How to start a career as a Legal Secretary

19th April 2021

The role of a Legal Secretary is demanding, but exciting. Your days will be varied and you’ll be kept busy. It’s a rewarding career and if you’re planning to take this job pathway, you’ll have many options in the legal industry. Whether you’re hoping to work for a private legal firm, a government organisation providing legal aid or have a role in the court system, this industry offers numerous opportunities for career progression.

If you’re planning to pursue a career as a Legal Secretary you’ll need to be highly organised. You’ll usually be working on multiple cases at one time, so you should be able to multitask and get your work completed quickly. Legal Secretaries liaise with clients and other people in the legal system so it’s important you have good communication skills. You should be able to perform a range of administrative tasks and have a good understanding of the legal system.

If you’re interested in a career as a Legal Secretary, the following courses can help you get started:

Certificate III in Business Administration (Legal)
A Certificate III in Business Administration (Legal) will give you the administrative skills you need to work in a legal environment. You’ll learn to perform a range of administration duties including payroll tasks and processing accounts payable and receivable. You’ll develop skills with a range of office technology commonly used in legal practices and court systems.

Certificate IV in Legal Services
A Certificate IV in Legal Services is an ideal qualification for anyone hoping to start a career in the legal field. You’ll develop an understanding of Australia’s legal system and learn how to produce complex documents used in legal proceedings. This course looks at contract law and explores techniques for maintaining files for clients.

Diploma of Legal Services
A Diploma of Legal Services can help you progress your career in legal administration. You’ll advance your knowledge of legal systems and processes and be prepared to work in a range of roles in the legal industry. This course also allows you to specialise your studies with electives in family law, criminal law, property law or corporation law.

A Legal Secretary qualification could lead to a range of careers including the following job roles:

Legal Secretary
A Legal Secretary performs a range of administration tasks in the legal industry. You might work in a legal practice or have a role in a courthouse or for an organisation providing legal services. Legal Secretaries often assist with the preparation of legal documents or get paperwork ready for legal proceedings. You may also attend client meetings, transcribe documents and maintain files and records.

Legal Receptionist
A Legal Receptionist carries out a range of office duties in a legal office or court of law. You may answer phone calls, take messages or greet clients as they attend your office. Legal Receptionists might attend to email correspondence, deal with postal mail and direct enquiries to relevant staff. You might be working with a large legal team and this might involve organising meeting schedules or coordinating travel arrangements.

Legal Administrator
A Legal Administrator performs administrative tasks to assist colleagues in a legal environment. You might work in a court setting, for a legal aid organisation or for a private firm of lawyers. Legal Administrators may be involved in the preparation of legal documents, maintaining files for clients or collecting paperwork for court proceedings. You may also conduct general office duties such as typing, answering phones or dealing with electronic and regular mail.

Getting started

If a career as a Legal Secretary interests you, it’s important to spend time finding the right course to enrol in. Providers usually vary in the way they deliver their programs so you’ll need to collect information so you can work out which course is right for your individual needs. Request information from a range of course providers on course duration, costs, any prerequisites and the content the course will cover. Once you have all the information you can compare details and work out which qualification best meets your needs.

Written by Jodie Magrath
Jodie Magrath
Jodie is a freelance writer with a background in communication and journalism. She’s spent almost 20 years working in roles such as Special Projects Writer and Publications Officer.

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