It’s not just law firms and barristers’ chambers that rely on the skills and services of a good legal secretary. Due to this, legal secretaries have great scope to choose the sort of working environment that best suits them.
It will come as no surprise that the largest number of legal secretaries can be found working within law firms and solicitors’ offices. However, this is a very diverse career choice in itself. Law firms work in all different areas of law and, depending on the size of the law firm you’re working in, you could be involved in a variety of different types of law or, alternatively, specialise in one.
Barristers’ chambers require legal secretaries to carry out work related to criminal law. If you’re particularly interested in that area of law, you may find that working in barristers’ chambers is a better fit than is a solicitors’ firm, where you’re more likely to be working within civil law.
A law department in large corporations and organisations
Larger corporations and organisations often have their own in-house legal team. The area of law you work in will be dependent on the area in which the organisation operates. The company could be anything from an accounting firm or bank to a firm in the music industry or an educational body. Charities will also commonly have a legal team that will require legal secretaries to assist them.
Conveyancing is an area of law that involves a large amount of administration, and therefore conveyancing secretaries are always in high demand. Licensed conveyancers are legal professionals who deal specifically with the sale and purchase of land. They are not lawyers and aren’t qualified to work in other areas of the law. If you have an interest in conveyancing and land law, this is a fantastic alternative to working for a solicitor.
Working for a local authority is another option for legal secretaries. This could prove to be quite an interesting role as you may find yourself working within a wide range of legal areas including contracts and procurement, local authority law, company law, employment and housing.
Some larger estate agents now have their own in-house solicitors who specifically deal with the conveyancing process for their agent’s sales. Similarly to licensed conveyancers, estate agents offer some fantastic opportunities for legal secretaries that want to work within this area.
Flexible working can be an important factor when people consider their careers in light of other commitments such as raising families or want more of a work/life balance. Many office professionals are drawn towards becoming self-employed virtual assistants (VAs) due to the freedom it can provide. VAs work remotely and can work for one person, one company or multiple clients. The opportunity to use the specialist skills of a legal secretary is very high in this area. Smaller companies that don’t require a full-time legal secretary may instead contract a legal VA to help with their administration. Large firms that require additional support may enlist legal VAs to assist with their workload.
Next article: The benefits of legal secretarial training
If you’re interested in becoming a Legal Secretary or PA, please contact The Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs.