There are many avenues you can go down to secure a job as a Legal Secretary. You can register on a jobs website such as ILSPA’s Legal Secretary Jobs Board and apply for positions, you can register with a recruitment agency to find a suitable role, or you can contact law firms and send a speculative application. The latter option can be a much more direct and quicker route to getting a job.
Law firms do not always advertise their vacancies through recruitment agencies, as it can be expensive for them to do so. Sometimes, they advertise vacancies through their websites or invite speculative applications for any positions that might come up. Once they receive your application, they can keep it on file in case a Legal Secretary vacancy arises in the firm. Sometimes there is a current vacancy and your application arrives at just the right time! Having your application on hand means that you will be one of the first candidates to be considered for the role if your skills match the job criteria.
In sending a speculative application, you are showing a potential employer that you are assertive, proactive and confident. Many of our students have successfully secured employment this way. You can research the firms you would like to work at and send them a covering letter together with your CV, either through the post or by email. We recommend sending your application through the post, as a letter will always be opened whereas an email could be overlooked or deleted. If you live in London, you could send an application to one of the magic circle firms such as Linklaters, Allen & Overy or Clifford Chance, as they employ a lot of staff and will always be on the lookout for good Legal Secretaries. Consider the type of firm you would like to work for – would you prefer a large and busy environment or a quieter office where you can work with a smaller team? There are lots of fantastic smaller firms. Sending your application to a firm with only a few employees can also prove to be effective, as it is sure to be noticed.
Your covering letter should be tailored for each individual firm to show that you have done your research and have a genuine interest in that firm. Your letter should explain how you will benefit the firm and the key strengths you can bring to the table. When creating your CV, you should highlight the skills and experience relevant for the role and ensure that it catches the firm’s attention. When we help our members with their CVs, we often find that they are too generic and not tailored for a Legal Secretary role. ILSPA provides some excellent advice on how to write covering letters and improve your CV. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like help with this. It will make all the difference in securing your dream role.
Sometimes firms are very busy and may not get round to responding to you. If you have sent a speculative application and have not heard from anyone after two weeks, you can take the initiative and call to make sure they have received it. This shows again that you are confident and serious about securing a Legal Secretary position with the firm. Good luck!