Getting the right training is an important first step
Are you interested in how to become a legal secretary? If you can picture yourself working in a professional office among a staff of law professionals, then this career field might be a good fit for you. Legal secretaries—or legal administrative assistants—play an important role in law offices and law firms by keeping the day-to-day operations running smoothly and efficiently.
In most cases, a college degree is not required for a career in this field. However, having additional training beyond high school can be important. Additional training will not only show prospective employers that you are serious about your career, but it will also prepare you for the demands of the job.
How to become a legal secretary: finding the right training
There are many options for training, including community colleges, private career schools, and online courses. You will want to research your options in order to find the training that best fits your needs. You may want to ask these questions as you are looking for a school:
- How long is the program?
- What is the tuition? What are the financial aid options?
- What topics are covered in the curriculum?
- Can I get to the school easily?
- Will the courses fit my schedule?
- What is the job placement rate of students who graduate from this program?
Training programs should cover the topics that you will need to know when working in a legal setting. Many of the skills that legal administrative assistants use are transferrable to any office where administrative assistance is needed.
Computer skills are very important, but if you are not great with using a computer, don’t worry! Most training programs spend a lot of time helping you improve your computer skills. They will emphasize how to use the common software applications, and even give you time and tips for getting faster at using the keyboard.
Below are some topics that most training programs will include:
- Microsoft Office applications, such as Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint
- Business Communications
- Introduction to Law and Legal Terminology
- Legal Procedures and Document Preparation
- Keyboarding Skills
- Office Procedures
The courses relating to the legal field may cover such topics as litigation procedures, criminal law, family law, real estate law, and business law. There will be an emphasis on legal terminology, as well as how to prepare legal documents. All of these studies will help prepare you for the types of tasks that legal secretaries perform every day on the job.
What do Legal Secretaries Do?
Before you decide on a new career, it’s important to know what kinds of responsibilities may be expected of you. Legal secretaries and legal administrative assistants handle a wide variety of tasks at a legal office. Below are some examples of the types of tasks that a legal administrative assistant might perform in a typical day:
- Prepare legal documents, correspondence, and other legal papers
- Assist in conducting legal research
- Organize case files and other documents
- Help maintain a law library
- Help attorneys gather information and records
- Provide administrative assistance to attorneys, legal aides, and other members of the team
- Use databases to manage the firm’s information
- Keep inventory of office supplies and order new supplies as needed
- Work with office vendors
- Make appointments and handle phone calls
- Arrange for legal documents to be delivered to courts or clients
If these job responsibilities sound interesting to you, this could be a good career choice for you. We hope this article helps you understand what it means to be a legal secretary, how to become a legal secretary, and how you can take your first steps toward this career.
The Harris School of Business offers a career-focused education program in Legal Office Technology, for people interested in becoming a legal secretary or legal administrative assistant. In addition to this program, the Harris School provides programs in medical assisting, dental assisting, massage therapy, medical billing and coding, and more. Visit the programs page to learn more about starting your career training at Harris.