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How to Become a Legal Secretary Online

Dec 12, 2019

Legal secretaries prepare and file legal documents and keep attorneys organized and aware of their schedules. Discover more about the legal secretary career, and find steps you can take online to help you become a legal secretary yourself.

Legal Secretary Career Information

Legal secretaries perform secretarial tasks for lawyers and legal offices. Tasks can include taking and screening calls from clients, taking the information of potential clients, filing court documents, scheduling appointments, keeping lawyers on schedule in terms of appointments and court appearances, and more. There are a number of paths that can prepare you to become a legal secretary, and different offices will have different requirements and preferences for hiring, but this career can be prepared for using online resources without too much difficulty.

Required Skills Organizational skills, communication skills, eye for detail, legal knowledge
Job Growth (2018-2028) -21%*
Median Salary (2018) $46,360*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Steps for Becoming a Legal Secretary Online

Legal secretaries need to be proficient in standard office software, such as Word and Excel, as well as have knowledge of legal terminology and the processes and documents used in a law office. It's possible to gain skills in these areas via online resources.

Step 1: Study the Software

Being skilled in office software is a common requirement for working as a legal secretary. You will likely need to utilize programs for writing documents, organizing information, filing, and more in this role. Building proficiency in these programs is therefore the first step in qualifying yourself for a legal secretary career.

There are many online options for learning these programs. Online video tutorials are available to cover everything from basic overviews to advanced tasks and shortcuts. Watching and following along with these videos can help you gain confidence in these programs and give you the skills you need to work as a legal secretary. Microsoft even offers its own training and tips on software and programs such as Word, Excel, and Outlook.

Step 2: Consider a Formal Education Program

Having a working knowledge of the legal system, legal terminology, and criminal procedures can be required to begin working as a legal secretary. There are a number of legal secretary professional development and certificate programs that can be completed entirely online. Students in these programs can learn about legal terminology, law office management, legal procedures, and ethics. Lessons may also cover specific documents and communications, such as those related to discovery, notices, pleas, etc. These programs are often divided into distinct lessons or modules, and some programs can be completed in as little as six or seven weeks.

Step 3: Complete On-the-Job Training

Legal secretaries may also learn many of their skills through on-the-job training. During this process, they can learn about the inner workings and procedures unique to their specific legal office or employer. Training as a legal secretary can last several months as you learn about the administrative responsibilities, associated terminologies and concepts, and methods of procedure.

Step 4: Earn Certification

After completing all training, legal secretaries could consider earning professional certification from the National Association of Legal Secretaries (NALS). The Accredited Legal Professional (ALP) designation is for entry-level professionals, and the Professional Legal Secretary (PLS) credential is available to those with three years or more of work experience. Earning certification requires passing an exam, which is offered online. You can also prepare for the exam online as well as take practice exams that will prepare you for test day.

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