Legal Secretary – Career Advice
A Legal Secretary ensures the smooth running of a law firm, barrister’s chambers or major, often financial, company.
The role is all about providing administrative and secretarial support to legal executives and lawyers, be it maintaining records, copying legal documents, preparing court forms or helping with legal research. More standard admin tasks such as appointment-making, answering the phone and diary organisation are also part and parcel of the job.
Admin skills, therefore, are a given, as are discretion, reliability, trustworthiness and excellent communication skills.
There are no official minimum qualifications for an entry-level job, but most employers would expect a number of GCSEs, with English and maths among them. And secretarial skills such as an NVQ/SVQ in business and administration, or an OCR higher diploma in administrative and secretarial procedures, will help you stand out.
There are also more specialist qualifications to be had, including legal secretaries’ diplomas and a City & Guilds certificate for legal secretaries.
Specialist law firms might also want you to take certificate courses in relevant subjects such as conveyancing, taxation or corporate law.
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Other recommended resources:
Chartered Institute of Legal Executives
Offering a chartered mark as well as a wide range of training opportunities, the CILEx website is great for getting yourself acquainted with the legal profession.
Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs
More specific training directed at Legal Secretaries is available here where membership also gets you useful career guidance and support.
The Law Society
Supporting UK solicitors but also providing a wide range of information about the world of law, the Law Society hosts a great website for figuring your way around everything legal and how you can fit in.
Skills for Justice
A skills council for the law industry providing training opportunities across the spectrum of legal services. They also offer links to research and information to keep yourself updated.
You be the Judge
Get involved with law and legalities with the Department of Justice’s interactive service to help you understand sentencing and how courts operate. Great for those weighing up their options and considering a legal profession.