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Legal secretary

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Summary of occupation

Legal secretaries perform a range of administrative and clerical duties in law firms. In addition to general office duties, such as filing and answering phones, they also type up legal documents and contracts, prepare court forms and statements, perform research into legal matters and attend court hearings. In some cases they may have to take notes using short hand and transcribe dictation.

ANZSCO description: Performs secretarial, clerical and other administrative tasks in support of Legal Professionals applying knowledge of legal terminology, procedures and documents.
Alternative names: Secretary (Legal)
Specialisations: Legal Personal Assistant
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

Legal secretaries need:

  • excellent communication skills
  • to be able to work well under pressure
  • good organisational skills
  • to be able to keep information confidential
  • good word processing skills.
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Working conditions

Legal secretaries work in law firms in towns and cities all over Western Australia. They may also work in Government departments or for judges in courts. They generally work regular office hours, though overtime may be required, particularly when working to tight deadlines. Legal secretaries have a high level of contact with other people, such as legal professionals in the firm, court officers and members of the public, including clients.

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Salary details

On average, legal secretaries, classified under secretaries, can expect to earn between $1 000 and $1 249 per week ($52 000 and $64 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a legal secretary develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Legal secretaries use a variety of office equipment including computers, fax machines, photocopiers, scanners and telephone systems. They may also conduct research using law libraries.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a legal secretary you usually need to complete a formal qualification in business administration (legal), legal services or business (legal studies).

The Certificate III in Business Administration (Legal), the Certificate IV in Legal Services, and Diploma of Business (Legal Studies) are offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

You can also complete a traineeship. The legal assistant or assistant paralegal traineeships usually take 24 months to complete.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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