Legal Secretaries have an important role in a legal office, providing administrative support to the Lawyers of the firm, and they are a vital part of the cooperative efforts of legal teams. Legal Secretaries need to have not only significant administrative and organisational skills, but also need familiarity with legal procedures and the law in general. Of course, the more specialised training a Legal Secretary has, the more valuable he or she is to the firm.
Salaries for Legal Secretaries can vary significantly, based both on the Legal Secretary’s skills and experience as well as the area where the Secretary’s firm is located. In London, a Legal Secretary’s starting salary could range from £18,000 per year to as much as £45,000 per year. Let’s look at what exactly causes this gap so that you can learn how to maximise your employability and potential earnings as a Legal Secretary.
Legal Secretary Positions
The specific nature of the job you apply for can have a big impact on your salary. If you start as a junior Legal Secretary, you’ll be earning at the lower end of the scale. Keep in mind that taking a lower-ranking position can earn you valuable experience, especially if the firm you’re working for is well-known, and that there will be opportunities for advancement down the line. The more experience you gain, the higher the salary you will be able to achieve.
The amount of specialised knowledge that you bring to the job can affect your salary, as the more knowledgeable and skilled you are, the more you’ll be worth right from the start. If you are largely unfamiliar with legal terms or the practice of law, the firm that hires you will have to spend time or money to train you so that you’ll be able to perform all of the tasks that they need you to do. Alternately, if you are already familiar with legal jargon and procedures, then you’ll likely secure a higher salary based on that alone. The Legal Secretaries Diploma provided by The Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs is hugely beneficial in this respect. A recognised qualification in the profession means you will be considered to be a competent Legal Secretary.
As with most professions, the prestige of the company will also determine how much it is willing to offer you as a Legal Secretary. If you’re hired as a Legal Secretary by a firm that’s part of the Magic Circle or one of the other large law firms in London such as Sidley Austin LLP, chances are you’ll earn more from the start than if you were hired by a small law office that few people have ever heard of. Certain firms like Sidley Austin LLP are known to pay their staff well and have good employee relationships. Prestigious firms make more money, so they can afford to invest in their staff and secure the best talent.
Increases over Time
Of course, it’s important to remember that this range refers primarily to starting salaries and doesn’t include raises, bonuses or other increases that you might experience over time. As you become more experienced and integral to the workings of the law firm, it is common to be awarded increases in salary as an incentive.