What Makes A Good Legal Secretary & How To Become One
Following my previous article which discussed how PA's & EA's are using Social Media I thought I should bring it back to basics and talk about what makes a good legal secretary and how you can become one if you lack the required skillset.
The Legal Secretarial position is a sought after role and can often be quite difficult to step into without the experience, but how do you get the experience required? A lot of opportunities available will ask that candidates have a secretarial background or that you are a specialist within a specific practise area.
Now don’t be put off by this, there are many ways you can gain the relevant experience in order to be considered for these opportunities;
What You Need
- We often have individuals with a law degree that don’t necessarily want to practice law. This is beneficial if looking to start in the secretarial field as most firms will want an individual with relevant education and genuine interest in law.
- A specific skill required will normally be audio/copy typing and a typing speed of between 50 – 70 words per minute (WPM). If you have this experience from a non-legal background, it is important to highlight this skill on your CV.
- Track changing and formatting of documents – this is essential with any Legal Secretarial position due to the legal documentation that is required to be formatted regularly for the partners and fee earners.
- Knowledge of specific practice areas is beneficial – practice areas can range from Private Client, Financial Service, Property, Litigation, Corporate, Construction, Competition & EU etc.
- Power Point, Word and Excel skills are also beneficial.
How To Get There
- There are ways to gain these skills if you do not have them. Pitman Training offers a Legal Secretary Diploma course which allows you to learn the key skills required to perform the duties of a Legal Secretary.
- There are often opportunities to join a Legal Practice in an Administrative capacity with a view to progressing to Legal Secretary and this offers full training on all the above points.
- Register with a recruitment firm that have good relationships with legal firms and often recruit for these opportunities. A Recruitment consultant can have you perform a typing test to highlight your speed and give a WPM score to add to your application. A consultant can also draw out the relevant and transferrable skills that you do have for the position.
What Makes You “The Best” Legal Secretary
- A Legal Secretary will also provide support to Partners/Fee Earners with diary management, travel coordination and expenses, therefore organisation is key!
- Compiling reports and presentations – use of PowerPoint and Excel is beneficial and keeping these skills updated is important
- A Legal Secretary will often volunteer support to other practice areas when required therefore gaining an understanding of the relevant areas would be an advantage