What is the difference between a PA and a Legal Secretary

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July 31, 2014
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A lot of people looking  to plan their careers have a vague understanding that they would like to be a legal secretary but do not really know what the role involves.

Some people think it is probably a fairly standard secretarial job which happens to exist in a legal firm; others feel the job may be an incredibly complex job that requires years of experience.

What is the difference between a PA and a Legal Secretary Legal Secretary Courses

The actual position is that  the job will require all the normal functions of a secretary or PA in a non legal firm whilst additionally requiring an understanding of specialised document presentation techniques.

The specialised knowledge can be learnt through on the job training; however many firms will prefer to hire people with these skills in place so that a new employee merely has to adapt to the  unique requirement of each individual firm.

In most businesses there are totally standardised document  and template usage protocols, but as each legal firm has evolved from unique individual backgrounds, each firm will have its own ultimate range of operating procedures and precedent libraries so that  a legal secretary will need to adapt to these whenever moving between firms.

The difference between a PA and a Legal Secretary

There is a way round this and this can be through training. There are a variety of courses available for people looking to train as legal secretaries.

Some courses will set out to teach the law in some detail with little attention to document production.
This training can be very interesting and the courses  are enjoyable for those interested in learning about the law. Unfortunately the legal profession requires its lawyers to be well trained in all aspects of the law but generally will not require secretaries to have training in the law itself. The secretarial function is about totally accurate and attractive production of legal documentation.

What is the difference between a PA and a Legal Secretary Legal Secretary Courses
Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and author stockimages

For those seriously looking to apply themselves in the secretarial area of a legal firm a different type of course should be sought after.

The course should aim to provide a knowledge of the functions of the various departments within a law firm and then give practical training in the physical production of documentation related to each respective specialised department (e.g. conveyancing, litigation, commercial law etc.).

There are some short courses available in this and some which take longer. The highly recognised training in this area is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx)

Now that you know the difference between a PA and a Legal Secretary, you can find out more about CILEx Legal Secretary Training go to www.souterstraining.com/ilex-courses

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