What does a legal secretary do?

| Career Insights

What does a legal secretary do?

A legal secretary performs a critical role in the day-to-day operations of a law firm and this article will answer the question ‘what does a legal secretary do?’. They must have a thorough understanding of legal procedures and documents. It is common for a law firm's most qualified and skilled legal secretaries to be advanced to paralegal jobs. A legal secretary's job is to assist attorneys and paralegals in a law firm or other organizations. Attorneys, clerical employees, courtroom staff members, clients, expert witnesses, and commercial suppliers are all people with whom legal secretaries interact.

Because legal secretaries typically have a specialized skill set in a wide range of computer software, their responsibilities can vary from more traditional administrative work tasks like answering phones and taking messages to develop customized spreadsheets, presentations, and preparing legal documents.

All legal secretaries must be well-organized, smart, friendly, and self-disciplined, capable of handling a wide range of tasks and meeting tight deadlines every day. Day-to-day tasks of legal secretaries involve contact with a wide range of persons. Face-to-face, phone, and e-mail contact, as well as communicating with clients, lawyers, paralegals, opposing counsel, government authorities, and others, are all part of a typical day's work. They are also in charge of a lot of writing. They frequently create early drafts of letters or memorandum and edit legal papers such as briefs. Other duties involve managing projects, keeping paper and electronic data organized, keeping track of deadlines, scheduling meetings, and keeping a thorough calendar.

Legal secretaries, like attorneys and other law professionals, specialize in certain areas of law, such as family law, contract law, or wills and inheritance. It is also usual for a legal secretary who specializes in trial law and works for a practising attorney to join the lawyer in court to take notes for the trial.

They have trusted members of a law company since they must assure precision in their work; observe stringent confidentiality standards; arrange, classify, and categorize mounds of documentation connected with complicated cases; and manage the often-complex legal and accounting technology.

What is the difference between a legal secretary and a paralegal?

The function of legal secretaries /paralegals differs from that of legal secretaries in that paralegals do substantive legal work. Substantive legal work causes a thorough comprehension of the law and procedural expertise. In the unavailability of their paralegals, lawyers would have to do the tasks themselves.

Who is a Paralegal?

A paralegal is a legal practitioner hired by a law firm, lawyer, or government body to assist attorneys with their legal duties. They create papers, conduct investigations, and produce reports. They are, however, forbidden from doing responsibilities like representing clients, providing legal advice, or engaging in other activities that are deemed legal practice. Family law, criminal law, real estate law, and are among areas of law where paralegals might specialize. Depending on the field of law, their particular tasks may differ.

Although paralegals cannot provide legal advice, they are engaged in preparing legal documents and can explain their meaning to clients. Legal secretaries' interaction with customers is restricted, and their work largely consists of administrative responsibilities, such as accepting messages from clients, organizing appointments, and gathering information from them.

The abilities of legal secretaries and paralegals are quite similar. Paralegals are involved in activities that require genuine legal intricacies, whilst legal assistants have a broader variety of obligations. The following are the most important abilities for each role:


  • Litigation
  • Legal research
  • Legal documentation

Legal Secretary

  • Data entry
  • Coordinating and Scheduling
  • Assistance with administrative tasks 

As you can see, there is some overlap in abilities, but each job has its own set of specialized responsibilities. Paralegals are primarily concerned with the details of the law, whereas legal secretaries handle a broader range of responsibilities. If you want a more hands-on legal profession, being a paralegal could be a better fit.

What steps do I need to take in order to work as a legal secretary?

To work as a legal secretary, you don't need any special qualifications, but you will require strong administrative and word sorting abilities. You should have a grade of C or above in English at GCSE.

Taking a course at your local college to learn office jobs and administrative skills might be beneficial. An apprenticeship in secretarial work, on the other hand, might provide you with the abilities. Individuals interested in becoming a legal secretary will benefit from the CILEx Legal Secretary training program since it provides important skills and processes in both administrations, technical, and clerical abilities required to assist law firms in a corporate environment.

This article should have answered the question ‘what does a legal secretary do?’ – and legal secretary vacancies can be found in the opportunities section on The Legists website.



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