Adult Career-Changers Should Start Right Here!
A great many of us would love to get a new job - so where do we begin?
Throughout the last 10 years, we have given adult career guidance to many budding career changers - and so we thought we'd provide this site to give you some useful sources in small chunks.
Why wait? Select an option and kick-off your journey!
Becoming A Legal Secretary - Secretarial Training Programs
There are no precisely defined routes into the role of Legal Secretary, but there are some key skills that many employers will be looking for. We'll go on to suggest possible training later on, but first let's get a feel for what the job entails.
The core duty of a legal secretary is typing letters and other legal documents such as Wills, Contracts and Leases etc. In addition, those who work for small companies may well cover general administrative tasks as well. There are also some jobs that are specific to the legal industry, such as accompanying lawyers to court attendances.
Different law firms will have their own specialities, and focus on one area of the law, such as criminal law or civil law. So your knowledge will build depending on where you work - it could be you gain employment with a solicitor who handles wills and probate for instance.
Having said that, if you work for a small firm of lawyers you'll probably deal with more varied tasks than if you work for a big law company.
The majority of a legal secretary's work will be done on the computer in the office. There's often the chance for legal secretaries to work part-time, and in fact some companies encourage job-sharing. Most legal secretaries earn over 15,000pa after their first year in the industry, and many go on to receive excellent remuneration packages after several years.
Legal Secretarial Certification & Training Requirements
So, what does an employer look for when considering a legal secretary? Predominantly you'll need to have extremely good English language skills and be able to demonstrate a typing speed of over sixty five words per minute. In addition, you should have a genuine interest in legal matters, be well organised and scrupulously accurate.
You should have English and Maths GCSE's at least, although there are no actual formally agreed certifications for legal secretaries. Clearly if you're unsure about how to spell or compose a letter you will struggle in this sort of job.
Many companies now utilise Microsoft Office Products, and therefore a good practical understanding of Microsoft Word along with PowerPoint and Excel are definitely welcomed. You can look at stand alone office skills packages - why not try the European Computer Driving Licence for starters.
Training companies regularly feature on this page. For handy reference you could pop it in your list of Favourites. Then when you have time to check them out you can come straight back in seconds.
Any administrative or secretarial qualifications will stand you in good stead. Legal secretarial work attracts people from many different administrative roles, so competition can be tough.
When you get a chance to let an employer know what you can do, be sure to display the characteristics that they're looking for. Check and double check your CV before you send it to an employer though. You could fall at the first hurdle if you're spelling's not up to snuff!
What Do I Have To Do Next?
In order to fully educate their legal secretaries on the specific nature of their work, some firms train them alongside the job. Some organisations offer in-house training programmes and others may encourage employees to work towards external professional qualifications.
Lots of interesting things are taught on legal secretarial courses. To begin with you'll probably cover aspects of working in a legal office - such as documentation and privacy issues. You'll probably cover information about court procedure and how laws are arrived at. Then there are the specifics which will be dependent on your career path - be that civil litigation, company law, family law etc.
Prices for training vary - as will the standard of training - but you should expect to pay between five hundred and one thousand pounds. For computer user skills training allow one hundred pounds plus for your ECDL, or several hundred pounds plus for the more advanced Office skills training. You'll find both in-centre and home-based training programmes by looking online at the range of UK trainers.
Developing Into a Legal Executive
If your ambitions go beyond the remit of Legal Secretary, you could progress onto becoming a Legal Executive in time. This is a position midway between the Legal Secretary and the Lawyer.
Outside of the High Court, fully qualified and experienced Legal Executives can undertake many of the legal activities that solicitors do. In the lower courts however, certain legal executives can represent their clients in the same way any other lawyer can. Any work they do will of course depend upon the subject matter they've trained in. Legal Executives can specialise in the same range of activities that other lawyers can.
In closing, if you study to gain the skills for work as a legal secretary, you could build a very promising and interesting career. Why not take a closer look now at some of the possible options open to you.