There are many different options for you to choose from once you step into the legal field. Do you want to work individually, work in a firm, or work as a legal secretary? Whatever, your choice is, remember to do thorough research before you make the final decision.
We know how tedious and hard the entire process is to research and find out what is best for you. But don’t worry, we are here for you. If you are planning to become a legal secretary and want to find out the average income they receive, then you have come to the right place. We have the most accurate information for you.
So, what are you really waiting for? Let us jump right in!
Table of Contents
What is a legal secretary?
A legal secretary plays a very significant part in the day to day actions and operations of a law firm. Legal assistants are supposed to have a vast knowledge of legal undertakings and documentation. Legal assistants who perform well and are highly experienced are promoted to the post of a paralegal in the firm.
Legal assistant job description
Legal assistants and secretaries are supposed to provide support to the legal counselors and paralegals in a law office or association. Most legal secretaries chat straightforwardly with lawyers, administrative work force, courtroom staff, customers, witnesses and business merchants.
As a legal secretary, you should have an excellent command over handling different computer programs and softwares. Moreover, their job description can range from more customary secretarial positions like attending phone calls and taking messages, to making comprehensive spreadsheets, presentations, or organizing and preparing law records. Legal secretaries must be very sharp, organized, amiable, and self-taught, prepared to tackle any task or challenge and ready to comply with tight time constraints consistently.
Legal assistants should also know how to communicate with a different mix of people on a daily basis. Communication can take place in a number of ways such as face-to-face, telephone calls, and email correspondence. In some cases, even video conferences with customers, legal counselors, paralegals, opposing counsel, and city authorities is also a good option.
Legal assistants also have a ton of writing as part of their description. In addition to this, they also make drafts of correspondence or memos, and even proofread legal records like briefs and pleadings. Legal secretaries also work on the management aspects of projects. Moreover, they organize both paper and electronic files, keep a record of deadlines, set up appointments, and maintain a comprehensive calendar.
What is the difference between paralegals and legal assistants?
The main difference between paralegals and legal assistants lies in the substantive legal work that they do. Such a work requires immense legal knowledge and understanding of the law. Attorneys usually perform substantive legal work if paralegals are not present. In order to carry out substantive legal work, you need to have the following skills:
- communication of legal concepts
Thus, you need to have proper education, skills and experience to perform substantive legal work. There are standard certification and education requirements that must be met before an individual can perform substantive legal work as a legal assistant or paralegal. Paralegals can even specialize within their field and improve their training, education and expertise. By receiving advanced education, paralegals get a national certification and receive an advanced degree.
While legal secretaries are additionally needed to run law workplaces, their work isn’t of the legal nature. They are the regulatory power behind the work going on i.e. overseeing records, looking after schedules, booking arrangements, organizing and preparing archives, making travel courses of action, keeping up with the information bases and taking notes during gatherings, among different obligations. Legal assistants are not legally needed to satisfy the educational requirements or training guidelines. Many of them have not even gone to law school!
How much does a legal secretary make?
As per the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, legal assistants make an average income of $42,460. The lowest 10% earned an average $26,360 or less while those in the top 10% were paid $66,940 or more.
Entry level legal assistant salary
A legal assistant with only 1 (or less) year of experience under their belt can hope to receive a mean income (this consists of tips, rewards, and payment for working overtime) of $36,874 dependent on 265 pay rates. A novice legal secretary with almost 1 to 4 years of experience can get an income of $42,113 dependent on 1,438 pay rates. Someone with 5 to 9 years of experience has an average salary of $48,416 dependent on 726 pay rates. Moreover, an accomplished legal secretary with 10 to 19 years of experience under his/her belt gets an average pay of $57,784 dependent on 1,251 pay rates. Highly experienced (20 years and higher) legal assistants win a normal complete remuneration of $63,931.
States with the highest paid legal secretaries
The District of Columbia has the highest paid legal secretaries, with an average yearly income of $65,150. New York had the second highest paid legal secretaries with an average yearly salary of $53,330. Legal secretaries in Delaware were earning the third highest salary with an average yearly income of $52,590. Thus, if you work in either of these three states, you can as much as almost $60,000. Of course your hard work and experience also counts and will definitely pay off.
Legal secretaries can find work in law firms and even in private organizations. They need to have a lot of skills and be highly efficient as their job requires immense time management skills. Now that you know everything about legal secretaries, you can step into the professional world.