Legal Secretary Salary
Though nationally Legal Secretaries make an average $51K per year, those in this field can find the most generous pay at Goodwin Procter Llp, where the average salary is around $84K. Legal Secretaries will also find cushy salaries at Gibson Dunn and Crutcher (+$81K), Mayer, Brown & Platt (+$80K), and Sidley & Austin Llp (+$80K). The figures in this rundown are based on the results of PayScale's salary questionnaire.
Job Description for Legal Secretary
Legal secretaries work primarily for lawyers’ offices and courts to perform secretarial duties and provide legal support services to attorneys. They must file materials, such as motions, briefs, memorandums, pleadings, etc. at various court systems in a timely manner, as well as maintain appointments and remind lawyers to see clients. They may need to interview clients, either on the phone or in-person prior to referring them to their lawyers. They are generally tasked with typing and editing pleadings, briefs, technical papers, letters to various parties, and memos, among other documents, and must ensure that all legal documents are free of grammatical errors and typos. They may also accompany lawyers to courts to assist in hearings.Read More...
Computer skills and verbal and written communication skills are important in this position, and legal secretaries should also be able to work in a team environment and be proficient in Microsoft Office programs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook). They must also be highly knowledgeable of legal citation rules, legal library systems, and various court systems’ rules and filing requirements.
Some employers require that legal secretaries have an associate's or bachelor's degree in a legal field, while other employers will accept candidates with significant prior experience in place of a degree. It is also essential to maintain comprehensive legal secretarial knowledge and familiarity with legal terms, and the abilities to multitask and pay close attention to detail are also important.
Legal Secretary Tasks
- Prepare and process legal documents and papers; summonses, subpoenas, complaints, appeals, motions and pretrial agreements.
- Review legal publications and perform database searches to identify laws and court decisions relevant to pending cases.
- Attend legal meetings; client interviews, hearings or depositions and take notes.
- Assist attorneys in collecting employment, medical and other records.
- Organize and maintain law libraries, documents and case files.
Common Career Paths for Legal Secretary
Legal Secretaries may experience a large salary bump if they progress into a role such as Attorney. The latter position pays an average of $81K annually. Many Legal Secretaries choose to become Paralegals and Legal Assistants as their careers advance. However, folks in those positions report median salaries of $5K less and $10K less, respectively.
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Popular Skills for Legal Secretary
Survey participants wield an impressively varied skill set on the job. Most notably, skills in Litigation Case Management, Word Processing, Software Knowledge, and Proofreading are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 5 percent and 13 percent. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Client Interaction, Filing, and Typing. For most people, competency in Document Preparation indicates knowledge of Drafting Correspondence and Client Interaction.
Pay by Experience Level for Legal Secretary
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Legal Secretaries generally obtain higher compensation for more plentiful past experience. Although individuals who have less than five years' experience earn $33K on average, people with five to 10 years benefit from a notably larger average of $42K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $50K. Individuals who report more than two decades of experience seem to make only slightly more than folks in the 10-to-20 year range; the more senior group sees median earnings in the comparatively modest ballpark of $59K.
Pay Difference by Location
For Legal Secretaries, working in the bustling city of San Francisco has its advantages, including an above-average pay rate. Legal Secretaries will also find cushy salaries in Washington (+49 percent), New York (+49 percent), Los Angeles (+42 percent), and Boston (+42 percent).
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