Legal Secretaries and Administrative Assistants

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Also known as:
Accredited Legal Secretary, Certified Legal Secretary Specialist, Law Secretary, Legal Administrative Assistant

ABOUT LEGAL SECRETARY AND ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT CAREERS
Video transcript

Legal secretaries are skilled clerical workers who assist attorneys. Though they perform many typical secretarial chores, such as typing and filing, they're also familiar with legal terminology, documents, procedures, and research. They're an important part of the team in the intense world of the legal profession.

Legal secretaries prepare complicated documents like subpoenas, complaints, and motions that have specialized formats and specific timetables for filing. They may spend hours in law libraries, reading legal journals and assisting with research, such as verifying quotes and citations in legal briefs.

A 40-hour workweek is common, and overtime is normal. Most law firms prefer a college degree, with course work in a legal secretarial or related program. Experienced legal secretaries can earn certification through professional organizations, or train to become paralegals-the next step up in the ladder in a law office.

SNAPSHOT
Perform secretarial duties using legal terminology, procedures, and documents. Prepare legal papers and correspondence, such as summonses, complaints, motions, and subpoenas. May also assist with legal research.
Leadership
MED
Critical decision making
LOW
Level of responsibilities
LOW
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
LOW
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Complete various forms, such as accident reports, trial and courtroom requests, and applications for clients.

Draft and type office memos.

Assist attorneys in collecting information such as employment, medical, and other records.

Schedule and make appointments.

Organize and maintain law libraries, documents, and case files.

Mail, fax, or arrange for delivery of legal correspondence to clients, witnesses, and court officials.

Make photocopies of correspondence, documents, and other printed matter.

Prepare, proofread, or process legal documents, such as summonses, subpoenas, complaints, appeals, motions, or pretrial agreements.

Receive and place telephone calls.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Performing Administrative Activities Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Clerical Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
Law and Government Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Communications and Media Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
TOP SKILLS
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Time Management Managing one's own time and the time of others.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Coordination Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.