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Utlising the previous experiences of a Legal Secretary

published June 18, 2009

Silas Reed
( 11 votes, average: 4.5 out of 5)
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Firms will most likely hire people as legal sectaries who have already been employed as secretaries elsewhere and have worked in some way within the legal profession, since they will already have a working knowledge of at least some legal terms that are routinely used in attorneys' correspondence and record keeping. These people will also have some knowledge of the local court system and courtroom workings, such as what plea lawyers enter on behalf of clients. But, it is possible to become a legal secretary if you have worked as an administrative assistant or receptionist in some other industry. You should at least show a keen mind for picking up on legal terminology when you are interviewed, however.

It probably comes as no surprise that the vast majority of legal secretaries are employed by attorneys and law firms. But there are other industries and businesses within which you can be hired as a legal secretary. Private businesses that are large enough to warrant and employ them have legal departments. Nonprofit organizations do, too. Government agencies need legal secretaries. The insurance and financial industries, the healthcare industry, the real estate industry, and institutions of higher learning all employ legal secretaries.

Mainly, legal secretaries help those in the legal profession, mostly attorneys, take care of their daily routines and tasks: scheduling meetings; keeping the calendar; scheduling hearing;, watching deadlines; making contact with clients, law enforcement, and other legal professionals; preparing legal documents; proofreading and editing legal documents written by attorneys and their assistants; and any other related tasks that further the enforcement of the law.

Legal secretaries, of course, work in an office, although this may not be as "easy" a position as that might make it sound at first if there are a lot of clients that are handled by the firm one works for. It can be stressful to work for a larger firm, although you can expect at least a somewhat higher pay and more opportunity for advancement if you do. The office setting may be a private one, or it may be just a cubicle, or it may be an open office where several different secretaries work together. You'll need to know how to work basic modern office equipment like a personal computer, printer, fax machine, Xerox machine, business phone or switchboard, and perhaps a Dictaphone. It is also possible that if you have such a job you'll be required to deliver documents personally from the law office to the courthouse. Being a secretary for a law firm is not a "cush" job.

It should not be believed that a legal secretary is a paralegal (legal assistant). Some of their duties do overlap, but paralegals are there to do research into legal matters, collect data relevant to clients and their cases, and write legal memos. They must have at least an associate's or bachelor's degree in paralegal studies and have a more thorough understanding of the law than a legal secretary must have. But, if you do work as a legal secretary, it's an excellent way to gain some basic experiences that may inspire you to become a paralegal later on.

Working as a legal secretary can deepen your knowledge and your understanding of the law. This could, as mentioned, help you become a paralegal, perhaps even an attorney, later on in your career. It could also help you with personal matters, as you would learn to understand things about the legal system and the details of cases that would escape most people's awareness. The legal sectary is very important to the law firm or other agency or business that she serves. He or she is a liaison between the legal world and the public.

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