Legal Secretary Salary

Just below two-thirds of Legal Secretaries in the United States have been in the field for more than 10 years. Pay can fall anywhere from $26K to $72K per year, but median earnings come to around $49K annually. Total cash compensation for Legal Secretaries runs from $26K to $72K depending on bonuses that can occasionally exceed $3K and profit sharing that can reach almost $7K. The company is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by geography and tenure. While just under a third report receiving no health benefits, a majority do receive medical coverage, and approximately half have dental, as well. Job satisfaction for Legal Secretaries is high. Respondents to the PayScale salary survey provided the data for this report.

$30,428 - $72,305
(Median)
$30K
$49K
$72K
MEDIAN: $49,492
10%
50%
90%

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$10.66 - $28.82
(Median)
$11
$17
$29
MEDIAN: $16.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$25K$50K$75K
Salary
$30,428 - $72,305  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $3,093  
Profit Sharing
$779 - $7,003  
Commission
$0.00 - $0.00  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$26,345 - $71,673  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Jun 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 5,688
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$18$36$54
Hourly Rate
$10.66 - $28.82  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $0.38  
Overtime
$14.75 - $53.72  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$0.00 - $3,093  
   
Commission
$0.00 - $0.00  
Profit Sharing
$779 - $7,003  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$26,345 - $71,673  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Jun 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 2,981
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Job Description for Legal Secretary

A legal secretary works to assist the attorneys and paralegals of the law firm and has a number of different responsibilities largely dependent on the daily needs of the firm. The secretary may be asked to prepare and process legal documents such as summonses, complaints, subpoenas, appeals, affidavits, motions, and pretrial agreements. The employee will take care of mailing, faxing, or arranging for alternate delivery of correspondence to clients, witnesses, and court officials. A legal secretary schedules appointments, answers the main line for the firm, makes copies, and drafts office memos. The secretary will organize and maintain the firm's law libraries, documents, and case files as well as assist attorneys in collecting employment, medical, and other records related to cases. Taking notes at legal meetings, client interviews, and hearings or depositions will be required. A legal secretary will also spend time reviewing legal publications and searching databases to identify laws and court decisions relevant to the firm's cases. A professional demeanor is required in dealing with the firm’s attorneys and clients, and good grammar and spelling are expected in any written correspondence whether it is emailed, faxed, or sent through the postal service. Office hours vary based on the caseload and schedule for the firm, but often exceed forty hours per week. A legal secretary must be able to efficiently use standard office equipment such as computers, printers, copiers, scanners, fax machines, telephones, and calculators. A legal background is required, whether through a degree in a related field or by previous experience working for a law firm.


Legal Secretary Tasks

  • Organize and maintain law libraries, documents and case files.
  • Schedule appointments, answer phones, make photocopies, draft and type office memos.
  • Mail, fax, or arrange for delivery of legal correspondence to clients, witnesses and court officials.
  • Assist attorneys in collecting employment, medical and other records.
  • Prepare and process legal documents and papers; summonses, subpoenas, complaints, appeals, motions and pretrial agreements.

Common Career Paths for Legal Secretary


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At the upper end, Legal Secretaries who move into an Attorney role can end up with a hefty increase in pay. The average income for Attorneys is a much higher $81K per year. Legal Secretaries most often move into positions as Legal Assistants or Paralegals. Legal Assistants actually earn $9K less on average, however, and Paralegals earn $4K less per year than Legal Secretaries do.

Legal Secretary Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Legal Secretary


Legal Secretaries flock to Kirkland & Ellis Llp, Greenbergs Traurig Llp, Mayer, Brown & Platt, Morgan Lewis & Bockius Llp, and Geico, highly regarded companies that employ a generous number of people in this profession. The biggest paychecks can be found at Cooley Godward Kronish Llp — the median salary there is $84K; however, employees are subject to a wide range in pay, with the lowest salaries sitting near $55K and highest ones in the neighborhood of $106K. Legal Secretaries can also look forward to large paychecks at Gibson Dunn and Crutcher ($81K), Sidley & Austin Llp ($78K), and Mayer, Brown & Platt ($77K).

Workers at Geico, Buchanan Ingersoll PC, and K&L Gates LLP also face smaller salaries than the rest of the field — average earnings for these employers come to $37K, $48K, and $54K respectively.

Popular Skills for Legal Secretary


Legal Secretaries seem to require a rather large skill set. Most notably, skills in Litigation Case Management, Microsoft Word, Proofreading, and Word Processing are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 6 percent and 12 percent. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Client Interaction, Filing, and Typing. Most people skilled in Document Preparation are similarly competent in 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. The average beginner in this position makes around $32K, but folks who have been around for five to 10 years see a markedly higher median salary of $41K. Legal Secretaries see a median salary of $49K after reaching one to two decades on the job. 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 $56K.

Pay Difference by Location


For Legal Secretaries, busy San Francisco offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 62 percent above the national average. Legal Secretaries can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Washington (+55 percent), New York (+46 percent), Los Angeles (+41 percent), and Boston (+39 percent).

Legal Secretary Reviews

What is it like working as a Legal Secretary?

Legal Secretary in Nanuet:
"Searching for a rewarding, exciting and challenging career."
Pros: I work independently, my boss does not bother me. I work at my own pace and everyone mainly works on there own.
Cons: I would like to do and learn more about law. My job does not reward me nor do I have any benefits nor room for growth.

Legal Secretary in Muncie:
"100%"
Pros: I love the job that I do and the person I work for. I leave every day feeling as though I have truly accomplished a lot. We help people on a daily basis and that makes it easy to love my job.
Cons: I have no complaints about my current position.

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Experience Affects Legal Secretary Salaries



National Average
$45,000



Skills That Affect Legal Secretary Salaries






Microsoft Office
up arrow 4%

Filing Court Documents
up arrow 3%

Transcription
up arrow 3%

National Average
$45,000

Document Preparation
up arrow 1%

Drafting Correspondence
up arrow 1%

Scheduling
up arrow 1%

Organizing
up arrow 2%

Typing
up arrow 4%

up arrow 8%


Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 1618 votes.

Gender

Female
98 %
Male
2 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
3%
1-4 years
19%
5-9 years
15%
10-19 years
27%
20 years or more
36%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 69% dental benefits Dental: 49%
vision benefits Vision: 36% employee benefits None: 29%
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