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.
Typical Duties and Responsibilities
- Enter and process docket cases, notices of hearings, postponements, reports, and other data into computer files
- Transcribe legal dictation, meeting minutes, conferences, interviews, and the like
- Log and schedule administrative hearings
- Maintain attorney calendars
- Prepare trial notebooks, exhibits, documents, and other materials for case presentation
- Receive visitors, answer phones, schedule meetings, and perform general secretarial duties
Education and Background
This position requires an associate degree in law or a related field; a bachelor’s degree is preferable, as is some law firm experience.
Skills and Competencies
- Highly organized
- Skilled at multitasking
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
- Can work with minimal guidance and oversight
- Proficient in MS Office Suite applications
- Knowledge of the law and law firm processes a plus
According to Payscale the median annual salary of a Legal Secretary with
1 Year of Experience:
- Orlando, Florida: $37,000
- Tampa, Florida: $35,000
- Jacksonville, Florida: $33,000
- Miami, Florida: $38,000
- Atlanta, Georgia: $40,000
- Chicago, Illinois: $50,000
- Houston, Texas: $43,000
- Los Angeles, California: $39,000
- New York City, New York: $45,000
- Seattle, Washington: $47,000
- Overall: $41,000
5 Years of Experience:
- Orlando, Florida: $45,000
- Tampa, Florida: $47,000
- Jacksonville, Florida: $47,000
- Miami, Florida: $54,000
- Atlanta, Georgia: $45,000
- Chicago, Illinois: $63,000
- Houston, Texas: $59,000
- Los Angeles, California: $60,000
- New York City, New York: $57,000
- Seattle, Washington: $56,000
- Overall: $53,000
Similar Job Titles
The Legal Secretary position generally falls between traditional Secretary (performing essential administrative duties), and Paralegal (using knowledge of the legal system to perform similar responsibilities). It entails first obtaining an associate degree or higher (preferably in law or a related field). Beyond that, Legal Secretary certification programs are offered in many places and can help progress this career path.
According to the Center for Advanced Legal Studies, a growing focus is tech savviness in the Paralegal and Legal Secretary positions. Unsurprisingly, with the growth of e-discovery, among other aspects, law firms and other legal employers are looking for staff with strong technology skills.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of Legal Assistants is projected to grow 12 percent through 2028, well above average for all occupations through that time.
The typical work hours for a Legal Secretary are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in an office setting. However, longer or different hours can be necessary, especially when nearing a deadline.
Where You Can Find Jobs
- 4 Corner Resources
- Career Builder
- Zip Recruiter
- Law Jobs
- Law Crossing
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