Learn About Becoming a Legal Secretary
Start your career as a legal secretary or legal assistant with quality legal secretary training.
An Essential Role in Every Law Office
While there are no absolute academic requirements for this field, earning a 2-year associate's degree or a 1-to-2 semester certificate in legal secretary skills will help you prepare for the complexities of work in a legal office.
Most legal secretary programs cover law office practices, keyboarding, computers, word processing, legal terminology and law.
While legal secretary training isn't always required, it is recommended if you want to work in a law firm.
A legal secretary or legal assistant plays a crucial role in every law office as they perform the following tasks:
- Prepare legal documents such as summonses, complaints, requests for discovery and subpoenas for attorneys and their clients
- Handle traditional secretarial duties such as typing their lawyers' correspondence
- Set up appointments
- Bill clients
- Manage and retrieve files
- Do word processing
- Make travel arrangements for lawyers and paralegals
- Review legal journals and assist with legal research, such as verifying quotes and citations in legal briefs
- Be in charge of filing legal documents in court before a due date dictated by the rules of civil procedure
Legal Secretary Certification
Legal secretary certification is voluntary but highly recommended because many employers require it. Legal secretaries or law office managers who have completed an approved paralegal training course or have one year of legal experience can take an exam to become an Accredited Legal Secretary (ALS).
The National Association of Legal Secretaries (NALS) also offers an advanced certification for legal support professionals called Professional Legal Secretary (PLS).
Legal Secretaries International confers the Certified Legal Secretary Specialist (CLSS) title in specialized areas such as civil trial, real estate, probate, and business law to those who have five years of law-related experience and pass an examination.
Legal Secretary Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2012-13 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for legal secretaries is $41,500. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors.
Legal Specialties at a Glance
Learn about the careers below to see which one suits you best.
- Estate Planning Paralegal
- Employment Paralegal
- Insurance Paralegal
- Subpoena Paralegal
- Law Office Manager
- Legal Nurse Consultant