Find legal secretarial job vacancies within conveyancing, litigation, personal injury, criminal law, employment, probate and family law.
It's usually the case that you'll be preparing and editing complex legal documents so an eye for detail and accurate typing skills are essential skills of the job. In some cases you may be required to attend court hearings or even the local police station to take notes!
There are lots of different types of legal firms out there so the job really can vary immensely from one type of company to another. There are corporate law firms which deal with company law and company sales, property law firms that deal with property sales and purchases, divorce lawyers and companies specialising in family law. Each type of business will have different requirements from their legal secretaries.
Day to day duties will vary from job to job - some will be performed every day, some will be performed on an ad hoc basis. Examples of these duties include:
Working hours really depend on the industry you're working in. Some are 9 to 5, others require longer shifts during busy times - for example, if you work in a corporate law firm and they are in the process of advising on a company sale or takeover, deadlines are often pretty tight so you may have to work longer hours to ensure these deadlines are met.
The levels of qualification needed to be a legal secretary vary according to the seniority of the role. At entry level, the requirements are usually GCSEs or A Levels whereas a senior legal secretary would be expected to have a qualification such as The Legal Secretaries Certificate offered by the Institute of Paralegal Training (IPT). Other examples of legal secretarial qualifications include the Legal Secretaries Certificate by ILEX and the Certificates for Legal Secretaries offered by the London Chamber of Commerce. Whatever stage of your career that you are at, taking the time to complete a widely recognised qualification can only enhance your career prospects.
Companies and recruitment agencies which employ legal secretaries generally look for some of the following skills:
Once you've gained experience you have the opportunity to progress your career by becoming a legal PA or a senior secretary. You could then go on to become a paralegal or a legal executive and if you're feeling really ambitious, take a legal degree and become a fully fledged lawyer!! Some companies actively encourage this sort of career progression though sometimes if you work in a small company it may be advisable to change jobs if this is the course you want to take.
Starting salaries are different depending on the type of law firm and job location, though the minimum salary on entry would be around the £12000 mark. Add a few years' experience and you could command up to £20000. The top legal secretaries in commercial firms in London can earn up to £35000 plus some rather nice benefits such as a pension, subsidised travel and gym membership.