A legal secretary, sometimes also known as a legal admin officer, manages client relationships, performs research, and drafts legal documents. The legal secretary’s role has evolved over time, and he or she now plays an integral role in an attorney’s office.
Whether you work for a single attorney or a large law firm, there are certain skills that you need to succeed as a legal secretary.
Here are 6 of those skills:
As a legal admin assistant, you will usually be the main point of contact between your employer and his/her clients. You will be responsible for building and maintaining client relationships, as well as for communicating important messages to and from clients. Excellent communication skills are therefore a key requirement for the job.
Good writing skills are essential, since you will be required to perform tasks such as:
- Drafting routine correspondence
- Preparing and proofreading legal documents
- Writing briefs
If you have top-notch writing skills, you will quickly become an asset in the legal office environment.
Most law firms have started taking a more tech-savvy approach to their office procedures, including the preparation of documents, the maintenance of filing systems, and the maintenance of their calendars. Therefore, if you want to work in this environment, it is essential for you to be computer literate and proficient in the use of various software programs.
Whether it’s finding legal documents for an attorney, finding directions to a meeting between an attorney and his client, or locating an expert witness for a case, you need to be able to carry out efficient research if you want to succeed in a career as a legal secretary. Most of the work done in a legal office relies on the availability of complete and accurate information — and as a legal admin assistant, you will play an important role in providing it.
In a legal office environment, meeting your deadlines is crucial. Often, the work that you are required to do will be linked to a certain timeframe, and if you don’t complete it in time, it could have a negative impact on a client’s case.
Your employer will be relying on you to deliver accurate work within the assigned time, and if you cannot do so, you won’t make a good assistant. Attorneys value legal secretaries who are efficient and reliable, and who are willing to put in the time and effort it takes to get the work done.
Legal secretaries work with sensitive personal and business information relating to attorneys and their clients. They are expected to keep this information strictly confidential, which means that they need to be aware of the fact that they cannot disclose such information to anyone without permission.
If you want to succeed as a legal secretary, you therefore need to make sure that you are able to act with discretion, and that you treat all your work with the necessary confidentiality.
The legal industry presents a unique challenge for those who want to work in the secretarial field, and if you want to take on this type of role, you can increase your chances of success by signing up for a legal secretary course.