Legal secretaries provide administrative and secretarial support for lawyers or other staff within a legal firm.
You could be:
- preparing court forms and statements
- organising solicitors' diaries and making appointments
- preparing records of legal costs
- typing legal contracts, digital recordings (transcriptions), agreements and wills, using the correct wording and layout
- accompanying solicitors to court and police stations
- dealing with enquiries from clients via telephone and face to face
- reading and answering emails, opening mail or filing or proofreading documents
- organising meetings and taking minutes
- specialising in a particular area, such as criminal law, conveyancing (property transfer) or family law.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
- where you work
- the size of company or organisation you work for
- the demand for the job.
Salaries for legal secretaries in Scotland tend to be in the range of £18,000 to £25,000 a year. Legal secretaries in top firms can earn up to £30,000 or more. Salaries sometimes include additional benefits.
- You would be based in an office.
- You would work at a desk using a computer.
- Your hours would normally be 9.00am-5.00pm, Monday to Friday.
- You may sometimes have to work under pressure to meet court deadlines.
Workforce Employment Status
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- A good general education is helpful. Many employers ask for some subjects at National 4 or 5 including English and Maths.
- Alternatively, you could take an NC, NQ, an SVQ, an HNC, HND or a degree in administration or business before applying for a job.
- Some of these courses include legal specialisms.
- Entry requirements for an NC, NQ or SVQ vary from no formal qualifications to 4 subjects at National 5. Entry requirements for HNC or HND courses are 1-2 Highers, and for degree courses, 4-5 Highers.
- You need fast and accurate typing skills. Shorthand may be an advantage.
- You need to become familiar with legal terms.
You could look for work with legal firms, patent agencies, local authorities, courts or with the police.
Workforce Education Levels (UK)
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Job Outlook Scotland
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What Does it Take?
You should be:
- accurate and attentive to detail
- good written and verbal communication skills
- able to talk to people from various backgrounds
- well organised and able to prioritise tasks
- able to understand and use legal terms
- able to work under pressure
- discreet, when dealing with confidential information.
- Training is usually on the job, perhaps with part time study towards a relevant qualification.
- The Institute of Legal Secretaries offers various distance learning courses including the Legal Secretaries Diploma and single subject legal courses at Foundation Certificate and Advanced Diploma level.
- With experience you could become an office manager or PA.
- You might train as a paralegal or legal executive.
- By taking higher qualifications, you might train to become a solicitor or lawyer.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
Tel: 01536 738631
Instructus Skills (formerly Skills CFA) is the UK’s leading cross-sector apprenticeship authority and skills sector body. They ensure that apprentices learn the skills that employers need, from business skills to engineering to e-commerce.
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