Legal Secretary

Job Description:

Legal secretaries support lawyers with administrative tasks like typing, answering calls, and filing documents.

Job Category:

What you will do:

As well as solicitors’ offices and barristers’ chambers, you could work for law courts, local authorities, estate agents, or the police.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • producing legal documents like wills and contracts
  • preparing court forms and statements
  • handling confidential information
  • working from solicitors’ written notes and audio files (dictation)
  • dealing with clients
  • making appointments and managing diaries
  • keeping records
  • accompanying solicitors to court or police stations
  • delivering and collecting documents
  • filing and general administrative work

If you’re working in a small, local firm, you’ll develop experience in a wide range of legal matters. In larger firms you’ll usually specialise in one particular area of law.


You’ll need:

  • legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • administration skills & organisational skills
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork)
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • concentration skills
  • the ability to use your initiative (drive)
  • customer service skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Legal Secretary, there are no specific GCSE subjects that are universally required. However, certain GCSE subjects can be helpful in preparing you for this career and may make you a more competitive candidate when seeking employment in a law firm or legal department. Here are some GCSE subjects that can be beneficial:

  1. English Language: Strong communication skills are essential in the legal field, so a good grasp of English is crucial for drafting legal documents, correspondence, and communicating effectively with clients and colleagues.
  2. Mathematics: Basic math skills are important for tasks such as handling finances, managing legal documents, and working with numbers in various legal contexts.
  3. IT/Computer Science: Legal Secretaries often use computers and software for document management, research, and communication, so proficiency in IT and computer skills can be highly advantageous.
  4. Business Studies: A background in business studies can be beneficial because legal secretaries often assist with administrative tasks, manage appointments, and handle financial matters for their employers.
  5. Law (if available): Some schools may offer GCSE-level courses in law, which can provide you with foundational knowledge about the legal system and terminology. However, this is not typically a required subject at the GCSE level for becoming a Legal Secretary.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • specialist courses run by a professional body

You could take a course in audio transcription, legal word processing, or (in the UK for example) a qualification like a Level 3 Diploma for Legal Secretaries.

You could get into this job through an intermediate and advanced apprenticeship in legal services or as a paralegal.

You could start as an admin assistant with a legal business or organisation and then apply for a trainee position. For most trainee legal secretary jobs you’ll need excellent word processing skills of around 45 to 50 words a minute.

Other Routes
You could complete qualifications offered by your country’s legal governing bodies. In the UK, this is The Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs and the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx). Both have information about part-time and online distance learning courses.

Working Hours and Environment:

You’ll usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

You’ll often work in an office but you may travel to deliver documents, visit police stations or go to court.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience you could become a senior secretary, PA or office manager in larger firms.

With further qualifications, you could become a legal executive, paralegal or licensed conveyancer.

You could also work towards training as a solicitor or barrister.