Legal secretary

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would help to run a legal services or law firm to give people high quality legal services. You’d provide high level administrative support to lawyers and legal executives .

You’d keep the office running smoothly, make sure the lawyers are organised and help with some legal and court procedures. You’d deal with customers and handle their confidential information. The office will be busy so you’d need to cope with several tasks at once. 

Depending on what department you work in, you would:

  • Produce letters and legal documents such as wills, contracts and court papers
  • Work from notes and digital dictation
  • Answer telephone calls in a professional manner
  • Deal with enquiries from clients via email, fax and letter
  • Use a diary management system and make appointments
  • Prepare court forms and statements
  • Keep records of costs and controlling petty cash
  • Deal with fee processes
  • Attend court or police cells
  • Deliver and collect documents
  • Do copying, scanning and faxing, including preparation of large files
  • Do filing and other general administration work

If you work in a small local law firm, you would develop experience in a wide range of legal matters, whilst in larger firms you would tend to specialise in a particular area of law.

Working conditions

Hours

In a full-time job you would typically work standard office hours, Monday to Friday, though late working may be required at busy times. Part-time and temporary work is also often available.

Environment

You would be mainly office-based. A high standard of personal presentation would be required.

Travel

You might also travel around your local area to deliver documents, visit police stations or attend court.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

People behind the job

Meet real people who’ve done this job – hear their stories and the path they took to get there.

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Working as part of a team
  • Helping customers
  • Communicating ideas through writing
  • Working on your own
  • Accuracy
  • Using computers
  • Planning and organising
  • Time management
  • Paying attention to detail

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on Apprenticeships.scot.

Qualifications

Although there is no set route into the role, employers may ask for some subjects at National 4 or 5 (SCQF level 4/5) including English. 

There are also many different courses which will increase your skills and knowledge in this area: a Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8); a degree (SCQF level 9/10) in administration or business; or relevant work-based experience and qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Court and Tribunal Operations (SVQ level 2/3) or Paralegal Practices (SVQ level 3).  

Entry requirements for a National Qualification course or Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) range from no qualifications to four subjects at National 5 level.

Entry requirements for Higher National Certificate or Higher National Diploma courses are one to two Highers. Entry to a degree courses usually requires National 5 qualifications and three to five Highers or a relevant HNC/HND qualification.

Useful subjects

  • English (required by most courses and employers)
  • Maths
  • Business
  • ICT subjects
  • Numerate or administrative subjects

Helpful to have

Any qualifications that demonstrate understanding of the law and the ability to gather organise and present information such as BTEC Diploma in Public Services will be welcome.

Relevant work-based experience and qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualifications in Business and Administration (SVQ level 3 /4 /5) may also be of value.