How legal secretaries and lawyers work together

Legal secretaries help lawyers with their work and help to optimise their firm’s overall performance. A good relationship between a lawyer and their secretary is vital. In fact, one of the most important relationships lawyers develop in their professional working lives is with their secretary, so it’s of great benefit for them to work together well. In order to do this, legal secretaries should have a good understanding of their role.

  • Last updated Mar 7, 2019 11:53:20 AM
  • Emma Stacey

Legal secretaries must understand both the law and legal procedures. Their role is to assist lawyers with the processing of important information, production of legal documents, typing up dictation, dealing with clients, as well as many other important duties. Legal secretaries can take time-consuming tasks off lawyers’ hands, from basic jobs such as filing or photocopying to more complex tasks such as arranging meetings or performing legal research. 

Lawyers are busy people and the work ethic of their secretaries has a direct impact on them. Secretaries must be fully aware of their professional responsibilities in order to be able to assist at the level required. Legal secretaries also need to be competent and efficient, with a “can do” attitude, to enable lawyers to perform their role as smoothly as possible. Being willing to take on additional responsibilities when needed goes a long way in helping an overloaded lawyer. 

As legal secretaries are often the “front window” of the firm, they should be well-informed and confident in order to deal with whatever arises. Lawyers rely on their secretaries to ensure that clients are well looked after. They have a great responsibility to relay and record accurate information, so being able to communicate well, as well as have a good knowledge of each individual client’s needs, is very important. 

Lawyers often have a billable-hours target and the job of a legal secretary is to help them achieve that. In their working week, lawyers may see various clients, attend court or take part in meetings. A good legal secretary can help with areas such as these by meeting clients themselves, attending court on behalf of their bosses or taking dictation in meetings. Their work is of great value as it frees up lawyers’ time to focus on more specialist matters.

Legal secretaries can develop their professional skills through ILSPA’s Legal Secretary Journal, DEDICATED. It includes a wealth of articles to help people with their legal-secretary careers. In the professional-development section, there are articles on time management, assertiveness and client care—all essential parts of the legal-secretary role. ILSPA’s journal is a fantastic online resource for aspiring and experienced legal secretaries. pa

If you’re interested in becoming a Legal Secretary or PA, please contact The Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs.

More like this

  • Technology for legal secretaries Megan James

    So you’re planning to become a legal secretary, but what technology do you need? Megan James of the Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs (ILSPA) explains the skills you should be on the lookout to develop. 

  • Working wisdom: advice from legal secretaries and PAs Megan James

    Beginning a new career can feel daunting. Sometimes it is hard to establish the best steps to take to move in the professional direction you want to go. When this happens the best thing to do is to reach out to those already working in the occupation to see what advice they can give you.

  • A day in the life of a legal secretary Megan James

    “Varied” is a word often used to describe a legal secretary’s role. Along with the more predictable secretarial duties that are associated with the job, there are also a range of specialist tasks and procedures that legal secretaries need to assist with to ensure the smooth running of the firm. Here, we take an in-depth look at what a legal secretary does on a day-to-day basis in some of the more commonly practised areas of law.

  • Legal secretarial training: the benefits Megan James

    The Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs (ILSPA) has been working with aspiring legal secretaries since 1990, and one of their main aims is to provide recognised and affordable training to students. Here’s a brief outline of the legal secretarial training provided and who could benefit from it.

  • Where can I work as a legal secretary? Megan James

    If you’re looking for an interesting, varied and fulfilling job, then becoming a legal secretary is the career path for you. Here, The Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs (ILSPA) provides an idea of the different industries in which legal secretaries can find themselves working.

Recruiting? We can help