We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Legal Secretary?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated Mar 02, 2024
Our promise to you
Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Practical Adult Insights, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A legal secretary is an administrative assistant who specializes in the field of law. He or she assists lawyers by preparing legal documents. Legal secretaries are employed in law firms as well as the legal departments of insurance companies, corporations and real estate firms. Completion of a legal assistant training program of up to a year in length is a common educational requirement for many legal secretary positions.

Transcription and legal terminology are two main areas of secretarial training in the field of law. While typing legal documents and correspondence is often the main duty of a legal secretary, he or she may also answer phones, greet clients and schedule appointments. In larger law firms, a receptionist may perform those duties while legal secretaries are responsible for filing, preparing and typing up legal paperwork. Legal secretaries often specialize in a certain type of law, such as family, contract or wills and estates.

Fast keyboarding and good computer knowledge are expected in most legal secretary positions. A typing speed of at least 60 words per minute (wpm) is a common expectation. Using file management systems and transcribing a lawyer's dictation into letters or other correspondence are completed by many legal secretaries. Using technology such as voice mail, legal computer software and photocopiers is a typical part of most legal secretaries' workdays. In smaller companies, accounting tasks may be a part of a legal administrative secretary's job description.

If a legal secretary works for a trial lawyer, he or she may accompany the attorney to court to take notes for the case's files. Most legal secretaries are required to work both independently and as part of a team. Some secretaries research legal journals and law books to help lawyers on cases. Client confidentiality must be respected at all times. Attention to detail and an ability to follow through on legal cases are other important characteristics of successful legal administrative assistants or secretaries.

After several years, a legal secretary may be promoted to a supervisory position. After completing more legal courses, or obtaining a certificate or degree, he or she may be eligible to become a paralegal. Paralegals differ from legal secretaries in that they are responsible for more law-related rather than administration-based work. For example, a lawyer may supervise a paralegal in writing legal drafts, whereas a secretary would just prepare and type the documents. In some areas, the term legal assistant can be confusing, as it may refer to either a paralegal or legal secretary.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By Fa5t3r — On Jun 28, 2013

Plenty of people become legal secretaries without a degree or diploma. It is definitely the kind of thing you can learn on the job if someone is willing to take you on.

Taking legal secretary courses is a bit of a waste of time in my mind, when you could be getting experience along with the learning.

By irontoenail — On Jun 28, 2013

@Iluviaporos - It is probably tougher than the average secretary, but it depends on where you work, really. There are a lot of different kinds of law firms and even within those firms there are a lot of different kinds of lawyers.

A legal secretary working in a law firm in a sleepy small town isn't going to have the same kind of work load that one working at a big firm in New York City will. On the other hand, legal secretary duties are also going to vary and the person working in the small town may have a bigger variety of things to do, since it's likely they don't specialize as much.

And I've heard that people can even become lawyers without degrees if they are able to pass the bar. So I imagine there's a few places out there who would hire a person without a qualification to be a legal secretary as well (although it would be a steep learning curve).

By lluviaporos — On Jun 27, 2013

It's actually really tough to have a legal secretary career and you almost always have to have a qualification these days to even get your foot in the door. I know people who have basically gone through law school and then become legal secretaries (usually because they realize they don't really want to be a lawyer).

Which means if you're looking for a job as a legal secretary, you'll be competing against people with a lot of experience. Don't just watch Erin Brockovich and expect to be able to walk in the door without any experience or skills.

Practical Adult Insights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Practical Adult Insights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.