Legal Secretary Job Descriptions, Average Salary, Interview Questions

A legal secretary fills a unique role in the world of law firms and legal departments — something of a hybrid position between that of a traditional secretary and a legal assistant or paralegal. 

Legal secretaries perform essential secretarial and administrative duties, like arranging meetings and conferences, taking phone calls, and maintaining office inventory. They also possess a substantial amount of legal know-how so they can complete legal-specific tasks to assist with cases and litigation. 

A legal secretary can do everything from preparing legal papers, correspondence, and reports to helping assemble trial and presentation materials, and transcribing legal dictation. They also assist with legal research. A legal secretary is a versatile and crucial member of a legal team.  

Sample job description #1

To be successful in this role, you should possess an in-depth knowledge of legal procedures and terminology.

Responsibilities

  • Provide secretarial support to one or more lawyers at the firm
  • Edit and proofread all legal documents
  • Maintain attorney calendar by scheduling conferences, depositions, and meetings
  • Welcome clients and conduct initial screenings of new clients
  • Go to court proceedings and type minutes
  • Organize all legal documents and ensure they are updated
  • Ensure all court documents are in order and filed before deadlines
  • Answer emails and phone calls, and when necessary, redirect calls, etc.
  • Research and authenticate important case information
  • Prepare different legal documents including appeals, motions, and petitions

Requirements

  • High school diploma or equivalent qualification required
  • Associate degree in legal studies or related field
  • A minimum of 5 years experience in a similar role
  • In-depth knowledge of legal documents and terminology
  • Skilled with MS Office
  • Excellent time-management and organizational skills
  • Good written and verbal communication skills
  • (State) and (State) experience preferred

Sample job description #2

The Legal Secretary will perform a variety of secretarial duties for attorneys to whom assigned according to established policies and procedures. The Legal Secretary is assigned to assist several attorneys in a specific practice group and will support 5-9 attorneys. This position will be responsible for preparing practice-specific forms, updating electronic and paper files, preparing and filing court documents and e-filings, updating attorney calendars as needed and delegating work to appropriate departments, and completing other tasks as assigned in a timely and accurate manner.

Essential functions

  • Delegate attorney work to appropriate departments
  • Prepare practice-specific documents, paper court filings and e-filings, and update electronic pleading/correspondence/closing folders
  • Screen telephone calls and take messages for attorneys when requested. Receive clients and visitors. Maintain good public relations with clients. Observe confidentiality of attorney-client relationship
  • Read, sort, and date incoming mail when requested. Ensure that outgoing mail is delivered timely and specify types of delivery
  • Schedule and calendar meetings and deadlines for attorneys

Knowledge, skills and abilities required

  • Excellent spelling and proofreading skills. Typing (45+ wpm)
  • Effective delegation skills
  • Knowledge of court filing procedures, including electronic filing
  • Ability to organize, prioritize, and produce quality work
  • Self-motivated and flexible in order to complete assignments in a timely manner

Knowledge, skills and abilities desired

  • MS Excel
  • Intapp Flow
  • iManage 10/FileSite
  • Chrome River
  • PDF conversions and manipulations

Education and experience

  • High school diploma or equivalent required
  • 3-5 years of experience in similar field required. Previous law firm experience preferred

Sample job description #3

Responsibilities

  • Update schedule with client interactions
  • Provide support for several attorneys
  • Transfer legal correspondence to clients
  • Handle assigned files and deliver legal services under attorney supervision
  • Conduct administrative tasks as necessary
  • Maintain and improve calendars and billing sheets
  • Strong communication skills are essential to communicate with clients in an effective and efficient manner
  • Utilize comprehensive knowledge of legal procedures
  • Provide assistance to attorneys in the effective and efficient resolution of files

Requirements

  • Excellent communication and organizational skills
  • Knowledgeable in local jurisdictional and federal court rules and procedures
  • Able to manage time well
  • Possessing an understanding of word processing and spreadsheets is desired
  • Knowledgeable about and experienced with legal correspondence and court filing procedures is a plus
  • Proficiency in database management
  • Practical knowledge of travel arrangements
  • Well-founded grasp of conference room setup and cleanup
  • General familiarity with travel arrangements
  • Command of Draft Pleadings
  • Comprehensive knowledge of Draft Legal Documents
  • Foundational knowledge in Schedule Appointments
  • Proficiency in Draft Letters
  • Proven knowledge of billing software for attorneys
  • Schedule Depositions experience
  • 3+ years of prior relevant experience

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for a legal secretary is $62,500 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$62,150$84,100
Los Angeles, California$70,150$94,900
Denver, Colorado$58,450$79,050
Washington, DC$71,200$96,300
Miami, Florida$58,150$78,700
Orlando, Florida$53,650$72,600
Tampa, Florida$54,200$73,300
Atlanta, Georgia$56,850$76,900
Chicago, Illinois$65,350$88,400
Boston, Massachusetts$70,650$95,600
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$56,300$76,200
New York City, New York$74,400$100,650
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$60,550$81,950
Dallas, Texas$58,950$79,800
Houston, Texas$58,450$79,050
Seattle, Washington$68,000$92,000
National Average$53,150$71,900

Sample interview questions

  • It is key as a legal secretary that you be organized. On a scale from 1 through 10 how do you rate yourself?
  • How do you decide which tasks to prioritize?
  • Do you have the ability to multitask?
  • How do you handle situations when a client is difficult?
  • Why are you choosing to leave your current job?
  • What was the best part of your job? What was your least favorite part?
  • What do you do to ensure your work is accurate?
  • What is your typing speed?
  • What steps do you take to make sure you are protecting your client’s confidentiality?
  • What do you do when you have multiple deadlines on the same day?
  • Has there ever been a time when you had technical difficulties at an inconvenient time? How did you handle that situation?
  • What’s your experience with subpoenas? 
  • What form of communication do you prefer: email, phone, or in person? Why?
  • What experience do you have working with attorneys and judges?
  • What is your time management like?
  • What area of law interests you the most?
  • Why should we hire you?

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