If you’re the type of person who enjoys variety in your workday, can change directions on the spur of the moment, are organized and have a fast typing ability, becoming a legal secretary might be just your cup of tea. A number of people shy away from legal work because of the reported stress level of the job. And yes, there can be days where the work load gets fairly stressful, mostly depending on the attorneys where you work. Like everyone, some are more organized than others, while some stay on top of every deadline they encounter.
Large attorney offices usually hire a number of legal secretaries. Most of the time, a legal secretary works for one or two attorneys, while some only work for one. If you choose a small office with a lone practicing attorney or two, you can often be the lone secretary in the office, which means you are responsible for all secretarial duties. It varies office by office.
In addition to having a secretary, even smaller law offices have a paralegal and oftentimes a receptionist. Some even have file clerks. In some cases, the secretary will be asked to do paralegal duties, something many enjoy because it can increase their skill levels. Oftentimes, if you work for an attorney in a smaller office, they welcome the opportunity to teach you as much as you are willing to learn.
If you are a person who enjoys working solo in an office, then probably a smaller attorney office would be the best place for you to apply for a job. As stated above, there is usually more opportunity to increase your skills, and also office conflicts and problems one often finds with co-workers is not a problem. On the other hand, if you’re a person who enjoys the camaradie of co-workers and being in a busy atmosphere, you should probably look for a position in a larger office.
The pros of working in a larger legal office are usually pay scale and the most modern equipment. Also, when you are needed elsewhere, your being off work is not nearly as inconvenient for your employer. Oftentimes, the benefits are a prime consideration, as offices with a larger number of people are able to offer better group rates on insurance and retirement plans. Smaller attorney offices, like most companies, are much more limited.
The primary skills needs for legal secretarial work are having a fast typing speed, ability to do transcription, and knowledge of basic word processing programs. Many community colleges and training schools offer a variety of training in different software programs such as Word Perfect, Word, Excel, etc. Often, it is just a matter of taking a short course.
Legal secretaries are usually in high demand in small towns and large cities. Many offices hire legal secretaries with little or no experience and train them on the job. For many people, this is definitely a job that will hold their interest and provide a profitable return.