If you want to pursue a career in law but don’t fancy taking centre stage in the courtroom, a role as a legal secretary could be for you. Behind the scenes, barristers, solicitors, and legal executives all need administrative support and this is where legal secretaries come in.

This can be an extremely rewarding career path that is both interesting and challenging. If you are highly organised, have good communication skills, and have an interest in the law, read on to find out more about how to become a legal secretary.

Jump to section:

What does a legal secretary do? 

Day-to-day responsibilities will focus on providing secretarial and administrative support. This might involve:

  • Keeping legal records up to date
  • Typing and filing legal documents, usually on a computer system
  • Answering phones and organising meetings
  • Managing diaries
  • Preparing court forms
  • Attending court when necessary
  • Carrying out legal research

To find out more about working as a legal secretary, read our interview with Emma Stacey, Senior Executive at the Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs.

What qualifications do you need to become a legal secretary?

There are no set entry requirements to become a legal secretary, however, most employers will expect GCSEs at a minimum. You will usually need English and Maths at grades A*-C (9-4). Experience of office work and a good standard of computer literacy are highly valued by employers.

There are several courses that you could consider taking to help start your career:

  • NVQ/SVQ in Business and Administration (levels 3 and 4)
  • OCR Higher Diploma in Administrative and Secretarial Procedures

While these will prepare you for broader administrative roles, there are also courses more specific to aspiring legal secretaries:

  • Legal Secretaries Diploma run by the Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs (ILSPA)
  • City & Guilds/CILEx Level 3 Certificate for Legal Secretaries

What skills do you need to become a legal secretary?

Communication skills: You will be working with a wide range of people, from barristers and solicitors to their clients, so the ability to communicate well and in a professional manner is essential.

Written communication skills: For your administrative duties, you will need excellent spelling and grammar. A high level of written English will be important for many of your tasks.

Attention to detail: You will need a high level of accuracy when preparing legal documents or filling out forms and statements.

Organisational skills: These are important for managing lawyers diaries and your own work schedule.

IT skills: Most of your work will be carried out electronically.

Teamwork: You will need to be able to work with clients, lawyers, and other legal secretaries.

How much does a legal secretary earn?

Starting salary: £18,000 – £22,000

Experienced: £22,000 – £30,000

Senior: £35,000 – £45,000

These figures are intended as a guide and come from the National Careers Service.

What are your career prospects as a legal secretary?

As you gain experience, you will take on more responsibility and could become a senior secretary or manager. It is not unusual for legal secretaries to take further qualifications and become paralegals or chartered legal executives. From here, you could also train to become a solicitor or a barrister.

For more inspiration, see the legal secretary roles we have available on Simply Law Jobs.

 

Related Careers:

5 essential skills for your Solicitor’s CV

In the legal industry, competition for jobs is fierce. In order to land your ideal role, your solicitor CV needs to stand out with strong and relevant skills. As well as sharing your experience, achievements and job history, your CV should highlight your...

Day in the life of a Managing Partner

Liz Ward is the Managing Partner of specialist law firm, Virtuoso Legal. She has joined us to talk about her career and how it all came together for success. She also has some great advice for younger, aspiring legal minds:   Hi Liz, how did you get into...

How to be more assertive in the workplace

Having the ability to communicate in an assertive manner is a great skill to master for the workplace. Many find it difficult to express their views confidently without feeling overwhelmed or that we’ve crossed a line. Whether you’re applying for a new...

Share This