Legal secretaries who specialize in civil litigation assist attorneys and paralegals with preparing and fact-checking cases. Although professionals may only need a high school diploma to find employment, additional legal training is often necessary. Certification is voluntary, but it may improve your chances of getting a job.
Civil litigation secretaries provide administrative and case-related support to attorneys and other legal professionals. Most civil litigation secretary jobs require a high school diploma and may require a degree in legal assistance or a legal secretary certification.
|Required Education||High school diploma as minimum requirement; additional training in legal terminology and related fields may be preferred|
|Other Requirements||Certification as a legal secretary may be beneficial; knowledge of court processes, grammar skills and professionalism are essential|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||-4%* (for legal secretaries)|
|Median Salary (2015)||$43,200* (for all legal secretaries)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Career Information for Civil Litigation Secretaries
Civil litigation secretaries are legal secretaries who assist attorneys who specialize in civil lawsuits. Their job includes typing and proofreading a variety of legal documents including subpoenas, motions, appeals, complaints and summonses. In some cases a civil litigation secretary may also provide legal research support. Administrative tasks, often a large portion of the job, include file organization, appointment scheduling, client invoicing and correspondence preparation.
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Requirements to Become a Civil Litigation Secretary
A high school diploma is the minimum requirement for a civil litigation secretary. In many instances, additional training or coursework may be preferred, and can be acquired through undergraduate degree programs or vocational training programs. Additional training should include courses in legal terminology, legal proceedings and court rules for civil procedures.
Although certification is not always required, those who earn it may have a better chance of getting hired. Certification is offered through several trade organizations, including the National Association of Legal Secretaries (NALS) and Legal Secretaries International, Inc. NALS offers an Accredited Legal Professional (ALP) certification. Legal Secretaries International, Inc. offers a Certified Legal Secretary Specialist (CLSS) certificate in various areas of specialty, including civil litigation.
A civil litigation secretary must possess strong time-management skills and knowledge of court process and procedures to be able to prioritize tasks to meet court deadlines. Legal secretaries should be detail-oriented to ensure legal documents are mistake-free. Professionalism and good spoken and written grammar are also essential.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2015, legal secretaries earned an annual median salary of $43,200. Although the BLS cited an average employment growth of three percent for secretaries in general, legal secretaries were projected to see a four percent decline from 2014-2024.
Legal secretaries who choose to specialize in civil cases are usually referred to as civil litigation secretaries. These professionals need a broad knowledge of legal terminology, related documents, the court system, and due process. Industry certification and additional training may help job candidates stand out in the crowd, although this profession is expected to experience a decline in available positions during the 2014-2024 decade, per the BLS.