legal secretary is to start as an administrator or secretary within a legal organisation. If you have good administration or secretarial experience, legal recruiters will be willing to take you on with a view to you picking up the procedures as you go along.
You may start off doing administrative tasks, but over time your knowledge of law will expand and you will take on more responsibility.
If you show enthusiasm and willingness, you can also be put on a training course by your employer to gain the knowledge and skills you need to perform well in the role.
Securing a junior role will enable you to acquire valuable legal experience. Having a legal secretary qualification can be advantageous, but it is not always essential.
As your expertise increases, you can be promoted to a higher position. You might have the opportunity to progress within the same firm or you can apply for more senior jobs within a new firm.
Once you have acquired the knowledge and skills you need either through training or on the job, you can apply for jobs in various places:
This information was provided by The Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs. If you are interested in training or you would like further advice on how to become a legal secretary, please contact ILSPA.
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