Legal secretaries provide administrative support for lawyers and legal executives.
Salary range: £21,000 to £45,000
How to become a legal secretary
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
- specialist courses run by a professional body
You could take a course in audio transcription, legal word processing, or a qualification like a Level 3 Diploma for Legal Secretaries.
You’ll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
You could get into this job through an intermediate and advanced apprenticeship in legal services or as a paralegal.
You’ll usually need:
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
You could start as an admin assistant with a legal business or organisation and then apply for a trainee position. For most trainee legal secretary jobs you’ll need excellent word processing skills of around 45 to 50 words a minute.
You could complete qualifications offered by The Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs and the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx). Both have information about part-time and online distance learning courses.
You can get more advice about legal secretary careers from The Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- administration skills
- excellent verbal communication skills
- excellent written communication skills
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to work well with others
- knowledge of English language
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- the ability to use your initiative
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
What you’ll do
In this role you could be:
- producing legal documents like wills and contracts
- preparing court forms and statements
- handling confidential information
- working from solicitors’ written notes and audio files (dictation)
- dealing with clients
- making appointments and managing diaries
- accompanying solicitors to court or police stations
- delivering and collecting documents
- keeping records, filing and general administrative work
You could work in an office, in a court or at a police station.
Career path and progression
With experience you could become a senior secretary, PA or office manager in larger firms.
With further qualifications, you could become a legal executive, paralegal or licensed conveyancer.
You could also work towards training as a solicitor or barrister.