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Anyone here a legal secretary ? What's the profession like ?

(84 Posts)
bringmeashrubbery Wed 31-Jan-07 11:28:07

Just wondered if anyone has legal secretary experience. How did you get into it ? Is i t worth taking a qualification ? What's the pay like ? Is it a good profession ?

So many questions !

Kbear Wed 31-Jan-07 22:26:37

Used to be. Trained at college then got a job in a law firm in London but you can cross train from other fields. GOOD PAY, HARD WORK, in big firms usually lots of overtime but depends on the dept and the boss, some law firms give bonuses (mine doesn't!) but pay rises are pretty good. Are you in London?

bringmeashrubbery Thu 01-Feb-07 12:20:21

Hello KBear. I'm in Sussex but London is commutable - just about. I think that's where the top salaries seem to be. What qualifications did you get ?

ItsMeMellowma Thu 01-Feb-07 12:32:50

I worked as a Legal Secretary for a year. I enjoyed it thoroughly but it was hard work as I had no qualification in Legal work but had thought it would be a breeze...

Unfortunately the Lawyer I worked for was also an alcoholic so perhaps thats why I found his dictation very difficult to understand.

I used to work quite a lot of nights too.

Good money...probably the richest I have ever been

bringmeashrubbery Thu 01-Feb-07 13:14:09

Mellowma - the ££££ are flashing before my eyes, which is why I am considering it...not sure about the hard work though

frenchleave Thu 01-Feb-07 13:23:28

My sis is a legal sec and said the pay is only any good in central London (she works in the city). She's there now and doing ok, but she finds it really dull. It pays the mortgage and funds her travelling habit, but that's it. She's looking for a more satisfying career. How hard she works depends entirely on the boss - she's been bored out of her mind at times.

frenchleave Thu 01-Feb-07 13:24:30

Sorry that sounds so negative! I'm sure there are plenty of legal secs out there who love their jobs

fishie Thu 01-Feb-07 13:28:07

i was (a very long time ago) and did a lot of temping too. many solicitors are really horrible to their secretaries and save their especial nastiness for temps. partly why higher pay i suppose, stops you walking out! legal executive would be better.

Kbear Thu 01-Feb-07 19:58:32

I got a raft of exams at college but secretarial experience is what will get you in the door now.

It is well paid but the hours can be long and I've worked all night many times but big firms have night staff now so that's not the norm any more. The big firms have good benefits too, health care etc. You will have a long commute tho. How about looking at your nearest big town. Some of the medium sized firms are out of town. Look on Legal 500.

bringmeashrubbery Thu 01-Feb-07 21:27:42

KBear I used to commute up to London but would prefer not to, tbh. Might be an idea to look locally - nearest town is Brighton. I have been an Exec Assistant/Officer and have plenty of admin experience so was thinking of maybe doing a diploma or something to make the crossover easier. Just thoughts at this stage though.

expatinscotland Thu 01-Feb-07 21:40:31

I did this for years. Straight out of uni. Got lured in by the money.

There's no way I'd do it now with young children, though, because the hours were long and there was a lot of drop of the hat overtime.

And that was in every field I worked in - criminal, banking and securities, employment.

I've worked for some real tyrants, too. In fact, my current boss could give some of these people a run for their money - so bossy and schoolmistressy and persnickety and nit picky and the only way to do it right is their way.

At the end, I felt like I was working the lawyer's hours and working just as hard, but w/o the huge pay.

No, thanks!

anothernametoday Thu 01-Feb-07 21:46:08

I used to do it. Good money as mentioned and i did a packet of overtime. Good benefits with big firms private healthcare, gym, pension, on-site doctor, subsidised restaurant etc etc.

BUT i was in a top 'magic circle' firm and most of the lawyers were so up their own arseholes. So as long as you don't mind being looked down on for being a secretary.
I also found it dull and not challenging just churning out paper and amending big, big documents for people. Thats why I left.

Try looking at
Linklaters & Alliance
Clifford Chance
Allen & Overy

These are the magic circle firms. Some run trainee sec programs. Or did anyway.

expatinscotland Thu 01-Feb-07 21:49:13

Sounds like you and I worked for the same first, anothername . I can relate.

expatinscotland Thu 01-Feb-07 21:49:31

firms, that is!

MrsSpoon Thu 01-Feb-07 22:04:04

I got into Legal Secretary work from leaving School purely by chance, I was just looking for any office job. Started as a junior and did a day release course at Glasgow University (this was fab, great day out, used to fit in a bit of shopping, grab a sandwich to eat on the train on the way back to the office ).

I have worked for solicitors who specialise in accident claims, criminal work, family law, commercial work and conveyancing. Personally found criminal and family law most interesting.

However I have never seen the ££££'s, in fact my experience of the profession is that in comparison to other secretarial jobs a lot is expected of a legal secretary for less money.

Although I have noticed that the pay in Edinburgh is good and would imagine that London is even better.

Dinosaur Thu 01-Feb-07 22:07:21

I'm one of the up their own arsehole lawyers, so if you want a different perspective on it, do ask.

MrsSpoon Thu 01-Feb-07 22:20:01

ROFL Dino!

FWIW a good 50% of the lawyers I have worked for have been lovely.

Kbear Thu 01-Feb-07 22:48:53

Dinosaur - that cracked me up!!!!

I work for a city law firm and I have to say the trainees are the ones up their own arses. The lawyer I work with (female) is (and this is not an exaggeration) FANTASTIC.

shrub - have you thought about knowledge management/professional support within a law firm. It's on the up.

bringmeashrubbery Fri 02-Feb-07 08:41:09

Ta for all your replies - interesting to get the whole range of views. Dino - what are your experiences of legal secs - anyone up their own arsehole ?

KBear - what is knowledge management/professional support ?

bringmeashrubbery Fri 02-Feb-07 08:44:11

'I've worked for some real tyrants, too. In fact, my current boss could give some of these people a run for their money - so bossy and schoolmistressy and persnickety and nit picky and the only way to do it right is their way.

At the end, I felt like I was working the lawyer's hours and working just as hard, but w/o the huge pay.'

Expat - actually that sounds exactly like my old boss - non-lawyer btw. I should get on just fine...

Judy1234 Fri 02-Feb-07 08:47:43

D, i imagine they're just jealous they're not lawyers. So why would someone choose to do a secretarial qualification rather than qualify to be one of the lawyers they would otherwise work for? If you think it mgiht be the same hard work, same commute but for much less pay and status and no promotion prospects I don't understand the thought process behind taking the secretarial route rather than taking legal exams so you're employing the secretaries?

ItsMeMellowma Fri 02-Feb-07 08:49:31


bringmeashrubbery Fri 02-Feb-07 08:54:12

SOme people just don't have the same aptitude to become lawyers Xenia, otherwise we would all be doing it. Some people are better in 'support' roles - admittedly they should be classed as equally as important, some would say with comparable pay etc. I am sure without secretaries the whole system would fail !

ItsMeMellowma Fri 02-Feb-07 08:56:32


Hulababy Fri 02-Feb-07 09:03:16

DH treats his secretay and assistant, and nay temps they have in, VERY well! As do his collaegues. I know some of the secretaries at his place, they enjoy their work, complain about they pay (don't we all?) and are ahppy with their working relationships.

Not all lawyers are horrible you know! I know many (infact at a ball tonight with loads!) and they are all nice people. Yes, you get the odd one, but that's it - like anywhere where you work you get the odd nasty one.

DH is not in London though - maybe that is where all the nasties ones are???? (Also, out of London, although a big firm here, they don't have the long hours but also not the same high pay people have mentioned here)

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