What is a Legal Secretary?
as secretaries are every so often referred to as administrative assistants, some people make the error of questioning that felony assistants are legal secretaries. in truth, “prison assistant” is every other time period for “paralegal” according to the yankee bar association, the national expert paralegal institutions or even the legal guidelines in some states.
in its pointers for the utilization of paralegal services, the yank bar association (aba) notes that the phrases “paralegal” and “criminal assistant” are often used interchangeably. the aba gives the following definition:
a felony assistant or aparalegal is someone, qualified by using education, training or paintings experience who is hired or retained with the aid of a attorney, law workplace, enterprise, governmental employer or different entity and who performs specially delegated important legal work for which a legal professional is accountable.
many states talk to the aba’s definition of felony assistants/paralegals while crafting laws to control professional conduct or education and schooling requirements for paralegals. the countrywide professional corporations, such as the countrywide association of criminal assistants (nala), the countrywide federation of paralegal associations (nfpa) and the national affiliation of criminal secretaries (nals) verify the aba’s definition as nicely. whether or not employees are called a “felony assistant” or a “paralegal” seems to rely on which a part of the u . s . a . the employees stay.
Legal Secretaries: Are They Paralegals or Legal Assistants?
a key difference in the function of legal assistants/paralegals and legal secretaries is that felony assistants/paralegals perform important legal paintings. sizeable prison paintings calls for a depth of felony expertise and expertise of procedural regulation. it is work that attorneys would ought to perform themselves in the absence in their paralegals. in keeping with the nfpa, significant legal paintings calls for the subsequent: recognition, evaluation, corporation, evaluation, and communication of relevant records and legal standards.
such work requires schooling and schooling. in a few states educational and schooling requirements are formalized with certification requirements that have to be met earlier than are individual is considered qualified to perform substantial prison work as a prison assistant or paralegal. paralegals may also similarly their advancement through choosing to specialize inside their area, earn country wide certification and whole advanced ranges.
while prison secretaries also are critical to strolling regulation offices, their work isn’t of noticeable criminal nature. they are the administrative pressure behind the practice: dealing with documents, preserving calendars, scheduling appointments, getting ready documents, making journey arrangements, preserving records bases and taking notes during conferences, amongst other responsibilities. criminal secretaries aren’t legally required to fulfill schooling or education requirements and many have now not attended university. due to the fact their jobs do now not require the identical depth of felony know-how, criminal secretaries earn less than paralegals. however, persevering with education and specialization opportunities do exist in the subject.
irrespective of the professional definition, some individuals do use the time period “legal assistant” to explain their legal secretaries. this makes it essential for paralegal job candidates to be sure to clarify the responsibilities and expectancies of a role earlier than accepting it.
Legal Secretary Job Description
a felony secretary is an administrative assistant educated completely inside the discipline of law. through a comprehensive and specialized training program, criminal secretaries are proficient at dealing with all administrative obligations inside a regulation office or legal branch placing.
despite the fact that the terms felony secretary and paralegal are frequently interchanged with one another, these terms describe relatively distinct professions. a legal secretary serves in more of an clerical capability, typing, transcribing and filing, while a paralegal commonly assumes greater felony duty, regularly writing prison drafts and creating legal correspondence on behalf of the legal professional.
but, many felony secretaries cross on to become paralegals after acquiring an partner’s degree in paralegal studies and gaining expert certification.
Legal Secretary Job Functions
hired in a number of settings, inclusive of regulation companies and criminal departments inside personal agencies, coverage groups and real property firms, criminal secretaries may also carry out some of day by day obligations, consisting of:
- arranging for the delivery of legal paperwork
- typing correspondence and felony office work
- transcribing court docket court cases and different recorded meetings
- scheduling, coordinating and confirming courtroom dates, appointments, and meetings
- engaging in studies in criminal matters
in smaller regulation firms, it’s also commonplace for prison secretaries to also answer phones and greet clients.
prison secretaries ought to have first rate smartphone and computer abilities and must be capable of correctly carry out a number of routine responsibilities at a moments be aware:
- hold calendars and schedules for some of legal professionals
- broaden and preserve a complete and organized billing gadget
- make sure all billable hours are as it should be recorded
- understand the fundamentals of a number of court files, together with summons and subpoenas make tour preparations
- arrange for the filing of courtroom files
The Role of the Legal Secretary Within Law Offices and Practice Settings
similar to legal professionals and other regulation specialists, legal secretaries often focus on positive regions of law, along with own family law, settlement law, or will and estates. if a felony secretary focuses on trial law and works for a tribulation attorney, accompanying the lawyer to courtroom to take notes for the trial is likewise commonplace.
felony secretaries function relied on members of a law company, as they should make certain precision in their work; recognize strict confidentiality necessities; arrange, classify, and categorize mountains of office work related to complex cases; and navigate the often-complex legal and billing software.
a hit prison secretaries possess most of the same traits as paralegals or even legal professionals do, which includes:
- interest to element
- eager remark abilties
- splendid time management competencies
- strong organizational skills
- remarkable conversation abilities
further, criminal secretaries should possess fantastic judgment and make important decisions inside the scope of their duties on a day by day foundation.