Top 15 Legal Secretary Skills to be best on the Job
Every legal secretary needs top skills and qualities to be able to excel on the job.
The proficiency of legal secretaries relies on their skills and abilities, and that is what this post is all about.
But before coming to the top skills you need to be a good secretary in a law office, let’s know what legal secretary really means.
Who is a Legal Secretary?
A legal secretary is an administrative assistant trained specially to perform law-related duties and tasks. It is a job that requires certain level of skills, qualities, education, and training.
Duties and responsibilities:
Legal secretaries perform various duties, including receiving guests and clients by greeting them in person or on the phone, conveying attorney’s time, producing information, and organizing client meetings and attorney’s conferences. See detailed legal secretary job description.
Legal secretaries work in various environments such as law firms, government departments, and courts, providing legal services for attorneys.
Now, here are 15 top skills and qualities to have to be best in your legal secretary job:
1. Writing Skills: Writing is an important part of the legal secretary job that every secretary or those aspiring to get into the career should possess. Attorneys need secretaries a lot for drafting routine correspondences and file memos. They are also needed for proofreading legal documents such as pleadings, briefs, discovery, and transactions.
2. Listening and Communication Skills: Legal secretaries should be able to understand legal terminology and use it correctly and at the appropriate time. They also need to understand and follow instructions with little or no follow up.
3. Computer Skills: Legal secretaries need to possess the skills required for copying and pasting, creating spreadsheets, printing documents, writing emails, researching legal documents, and faxing and transcribing notes.
4. Research Skills: Legal secretaries should possess research skills if they desire success in their career. Research skills are required when a secretary is finding documents for an attorney, directions to a meeting between an attorney and his/her client, or locating an expert witness for a case.
5. Proofreading: Legal secretaries should be able to proofread documents that they or others have typed, and correct errors found in spelling and usage. They need to use the dictionary for effective proofreading, especially where they are not very sure.
6. Ability to Prepare and File Court Documents: The responsibility of preparing court forms, filing them in court, and serving them on opposing parties lies upon the legal secretary. Therefore, they should become familiar with all legal documents, including proofs of service, complaints, briefs and subpoenas.
7. Confidentiality: Legal secretaries should learn to keep client confidences. They may find opportunities within the law firm where they work, or entry jobs with the government for additional training to expand their confidentiality skills.
8. Reliability: A legal secretary can be said to be reliable when he or she can finish a workload within a specified timeframe. With reliability skills, legal secretaries can put in the amount of time and efforts necessary for completing certain tasks assigned to them.
9. Typing Skills: For legal secretaries to work efficiently, they need to learn how to type fast. Typing fast will help them meet deadlines, and that makes them to be trusted by the attorney. Large law firms often require 65 to 80 wpm typing, but for government entry jobs 45 to 50 wpm can be acceptable.
10. Strong Interpersonal Skills: Legal secretaries should learn the best approach needed for interacting with clients, attorneys, coworkers, and court officials. They need to learn how to use soft words on people and avoid taking actions that will irritate or grieve others.
11. Problem Solving Skills: The best way that legal secretaries can solve a problem is to think out multiple possible solutions and outcomes, and then come up with a complete perspective to decide the most logical conclusion.
12. Attention to Detail: During proofreading and editing tasks, legal secretaries are supposed to pay full attention to errors and make necessary corrections. The accuracy with which they handle each task determines whether they are detail-oriented or not.
13. Organizational Skills: Legal secretaries should learn to manage case files, trial binders and some other important documents in an orderly manner. They need to plan their work and give their role a positive structure with good organizational skills.
14. Professionalism: Legal secretaries should present themselves and behave in a professional way, showing some good attitude as well. As people judge you by your appearance, you should try as much as you can to maintain your professionalism by caring for your look. You will see a big difference this will make in your position as a legal secretary.
15. Multi-tasking and Time Management: Legal secretaries need the ability to multi-task and manage their time effectively. Prioritizing workload is an efficient way of managing time.
Are you a legal secretary who wants to be best in your job? If you are, then working on developing the skills and qualities presented in this post will help you achieve the goal and excel in your career.
If you are an attorney looking to hire a good secretary, you can make the above qualities part of the job requirements given to applicants to meet to access the position.
Did you find the information in this post useful in becoming a good legal secretary? Please, give your comment in the box below. You may also share additional skills that have helped you to be effective as a legal secretary.