The Difference Between Paralegal And Legal Secretary

Legal secretaries and paralegals are crucial additions to any law firm. Both roles provide support for lawyers when it comes to preparing cases and general administrative work. But what is the difference between them? This article will provide you with insight into the differences between a paralegal and a legal Secretary.

Paralegal And Legal Secretary: Responsibilities

Legal Secretary

Legal secretaries work in law firms to conduct administrative duties for lawyers. Their daily responsibilities include research,  transcribing interviews, preparing court forms and diary organisation. They also attend court and generally keep the office running smoothly.

Paralegal

Paralegals are involved in preparing cases, arguments and research that lawyers can present to their clients. Their work covers more legal aspects compared to legal secretaries. Paralegals also interview witnesses and write up documents in layman’s terms so that clients can understand them more easily.

Paralegal And Legal Secretary: Qualification

Legal Secretary

To qualify as a legal secretary, a C in GCSE English is needed. But, should you have a college course in law or IT, it will give you the upper hand when trying to land this job. The CILEx Legal Secretary training course will also be an advantage for individuals looking to apply to be a legal secretary because it provides essential training and procedures required to support law firms.

Paralegal

Paralegals require an undergraduate degree to qualify for this position. Even though it doesn’t have to be a law degree, it will be beneficial to have one. People can also pursue the Postgraduate paralegal diploma to excel further and make themselves more appealing to law firms.

Paralegal And Legal Secretary: Skills

The skills needed to do both jobs are similar because of the nature of the work they require. Those skills are:

Legal Secretary

  • IT Literacy: You will be required to manage documents such as wills and schedule court dates using a computer.
  • Organisation: You will be required to schedule meetings and arrangements with witnesses and clients.
  • Time management: You will help lawyers manage their schedules on a daily basis.
  • Interpersonal: You will also be the first point of contact for communication between the law firm and clients.

Paralegal

  • Research skills: You will have to research analytically and produce written content.  
  • Business acumen: You will need to be knowledgeable about the legal system as well as commercial awareness in order to be able to advise and support lawyers. 
  • Teamwork: You have to collaborate with other paralegals and lawyers in other departments at the law firm.

Paralegal And Legal Secretary: Career Progression

Legal Secretary

Nowadays, there are many job openings for legal secretaries. People can also pursue a legal secretary career as a way into a career as a paralegal.

Paralegal

Paralegals usually pursue solicitor training contracts in the law firm they are employed at. Becoming a paralegal before becoming a trainee gives you the upper hand because they will have existing legal skills practised throughout their job as a paralegal.

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