Legal Secretary Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

Legal Secretaries, or Legal Assistants, perform clerical work at law offices or organisations. Their primary duties include providing Lawyers with direct assistance, scheduling client appointments and organising and maintaining all legal documents kept on-site. 


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Legal Secretary duties and responsibilities

While a Legal Secretary performs some standard secretarial tasks, they spend most of their workday performing tasks specific to the field of law. Other duties and responsibilities of Legal Secretaries include:

  • Preparing court statements and forms
  • Dictating Lawyers’ audio files and written notes
  •  Managing records, projects and calendars to make sure everything functions smoothly
  • Transcribing and proofreading legal documents
  • Indexing and updating pleadings and discovery binders
  • Collecting and delivering documents
  • Managing diaries and making travel arrangements for one or more Lawyers
  • Supporting legal research and communicating with vendors, experts, Lawyers, opposing counsel and other staff


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What does a Legal Secretary do?

Legal Secretaries ensure that a legal office runs efficiently and smoothly to enable Lawyers to focus on the clients’ needs. They help ease the workload of Lawyers by providing general administrative support, such as answering telephone calls, taking messages and photocopying documents. In addition to general administrative duties, they also have responsibilities with a specific legal focus, for example producing legal documents such as contracts and wills for Lawyers. A Legal Secretary can also prepare court documents and type minutes of the court proceedings.


Legal Secretary skills and qualifications

Most legal offices and law firms deal with multiple clients simultaneously, a Legal Secretaries must be able to multitask. A successful Legal Secretary candidate will have various prerequisite skills and qualifications that include:

  • Familiarity with legal terminology and documentation
  • Proficiency in word processing software including MS Office
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Ability to work with a team of Lawyers and others in the organisation
  • The ability to prioritise tasks and meet deadlines
  • Attention to detail
  • A professional and courteous manner
  • Ability to type quickly and accurately


Legal Secretary experience requirements

The experience requirements for a Legal Secretary position vary from one organisation to another. If an organisation is small, it may consider candidates with little experience as a Legal Secretary. Larger organisations usually require Legal Secretaries to have several years’ experience in the field.


Legal Secretary education and training requirements

Prospective Legal Secretaries must have a Level 3 Diploma for Legal Secretaries or should have completed a higher education college course in legal word processing and audio transcription. Some employers prefer candidates who have completed an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship as a Paralegal or in legal services, or worked as an Administrative Assistant in a legal organisation. Other employers prefer candidates who obtained qualifications from the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) and the Institute of Legal Secretaries and Personal Assistants.


Legal Secretary salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a Legal Secretary is £21,517 per year. This figure varies depending on factors, including years of experience, geographical location and the law firm or organisation.


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Legal Secretary job description FAQs


What should you look for in a Legal Secretary CV?

Employers should look for a candidate with experience in specific areas of law, such as family law or criminal law. They should also look for a candidate with specific skill sets for example familiarity with a particular case management system. Employers should also see if a candidate has experience supporting multiple Lawyers at different levels of seniority (partners or associates) if that is a required for the position.


What are the day-to-day duties of a Legal Secretary?

Legal Secretaries file, scan and copy legal documents on a daily basis. They  schedule the hearings, meetings and court depositions for the Lawyers they work with. They make  travel arrangements for Lawyers and  file documents with the court before the deadlines.


What is the difference between a Legal Secretary and a Paralegal?

A Legal Secretary performs administrative tasks such as scheduling meetings, organising work files and documents for review by the Lawyers and Paralegals. Paralegals do legal research and draft pleadings, contracts and other legal documents. They also help with trial preparation, monitor changes to legislation and can deal directly with clients without giving legal advice.


Do Legal Secretaries have different responsibilities in different industries?

Legal Secretaries can work for local authorities, estate agent companies and law firms specialising in different areas of law. Although the responsibilities of Legal Secretaries may differ slightly between different types of organisations, the typical responsibilities for Legal Secretaries remain similar for all law firms, regardless of the areas of specialisation.

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