Legal secretaries live a very different life from their counterparts in various specialisations and industries. Although the role does require generic secretarial functions, it is often necessary for a legal secretary to possess additional knowledge about the law.
Aside from having legislative knowledge, other demands of the job would encompass areas of competency and efficiency in completing administrative tasks; whether it involves the drafting, printing and updating of legal documents and records, or organising meetings with clients.
Keeping in mind the aforementioned demands, what qualities or traits should an individual possess to excel in this challenging role?
As mentioned above, the candidate has to have some form of legal training and background. Legal secretaries act as the right hand man, or woman, of the lawyer and support them in doing preliminary research as well as proof reading and interviews. Hence, it is critical for one to have legal knowledge in order to make perceptive decisions.
Most employers prefer to hire legal secretaries with past experience as this will save their time retraining staff. However, if you wish to give yourself a competitive edge, consider taking up legal training programmes to earn a certification. This would put you on par with those who have experience, and help you exceed those without legal qualifications.
It is no secret that lawyers have strong linguistic capabilities which must be executed in the courtroom. This is no different for their secretaries as they are expected to assist lawyers with their work.
The nature of legal work requires certain levels of discretion, especially when handling sensitive matters or confidential agreements between the firm and the client.
Having a good command of language and proficient writing and reading skills is also key for success in this role, due to the amount of legal research and drafting of contracts you may potentially have to do in this role. Legal secretaries are also relied upon for proof reading of contracts, agreements and other documents. A good command of the English language, and potentially a second language, would also help in the drafting of letters and memos, whilst extending an image of professionalism.
When taking on the role of a legal secretary, it is imperative to practise discretion and tact. The nature of legal work requires certain levels of discretion, especially when handling sensitive matters or confidential agreements between the firm and the client. Never talk about your job outside of work, and practise tact when dealing with both internal and external stakeholders.
An eye for details is also crucial given the administrative and supporting nature of the job. Always take the initiative to clarify your doubts and to be responsible over tasks handed to you. This will help you work seamlessly with the lawyers, and further help increase productivity and prove your worth.
At the core, this is a secretarial role which requires good organisational skills – from scheduling meetings and travel plans, drafting multiple legal documents and correspondences, to maintaining complex docket systems and engage in legal research. You should be excellent in working with deadlines, and have excellent communication skills to juggle multiple clients and lawyers.
Find out more about the latest opportunities available, or speak to one of our consultants for more information.
8 ways to prepare for a legal job interview
Though the legal industry is currently one of the strongest sectors for recruitment growth, job interviews can be a daunting process wherever you are in your career. Take the worry out of your next interview by following these quick and easy tips from our industry experts… Whether you’re just startiRead More
New role of legal counsels
The role of a legal counsel is no longer limited to managing the legal risk associated with the business that they work within. Effective legal counsels now need to partner with the business, understand its issues and produce viable and tangible solutions that prove their worth to the business. So wRead More
Being a legal secretary
Legal secretaries live a very different life from their counterparts in various specialisations and industries. Although the role does require generic secretarial functions, it is often necessary for a legal secretary to possess additional knowledge about the law. Aside from having legislative knowlRead More
Come join our global team of creative thinkers, problem solvers and game changers. We offer accelerated career progression, a dynamic culture and expert training.