To work as a legal secretary, you typically need to:
- have a high school diploma or equivalent; and
- complete moderate-term, on-the-job training.
Education after high school
Legal secretaries must have at least a high school diploma and some office training. Most legal secretaries have formal training beyond high school. Business schools, vocational schools, and community colleges offer one- and two-year programs. Two-year programs are often preferred by law firms.
You need basic office skills such as accounting, word processing, filing, and recordkeeping. In addition, you need excellent spelling, punctuation, and grammar. You also need to know legal terminology and law office procedures.
Some people prepare for this occupation through work experience. You can work your way up through clerical jobs at legal offices, learning new skills at each one. Eventually, you have enough knowledge to move into a secretarial position.
New graduates may work under the guidance of experienced legal secretaries or paralegals. You work independently and on more difficult tasks as you gain knowledge and experience.
Because of the fast changing nature of this field, employers may offer training in the newest office technologies and software. They may also train you on their particular policies and methods of handling cases and files. Training may last several months, up to one year.