If you`re interested in pursuing a career as a legal secretary and believe you have what it takes, it`s wise to prepare yourself for the nuances of the profession that require training and experience. The clerical and secretarial functions required for the workplace should not be underestimated. Compiling accurate information (usually short-term) and providing meticulous work (with little margin of error) can be very difficult, even with the right training. The demands of the role require that quality work be produced punctually and efficiently; For example, a slight delay in sending official correspondence can have serious consequences. Many schools now offer legal secretary diploma/certification programs in a comprehensive online format. These programs allow students to meet all program requirements, including courses and hands-on training exercises, through an interactive, web-based format. It is estimated that employment growth among legal secretaries will decline over the next few years. BLS estimates that the secretarial job market will typically shrink by up to 5% between 2016 and 2026. However, projected employment growth for paralegals and legal assistants is expected to increase by up to 15% over the same period. Many law firms are now combining these positions to make better use of employment funds. The national median salary for legal secretaries is $41,725, but with the right certifications and experience, they can earn up to $60,000.
Most legal secretaries list “legal documents”, “law firm” and “court proceedings” as skills on their resumes. Students pursuing a degree in Legal Office Administration take a variety of general education and specialized law courses. General education in English, psychology, mathematics and public speaking is part of the program, as are law courses in legal terminology, law firm procedures, legal contracts and more. Students often have the opportunity to take elective courses in many other areas such as criminal law, real estate law, or family law. Legal secretary jobs ensure the smooth running of the law firm in question for lawyers, employees and clients. Although jobs vary from practice to practice, most legal secretaries should be familiar with the following tasks: Many courts have introduced the expedited system to allow for the expeditious resolution of cases. Expediting courts have their own procedures and deadlines for relevant filings and briefs. In summary proceedings, the judge assumes responsibility for the administration of the dispute.
The dates of the conciliation conference and trial will be set as soon as the case is filed. The goal is to settle a case within 1-2 years of submission. Although the professional duties of paralegals (often referred to as paralegals) and legal secretaries often overlap, they are actually two very different support professionals in a law firm. While legal secretaries are responsible for most of the administrative tasks of a law firm, paralegals are responsible for helping lawyers provide legal services. Students must pass and pass all four parts of the exam to pass. The PLS certificate is valid for a period of 5 years. Recertification requires at least 75 hours of legal training and activities over the five-year certification period. If you are interested in becoming a legal secretary, one of the first things you should consider is the level of education you need.
We found that 37.4% of legal secretaries have a bachelor`s degree. In terms of higher education level, we found that 3.1% of legal secretaries have a master`s degree. Although some legal secretaries have a college diploma, it is possible to become one only with a high school diploma or GED. A legal secretary is an administrative position. A paralegal works more substantially with the facts and often helps a lawyer prepare for court appointments by working with documents, clients, witnesses and the facts of a case. In contrast, a legal secretary works on preparing documents to be filed with the court, manages the schedule, and has limited substantive work with clients. Paralegals and legal assistants do much the same job as legal secretaries, but they have a higher level of legal training and experience and can do more substantive work such as legal research, client onboarding, reviewing advance responses with clients, etc. In fact, the ABA recognizes that legal secretaries and other litigation support staff will continue to play an important role in law firms, provided they use technology, adapt to change, demonstrate flexibility and demonstrate a desire for continuous learning. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the majority of legal secretary jobs require an associate`s degree to be considered for employment.
These degrees, which can be earned through community colleges, technical schools, or even home-study programs, allow a person to complete an education program within two years, although some schools offer accelerated programs that can be completed within 18 months. One of the best home study programs available is offered by the University of Phoenix, which has become a very popular option for those who want the convenience of a homeschooling for a career. Ranked as one of the best online schools in the country by U.S. News and World Report, the school offers training to professors who are former lawyers or paralegals, a variety of courses in many areas of law, and can even help students organize internships in their area if desired. For more information about this program, see www.phoenix.edu.