Legal Secretary Description
A legal secretary’s duties may encompass the following:
- Legal secretaries assist attorneys in devising, proofreading and executing legal documents, that include motions, appeals, accident reports for clients, complaints, subpoenas and summons.
- They are required to keep records of case files, maintain law libraries, and other important documents.
- Legal secretaries also follow-up with pending court cases, by keeping a track of the latest court decisions, introduction of new laws that may affect the case, and assess legal publications for the same.
- They aid attorneys by organizing and collecting client information such as their employment status and records, and their medical history.
- They maintain records of and take notes in important meetings such as legal hearings, and client meetings and interviews.
- A legal secretary’s job also entails taking care of client documentation by filling out forms such as those pertaining to accidents, courtroom requests and other important applications.
- Legal secretary duties include maintaining necessary correspondence with clients, by keeping them informed about the latest developments regarding the case, and sending across necessary documents via e-mail, fax or post. They also communicate this information to the relevant subordinates, colleagues and superiors.
- Processing important data by compiling, verifying and categorizing it is another duty performed by a legal secretary.
- The job description for legal secretary also includes scheduling appointments, receiving and making telephone calls, drafting and typing office memos, and other administrative duties.
- A legal secretary may not, under any circumstance impart legal advice to a client. His/her duties only entail carrying out procedures that have been decided by lawyers or attorneys.
A real estate legal secretary job description includes all of the above, and knowledge of real estate laws and transactions, including execution of wills and real estate closings, and conducting necessary research pertaining to any particular case. A real estate legal secretary may be directly hired by a real estate firm rather than a law firm.
A corporate legal secretary job description includes all law transactions pertaining to employee relations, such as preparing employee contracts and benefits. It also includes filing reports and documents that include tax forms, SEC filings and letters of incorporation. Keeping up with latest regulations and keeping the company informed about such changes is another duty. As such a corporate legal secretary may directly be hired in a corporate firm, rather than a law firm.
Legal Secretary Skill and Education Requirements
To successfully perform the above mentioned duties as a legal secretary, it is imperative that you have certain skills and personal abilities. The most significant skills are strong organizational abilities with an eye for detail and effective time management to meet important deadlines. Effective communication skills, with superiors, subordinates and most importantly with clients, are essential. A legal secretary must be aware of the local, state and federal filing rules, elementary legal procedures, and legal terminology. Other necessary skills that are required is the ability to grasp new concepts for quick learning, good comprehension and writing abilities and proficiency while using computers and other necessary equipment such as fax machines, copiers and work related softwares.
The minimum educational qualification required to become a legal secretary is a high school diploma, along with relevant experience. Formal training, such as that received in college, will definitely enhance prospects for persons looking to enter this field. Programs that offer short courses in criminal, family, corporate or real estate law, litigation and wills, will familiarize students with different terminology and other procedures pertaining to the field of law.
You may start out in this field, by being hired under an experienced legal secretary in a law firm. After getting acquainted with the necessary work requirements and procedures, you may then become an independent legal secretary and work on more challenging projects. Though basic legal procedures are universal, several law firms have their own manner of working and handling cases. As such, they carry out regular training programs to acquaint the staff with their manner of work, with the use of the necessary software, and also update them about important changes in the latest technologies and software.