A legal receptionist engages in the usual office duties such as answering calls and emails, and filing papers. Since receptionists undergo training on the job, formal education isn't mandatory. Receptionists and information clerks working in professional, scientific, and technical services—which includes law firms—earn an average salary of $27,160 per year.
Legal receptionists, sometimes called legal secretaries, assist lawyers and other legal aides in law firms. While performing a variety of general office and clerical duties, legal receptionists also assist attorneys in preparing and managing case files. Although specific legal knowledge is often not necessary for beginning legal receptionists, it may be beneficial for advancement. Individuals who wish to work in a customer-focused, legal environment might want to check this field out.
|Required Education||High school diploma or GED|
|Additional Skills||Knowledge of office machines and software; knowledge of legal terminology is recommended, but not always required|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||10% for all receptionists|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)*||$27,300 for all receptionists|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Legal Receptionist Job Description
Office professionals, such as legal receptionists, are often the first point of contact for clients who call or visit a law firm. Receptionists greet visitors and answer telephones, thus creating a welcoming, comfortable and professional environment. They often schedule appointments and inform lawyers of client arrivals.
Duties of a Legal Receptionist
Many of the job duties of a legal receptionist relate to gathering, managing and disseminating information to keep the law office running smoothly. These professionals often use office memos, e-mails, phone messages and faxes to facilitate information. Like secretaries and office administrators, they may also perform standard office tasks, such as filing and maintaining records, copying documents, scheduling appointments and answering questions for visitors. Accordingly, legal receptionists may need to be familiar with a variety of office machines and software programs, such as spreadsheets and word processors.
Legal receptionists may also operate a switchboard or multi-line phone system where they answer, screen and direct calls to the appropriate individual. Receptionists also manage, sort and distribute incoming mailings, deliveries, faxes and other communications, as well as facilitate the dispersal of outgoing communication.
Some legal receptionists may help attorneys create and file court documents through dictation or audio transcription. Law firms hiring receptionists and secretaries often expressed preference for individuals having some experience with legal terminology and a respect for confidentiality, according to September 2016 job postings on CareerBuilder.com.
Salary of a Legal Receptionist
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), receptionists and information clerks across all industries earned a median yearly salary of $27,300 in May 2015 (www.bls.gov). Most individuals in this occupation earned between $19,070 and $39,350 in May 2015, the BLS explained. Further, the BLS noted that receptionists may advance to higher-paying secretarial positions with a 4-year degree and proven job performance over several years. The BLS reported that the median annual wage for legal secretaries was $43,200 in May 2015.
Law firm receptionists should be generally familiar with legal procedures which they learn about during their training at work. Experience working in an office as well as organizational and interpersonal skills are essential for legal secretaries.