Becoming a legal secretary is an excellent choice for those who have always dreamed of working in a professional, formal office environment.
Legal secretaries provide administrative and clerical services in the offices they serve. They are responsible for typing, encoding information, organizing files, mailing official correspondence, and answering phone calls. In the United States, legal secretaries work at federal or nongovernmental offices like law firms, insurance companies, or nonprofits according to their specific functions.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics places legal secretaries under occupational classification 43-6012. This reports that there are more than 214 000 employed across the country today in this field alone.
Their job duties are assigned such that the BLS has classified them as being in a distinct occupational classification, with “clerks” broadly (as 43-4031) under the broad category of “Court, Municipal and License’’.
What is a legal secretary?
A legal secretary is a person who works in a legal setting. This includes any court or office that handles legal documents, such as lawyers and law firms.
The duties of the legal secretary may include typing, filing, answering phones, greeting guests, and updating databases.
Being a legal secretary can be an excellent career choice for those who want to work in an office environment. Some of the job perks are flexible hours and good pay in an industry with a high demand for personnel.
However, you’ll need to have the training necessary to become licensed so that you’re qualified to carry out these duties professionally. To learn more about what it takes to become a legal secretary, read on!
How to become a legal secretary in California
If you want to become a legal secretary in California, you will need to first get the training necessary. You can start with community college or school courses that can help you prepare for the licensing exam.
Complete the minimum requirements
There are no standardized hiring practices or requirements for employment in offices below the federal level. Each office will write its own requirements based on the individual needs of the role. At a minimum, however, all candidates must have an associate degree and be California citizens as well as hold US residency permits; other common requirements include:
To be a legal assistant, you must have the following qualifications:
- To be 18 years old or older.
- To possess a high school diploma (or GED certificate) and secretarial/administrative support skills.
- A background in general law is helpful.
- Strong communication skills are necessary as well as being very detail-oriented.
Some employers need experience, which may include voluntary work or apprenticeships. Some also require basic legal knowledge acquired through study and filing documents in court as well. Candidates with these qualifications are also considered for the position of employment at some companies.
Training and Certification for Legal Secretary Jobs
Complete a Formal Legal Secretary Certificate/Career Diploma Program
Individuals who want to become legal secretaries should complete a degree or career diploma program offered by vocational, professional, and technical schools. This training includes between 6 and 12 months of study with practical training. It teaches students about managing office finances such as account management/payroll duties; keyboarding skills; PC basics like word processing software use; and even filing court documents!
Today’s programs give students the skills they need to prepare for a career in this field. There are practical exercises designed within these courses, which are supposed to help students master the skill sets they have learned. These classes also offer an opportunity to take NALS certification upon graduation!
Coursework for the legal secretary certificate/career diploma typically includes:
Stress and time management, Interpersonal communication skills, Office procedures, Technologies in the workplace, How to use a personal computer and common software platforms: writing and punctuation; spelling; grammar, capitalization; legal terminology (law); professionalism risk management law research office administration Etc this coursework must be completed by a candidate.
Earn Voluntary Professional Certification
Professional certification is an optional process that, among other things, can help legal secretaries achieve a high level of credibility in the profession and enhance their employment opportunities.
Candidates who have three years experience in Secretary Field or Post-Secondary degree. So they get the Professional Legal Secretary (PLS) designation for legal secretaries by the National Association for Legal Professionals (NALS). To qualify, you must take and pass the PLS exam which includes four parts:
• Legal knowledge and skills
• Office procedures and technology
• Written communications
• Ethics and judgment skills
All four parts of the exam are compulsory to pass for all students. and the PLS certification is valid for 5 years and the recertification requires at least 75 hours of legal education within the certification period of 5 years.
Skills necessary for becoming a legal secretary
The skills necessary to become a legal secretary are quite extensive. You must be very organized and detail-oriented in order to handle the workload of a busy office environment. In addition, you will need excellent communication skills, including being able to speak clearly and write well. These two skills are vital for success as a legal secretary because they will help you understand what is expected of you by your employer and co-workers.
Additionally, you will need to have an eye for detail in order to provide quality work on any given day. Being able to distinguish between important and unimportant documents is also essential in this field. If you can quickly spot what needs immediate attention, that means you can save the time it would take for someone else to find it themselves. The final skill needed is patience – which is necessary when dealing with paperwork and deadlines!
Becoming a legal secretary is not an easy task but the benefits of being one far outweigh any of the challenges.
If you are looking for a fulfilling career that is also a well-paying one, consider becoming a legal secretary in California. Not only will you have a career that will make you proud, but you will also be able to give back to society. You will also have opportunities for advancement and job satisfaction.