Do you want to work as a legal secretary? You can benefit from earning a legal secretary certificate.
Legal secretaries perform a variety of tasks in order to assist lawyers, such as organizing and maintaining files, conducting legal research and drafting official documents. Some of the duties legal secretaries are expected to carry out include investigating the facts surrounding a case; conducting research on laws, regulations and legal articles relevant to the case; organizing and presenting information gathered; keeping record of information relevant to cases or transactions in computer databases; writing reports that will help lawyers as they prepare for trials and other legal procedures; drafting correspondences and other documents; obtaining affidavits and other formal statements that may be used as evidence; and, assisting lawyers during trials.
These workers can find work in all types of organizations, but will be most useful in law firms, legal departments of private corporations and government agencies. Legal secretaries work long hours and usually work overtime to meet deadlines.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov), paralegals and legal assistants earned an average annual income of $46,680 in 2010. Employment of these professionals is expected to grow by 18 percent from 2010 to 2020.
Programs for Legal Secretaries
Legal secretary certificate programs last anywhere between two months to a year. Students will learn how to manage a legal office, write legal documents, conduct legal research and data processing. Other course topics may include civil investigation, litigation, business communication, insurance law, and estate probate, to name a few.
- Kaplan University offers an online legal secretary certificate program to prepare students to meet the needs of working in a law firm or legal department of a private corporation. Students are equipped with effective communication skills, and others that are necessary for working in a legal environment, such as conducting legal research, producing written legal correspondence, evaluating legal sources, document processing and using software applications. Courses include live seminars, discussion boards, and one-on-one instructor feedback. Kaplan University’s professors are legal practitioners with experience in legal services, law and policy.
- Both beginner and experienced legal secretaries who wish to improve their skills will benefit from the intensive program offered by The Center for Legal Studies. Students will learn a variety of topics including legal terminology; legal process; jurisdiction and venue; ethics; written communications including letters, pleadings, discovery, notices and motions; filing procedures, billing and accounting; time management; records management; an overview of commonly used word and data processing programs; legal research; memoranda preparation, and citation format. The certificate program is available in a variety of formats including live lecture, online, DVD, or text-only.
- The legal secretary certificate course offered at The University of Georgia is a 42-hour, seven-week intensive program geared towards beginning and experienced legal secretaries who want to improve their skills and work more efficiently in a legal environment. The certificate program includes topics in law office management, professionalism, database management and computers in the law office. The legal secretary certificate program is offered in partnership by the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education and the Center for Legal Studies.