How do I Become a Legal Secretary?

Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus
Legal secretaries must have excellent communication skills.
Legal secretaries must have excellent communication skills.

If you want to become a legal secretary, you may be required to have earned certification or accreditation depending on your area. In general, the less demand for legal secretaries in a certain location, the more qualifications are expected. With or without formal education or training, you must have excellent keyboarding and communication skills if you hope to become a legal secretary.

A prospective legal secretary should show some understanding of legal terms.
A prospective legal secretary should show some understanding of legal terms.

Legal secretaries commonly work in groups, so being able to get along with co-workers is important. Speaking with lawyers and their clients is also part of the job. If you want to become a legal secretary, you should be able to communicate professionally with all types of people. Answering the phone as well as replying to client emails in a prompt, professional manner is expected.

Legal secretaries often type of documents for attorneys.
Legal secretaries often type of documents for attorneys.

Quick, accurate keyboarding skills are needed to provide clerical functions for a law office. You may be required to take a typing test when applying for some legal secretarial positions. In law firms or departments willing to hire secretaries without certification or accreditation, legal terminology is taught on the job. When interviewing to become a legal secretary, showing that you understand some legal terms and can identify documents such as subpoenas can help place you ahead of your competition. Samples of different legal documents as well as legal terminology can be found in books and reference materials at most public libraries.

If full-time legal secretary jobs seem difficult to find, or aren't what you're looking for, contacting a temporary (temp) work agency may be a good idea. You may get an opportunity to become a legal secretary on a temporary or part-time basis, such as to fill in for an employee on maternity leave. Once you get legal secretarial work experience, you can list it on your resume to help you get future jobs. Remember to apply not only at law firms but also insurance companies and governmental legal departments.

Joining a professional organization in your country, such as the National Association of Legal Secretaries in the United States, shows potential employers that your career intentions are most likely long-term ones. If you are going to take formal training to become a legal secretary, a program that includes working at a law firm as part of its completion requirements may be a good idea. This way, if you do well, you're likely to either be hired on or given recommendations or referrals to help you find another legal secretarial position.

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    • Legal secretaries must have excellent communication skills.
      By: michaeljung
      Legal secretaries must have excellent communication skills.
    • A prospective legal secretary should show some understanding of legal terms.
      By: 22 North Gallery
      A prospective legal secretary should show some understanding of legal terms.
    • Legal secretaries often type of documents for attorneys.
      By: katarinagondova
      Legal secretaries often type of documents for attorneys.