Legal secretaries possess a specific skill set that is vital to the everyday workings of a law firm. These individuals possess an extensive knowledge of the legal proceedings and documentation which is gained during a one to three year course at an accredited college to gain a certification a well as on-the-job.
Whilst legal secretaries aren’t quite classed as paralegals, their knowledge and abilities are very similar, with legal secretaries helping legal firms by conducting research on legal cases, preparing and filing legal documents, such as subpoenas, appeals and motions, and fulfilling other direct assistance duties such as taking minutes in legal meetings, scheduling appointments, liaising with clients and other law firms, among other various organizational tasks within the law firm.
Legal secretaries can work in various office environments including legal firms, corporate legal offices, non-profit organizations and government offices with most legal secretaries liaising directly with attorneys, clerical personnel, courtroom staff and clients. Legal secretaries often take up the duty of teaching new lawyers and paralegals about protocols about filling and submitting various courtroom documents.
According to Payscale, a legal secretary in the UK earns an average salary of £18,606 per annum with more experienced legal secretaries earning up to £33,051 per annum. At this cost and with the fact that the attorney to legal secretary ratio can be anything from 5:1 to 1:1, employing legal secretaries with good knowledge and a developed skillset could become an expensive exercise for many law firms in the UK.
With the development of outsourcing, it has become possible to reduce that cost significantly by outsourcing the work to an outsourced legal secretary who has the same amount of experience but saving costs due to the need for a fixed salary and benefits being removed and replaced by a miniscule fee per document or task, making it possible for businesses to hire a plain assistant for the more menial tasks and saving money on that as well.