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Learn About Legal Secretary Careers and Education

Start your career as a legal secretary or legal assistant with a quality education.

legal secretary working at desk in office

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 schooling isn’t always required, it is recommended if you want to work in a law firm.

Job Responsibilities

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 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.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics, the median national annual salary for legal secretaries is $48,780. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience, and a variety of other factors.