Case for writing letters of law; A-Z JOBS.
LEGAL secretaries give administrative support to lawyers and legal executives, and help with the day-to-day tasks involved in running a legal firm.
Your main work as a legal secretary would be to type letters and other legal documents such as wills, contracts, leases and court documents. You would often work from notes dictated onto audiotape. Your other duties could include:
Answering telephone calls, letters, faxes and emails;
Organising diaries and making appointments;
Preparing court forms and statements;
Keeping records of costs and controlling petty cash;
Dealing with inquiries from clients;
Attending court or police cells with solicitors;
Delivering and collecting documents, and
Filing and other general clerical work.
If you worked in a local law firm, you would develop experience in a wide range of legal matters, while in larger firms you would normally specialise in just one or two areas of law.
There are no set qualifications, but employers will expect a good standard of general education and you may have an advantage with GCSEs (A-C) including English, or a similar level of qualification.
You will usually need experience of office work, plus fast, accurate typing skills. You would also have an advantage with audio transcription skills.
Temporary office work is a good way of getting relevant experience, and full and part-time courses in computer and secretarial skills are widely available at local colleges.
You may find it useful to take a recognised legal secretarial course before you look for work.
However, this is not always essential if you already have good secretarial skills.
You may be able to get into secretarial work through an apprenticeship scheme. The range of apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers.
Most of your training would be on the job, learning from experienced staff. You could also study for a recognised legal secretarial qualification, such as: Institute of Legal Executives Paralegal Programmes (ILEXPP)/City and Guilds Level 2 Certificate for Legal Secretaries; ILEXPP/City and Guilds Level 3 Diploma for Legal Secretaries; Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs Legal Secretaries Diploma.
The Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs also offers a range of single-subject certificates and diplomas in areas like conveyancing or corporate law, which would be useful if you wanted to specialise in a particular area of law.
With further training and qualifications, you could progress to become a paralegal or legal executive.
Careers advice from www.learndirect-advice.co.uk