Legal secretaries are often the face of a law firm. They are the first person a client sees or talks to over the phone. They play an essential role in making a law office run smoothly and professionally. Legal secretaries perform many of the same tasks as receptionists in other fields, such as answering phones, drafting messages, organizing files, scheduling appointments and assisting staff members. They also perform other administrative or clerical tasks as assigned by partners, associates or paralegals within the firm. Specific duties include preparing correspondence and papers, using legal terminology, for summonses, subpoenas, complaints and motions. Legal receptionists may also assist attorneys, legal assistants and paralegals in case preparation and legal research.
No specific education is required for legal secretary positions. However, most law firms will require candidates to have a high school diploma or GED certificate. To remain competitive in the field, legal secretaries should pursue a certificate program or associate's degree with an administrative or legal focus. These degrees are offered at community colleges, trade schools and vocational schools across the country. Applicable course subjects include legal terminology, correspondence methods and legal procedures.
Legal Secretary/Receptionist Job Market
The job openings for legal secretaries is expected to rise approximately 12 percent from 2012 to 2022, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. Legal secretaries with computer knowledge will have an edge over the competition as law office environments increasingly move to digital formats and online research methods.
Legal Secretary/Receptionist Salary
The median annual salary for legal secretary receptionist jobs is $42,390 per year. Legal secretary salaries vary widely depending on factors such as the location, reputation, type and size of the law firm worked. Factors such as years of experience and educational background may also affect earning potential.