Career Overview: Legal Secretary
A secretary today is less a personal assistant and more a traffic director for information and a manager of office administration. Legal secretaries handle communication between attorneys and paralegals, assuring the appropriate documents for a given case are completed on time and in appropriate fashion.
Legal secretaries prepare correspondence and legal papers such as summonses, complaints, motions, responses, and subpoenas. More experienced legal secretaries may tutor incoming freshman lawyers in the nuances of preparing legal documents.
For entry level secretaries the required education may be a high school education plus training in basic computer skills - word processing and database management. There are education programs for legal secretaries that teach the basics of legal document preparation and law office management. Many legal secretaries go on to get a degree in paralegal studies and move up the ladder in that fashion.
While there were 4.2 million secretaries working in the U.S. in 2007, perhaps 250,000 of them were legal secretaries. That ration emphasizes the value of formal training in the functions of a legal secretary.
The expansion of the legal secretary job category is expected to be average, the same as the overall job expansion in the U.S. The tasks for this job have become more sophisticated and the pressure on the job has risen accordingly. It's a job that educational preparation can help at the entry level and in moving up the career ladder to paralegal.
Lowest 10% $11.72 $24,380
Median Salary $18.66 $38,810
Highest 10% $29.23 $60,600
Source: U.S. Department of Labor