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Legal secretary

Legal secretaries provide administrative support for lawyers and legal executives.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £18,000 to £45,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English and maths
  • experience of office work
  • word processing skills

You could also take a course in audio transcription or legal word processing. This could help you to get a job.

Temporary office work is a good way of getting relevant work experience.

The Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs (ILSPA) has more information about this career.

The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) has information on relevant courses.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • excellent communication skills
  • word processing and IT skills
  • excellent spelling and grammar
  • accuracy and attention to detail
  • organisational skills
  • the ability to work in a team and use your own judgement

3. What you'll do

As well as solicitors’ offices and barristers’ chambers, you could work for law courts, local authorities, estate agents or the police. Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • producing legal documents like wills and contracts
  • preparing court forms and statements
  • handling confidential information
  • working from solicitors' written notes and audio files (dictation)
  • dealing with clients
  • making appointments and managing diaries
  • keeping records
  • accompanying solicitors to court or police stations
  • delivering and collecting documents
  • filing and general administrative work
If you’re working in a small, local firm, you’ll develop experience in a wide range of legal matters. In larger firms you’ll usually specialise in one particular area of law.

4. Salary

Starter: £18,000 to £22,000

Experienced: £22,000 to £30,000

Highly Experienced: £35,000 to £45,000 (supervisor)

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. 

You'll often work in an office but you may travel to deliver documents, visit police stations or go to court.

6. Career path and progression

With experience you could become a senior secretary, PA or office manager in larger firms. 

With further qualifications, you could become a legal executive, paralegal or licensed conveyancer. 

You could also work towards training as a solicitor or barrister.

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Last updated: 18 August 2017