Whenever a lawyer is taking a case to trial, whether it is criminal or civil, a significant amount of preparation has to go into place. Both legal secretaries and paralegals are heavily involved in the preparation for cases.
Becoming a solicitor
A legal secretary will work to organize working files, organize documents for attorney review, and help to schedule meetings for the attorney and paralegal. A paralegal will be involved in a more detailed role. They can help to perform research on the case, spend time interviewing potential witnesses and parties to the case, and help to prepare arguments and statements that will be given in the courtroom. Once they case comes to trial, the paralegal will be able to provide assistance to the attorney as well.
Another key difference between a legal secretary and a paralegal is the overall compensation. Due the higher amount of education that is required and the type of work that is completed, paralegals tend to earn much more. They may face tight deadlines and have large projects to handle quickly. If you work well under pressure and enjoy the thrill of digging through details and organizing a complex collection of information, this job may offer just what you're after.
Though the Bureau of Labor Statistics BLS has not gathered information specific to legal secretaries, they do have an extensive collection of data on similar professions that will give you a well-rounded look into the job prospects in this area. According to the BLS , job opportunities for paralegals and legal assistants are expected to increase 15 percent over the to decade. This is much higher than the national average of just 7 percent for all occupations.
Employment for legal support workers, which may include legal secretaries and those in similar occupations, has a projected job growth of 11 percent for the same period.
Law firms are increasingly working to lower their expenses while increasing efficiency. Legal secretaries help do just that. For this reason, the job outlook is strong for legal assistants, legal secretaries, and others in this field. Legal secretaries typically work in law offices.
Have you got what it takes to become a solicitor?
They're usually on a team working alongside paralegals, attorneys, and other support staff. In some instances, legal secretaries may find themselves working for a large corporation or other organization that maintains its own in-house legal team. In this situation, the scope of their cases and research may be more specialized than what one would find in a law office.
Legal secretaries tend to work in an office environment, spending most of their day at a desk. However, you are usually required to complete secondary school, as well as a one- or two-year college program or other program for administrative assistants or legal administrative assistants. However, you do require a college diploma in a paralegal program usually lasting two years.
Jobs are advertised in a variety of sources including newspapers, magazines and online job sites. Many job vacancies are not advertised. Many positions are filled by people who have been recommended by someone they know. Networking, working as a volunteer or registering with a temporary employment agency are good ways of helping you find jobs and meet people in your industry.
Books by Institute for Career Research (Author of Career as a Computer Systems Analyst)
When looking for work, be sure to talk to friends, relatives and neighbours. They may know someone who is hiring!
In Canada, employers usually expect to receive a resume and a cover letter that identifies the position you are applying for and summarizes your experience. Use the library catalogue to find books on writing resumes and cover letters specific to your industry.