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Legal Secretary 101 is designed not only for those who are already in the field and want to hone their skills in order to demand a higher income but also for those who wish to enter the field but are not sure where to start or what aspects of secretarial work are important to be hired by a good firm.
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There are numerous areas of law and a law office secretary might need to know about litigation law, divorce law, real estate or criminal law. This self-paced course will cover each prevalent area so that you might get a better idea of which is best for you to pursue. It will also tell you about what skills are vital for winning that prized position you're after, or making yourself more valuable to the attorney or firm you are currently working for.
There are twenty comprehensive lessons written in an easy to follow, informative manner. The end of each lesson will provide you with multiple summary review questions so that you may effectively test your new found knowledge. Your instructor is always available to answer questions through our Class Email system.
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The field of law for a secretary is one of the best positions to have in the world of office work. A good legal secretary will, quite frankly, never be out of work. It is a high paying job with many rewards and benefits. Salary ranges for legal secretaries can enter the three digit range in some parts of the world, particularly New York City. This course is designed both for those who are already in the field and want to hone their skills in order to demand a higher income and for those who wish to enter the field but are not sure where to start or what aspects of secretarial work are important to be hired by a good firm. While a legal secretary's job can often be quite demanding, it is rarely boring or uninteresting. You will always be busy and things often must move rather quickly at the spur of the moment. You can expect to work occasional weekends and evenings, but don't let that daunt you, as law offices are often generous with holiday time off (when courts are closed) and short work days when things are quiet. There are numerous areas of law that those in the profession may focus on whether it be litigation, divorce, real estate or criminal law. This course will cover each prevalent area so that you might get a better idea of which is best for you to pursue. It will also tell you about what skills are vital for winning that prized position you are after, or making yourself more valuable to the attorney or firm you are currently working for.
For those who lack experience, the trick is often getting your "foot in the door," this course will show you how. For those who have experience, it is often difficult to become "unstuck" and earn what you feel you deserve, this course will sharpen your skills so that you may either request a raise or be prepared to move on to another firm or sole practitioner who pays more.
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The Law Office Team: Roles, Purpose and Tasks (listed by hierarchy)
Partners: The owners of the firm are referred to as Equity Partners. In very large firms, those who are Equity Partners are called senior partners, they are smaller in number and retain controlling interest in the firm. Non-Equity or Jr. Partners may be larger in number and are paid a salary rather than sharing in the total profits that the firm brings in. Medium firms may have only one level of partnership consisting of two or three equity partners and no associates, while very small firms will have only one "owner" and one or more associates (see below).
Partners handle the most high-profile clients and demand a high billable rate per-hour. Senior partners are always the ultimate ruling body or individual within any firm and you should make it your business to ask (or find out yourself via the internet or research) who the senior partners are when interviewing for any legal secretary position.
Office Manager: Medium and large firms nearly always have an office manager on the payroll who is charged with the hiring and firing of all other employees (with the exception of partners); they are also responsible for overseeing the everyday operations of office functionality and a multitude of other tasks that would otherwise take time away from the partners' regular duties.
Ultimately, final say on hiring and firing lies with the senior partners; however, if there is a long standing relationship between the office manager and the senior partners they will, more often than not, take their managers opinion into serious consideration in most matters. If you are interviewing with an office manager before interviewing with a specific attorney, do not falsely assume that you need not make an impression on this person because you will not be working directly for them. They may very well be the individual who decides which partner or associate you will work for, (if multiple positions are open), how much money you will be offered, and if you will be hired at all.
Office managers usually answer only to partners, however, because, part of their salary is paid by hours billed by associate, they will take an associates input into consideration when making decisions.
IT or Computer Department Manager: This person largely takes care of insuring that all in-house computer hardware, software and peripherals are functioning properly. They oversee the ordering of new equipment, schedule repairs to existing equipment and insure that there is a well functioning back-up system in place. They are vital to the operation of a law office of any size, as without proper functioning of the offices network, serious problems (as you could well imagine) would occur.
This person usually answers directly to the office manager.
Associates: New or inexperienced attorneys and part-time practitioners of larger firms are called associates. Associates do not own part of the firm (they are considered non-equity) but have the potential of becoming a partner in the future. They deal with new or lower profile clients and charge lower fees than partners. They are not lacking in ability or education, rather they are not as "seasoned" as those who have been practicing law for an extended period of time or they may have some prior experience, but are new to the firm.
Other associates may be those with a great deal of experience, but they do not wish to work the excessive hours that are required to reach or maintain partnership level. These associates may keep their agenda to only several long-standing clients and only come to the office on a part-time/as needed basis.
Council, Special Council and Of Counsel Attorneys: All three of these are considered consultants to the firm they do business with. They will mostly be found providing specific legal guidance and input to larger firms on an "as-needed" basis. Their hours are billed directly to the firm they consult for and they are not usually added to the payroll.
Law Clerks: Law clerks work directly with partners and associates providing research and assisting with various legal document and case preparation. They work part-time or during summer breaks as they are usually law students who are attending classes full-time. Clerks may also be recently graduated law students who have not yet taken or passed their bar exam. Law clerks may work for judges. Future associates are often hired from the pool of law clerks that work for a particular firm while earning their law degree.
Paralegal/Legal Assistant: A paralegal has specialized training but is a non-attorney. They work under the supervision of and directly with partners, associates and clerks. Paralegals have many job duties, including drafting motions and subpoenas, document review, and filing papers with courts. Paralegals have traditionally dealt more with procedural law than with substantive law.
Legal Secretary: Most attorneys would admit that without a competent legal secretary they would not be able to do their jobs properly. Attorneys count on their secretaries to take care of important matters as well as small matters so that they may attend to consultations with clients, court appearances and the planning of legal strategy, defense or best course of action.
The legal secretary may have more responsibility if she has been working with a particular lawyer for a long time, or if she or he is very experienced or has the knowledge required to take on certain tasks. While most legal secretaries primarily make appointments, prepare documentation, send important correspondence, file, keep track of ongoing correspondence and paperwork, and deal with clients on a daily basis, some also act as paralegals. Legal secretaries usually answer directly to the attorney or attorneys they work for and experience little or no interference from the office manager or partners unless there is a particular problem or situation that needs to be addressed.
Receptionist: The receptionist is the first person anyone coming into the office meets. They greet clients and other visitors; they take care of incoming and outgoing mail, deal with package pick-up and receipts, and they answer and transfer all incoming calls to the main office line. They may also keep track of visitor's incoming and outgoing time and their reason for visiting by keeping a log book, handle general inquiries about the office, and walk visitors into the main office area. They usually answer directly to the office manager.
Data Entry Clerks: These positions are often part-time and require the inputting of certain data into the main computer system as needed. Those who act as data entry clerks in a law firm usually answer to the IT manager or the office manager.
By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
- Describe the law office team.
- Describe the legal secretary's duties and great tools for accomplishing them.
- Summarize essential information.
- Describe how to properly file, store, and retrieve Client Files.
- Describe legal documentation process.
- Describe client contact guidelines.
- Describe basic organization guidelines.
- Summarize procedures for dealing with legal and business correspondence.
- Describe procedures for handling important legal documents.
- Describe legal document preparation.
- Describe wills and power of attorney procedures.
- Describe real estate law procedures.
- Describe law office equipment and supplies.
- Describe dealing with office politics, and
- Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.
Lesson 1: The Law Office TeamIn order for a law office to operate efficiently, a team of qualified professionals must be present and working together toward a common goal.
Lesson 2: The Legal Secretary's Duties and Great Tools for Accomplishing ThemA legal secretary's duties may include preparing documentation, filing, scheduling appointments, and dealing with clients on a daily basis; however, there is much more to the job than that.
Lesson 3: Essential Information: Large, Medium, Small, and Sole Practitioner FirmsMany law offices, no matter the size, will have some similarities. However, there is a great deal of difference in the manner of doing business from one size firm to another. These guidelines will point out how different sized offices work and how they d
Lesson 4: The ComputerNo matter what type or size firm you want to work for, you will have to have a specific set of computer skills before you will be hired anywhere. If you have already been working for a small firm and desire to move up or to a larger firm, these skills ap
Lesson 5: Client FilesMost firms will devote a large portion of their office space to client files; after a brief period of working in a law office, you will quickly learn why. Paperwork collects rather quickly in the field of law. Letters, briefs, interrogatories, mot
Lesson 6: Legal DocumentationThere are a multitude of legal forms, and it is beyond the scope of this course to include them all; however, we have included a sample of a basic format of a Motion to Dismiss, along with a sample of what the cover letter for such a document would lo
Lesson 7: Client Contact GuidelinesWhile the receptionist of larger or medium-sized firms may be the first person a client or visitor meets, the secretary is nearly always the liaison between attorney and client. In many cases, you will find yourself in direct contact with the client quite
Lesson 8: Basic Organization GuidelinesWith the excessive amounts of paperwork involved in the practice of law, it is vital to keep things in order as you work.
Lesson 9: Legal and Business CorrespondenceThe most common method of getting data from your attorney to secretary, in most offices, is via the use of a transcription device.
Lesson 10: Indispensable Legal Secretary AidsThere are several other tools that you will find to be indispensable in getting the job done quickly and accurately. This lesson describes these tools in greater detail and gives you some tips on using them properly.
Lesson 11: Important Legal DocumentsWhile you will see a multitude of legal documents in your career as a legal secretary, there are a few that are used often in the majority of settings and offices. This lesson will introduce you to those that are frequently used, sometimes on a dail
Lesson 12: Legal Document PreparationIn addition to typing documentation, preparing it for sending is a large part of a legal secretary's position.
Lesson 13: Becoming a Notary PublicMany legal documents must be notarized, and there are usually one or more persons who work in a law office who are certified to notarize documents.
Lesson 14: Wills and Power of AttorneyThis lesson will cover some of the basics of wills and powers of attorney.
Lesson 15: Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, and Incorporation FormationWhile partnerships and sole proprietorships may be created without the assistance of an attorney, incorporation formation is rarely done without legal assistance.
Lesson 16: Real Estate LawBecause real estate law is such a major part of legal work, this lesson covers basic information on the subject and offers frequently encountered terminology found within the specialization.
Lesson 17: Law Office Equipment and SuppliesMost of the equipment and supplies discussed in this lesson are common for all offices; however, there are some that are specific to law offices.
Lesson 18: Office PoliticsThis lesson will give you some insight into potential political issues that may arise within a law office and how best to handle them.
Lesson 19: Electronic ResearchResearch is such a large part of legal work that this lesson is devoted to the use of electronic research exclusively.
Lesson 20: Basic Legal Terminology GlossaryThis lesson provides some basic definitions of common terms and words that you will encounter on the job.
|Course Title ||: ||Legal Secretary 101 |
|CEU Value ||: || |
|Standard ||: || |
Course Adheres to the ANSI/IACET 1-2007 Standard
|Accreditation ||: || |
|Languages ||: ||English - United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and other English speaking countries |
|Course Number ||: ||7550015 |
|Course Type ||: ||Professional Development |
|Course URL ||: || |
|Course Rating ||: || |
|Instructor ||: || |
UniversalClass Staff Instructor
|Syllabus ||: || |
|Grading Policy ||: || |
Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive a CEU Certificate documenting CEUs earned
|Assessment Method ||: || |
Lesson assignments and review exams
|Duration ||: ||Continuous: Enroll anytime! |
|Requirements ||: ||View Technical Requirements |
|Course Fee ||: || |
Basic Course: $55.00 (no CEU Certificate)
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- "I like the fact that it is totally thorough." -- Azile R.
- "Congratulations for a job well planned and done. It has been a pleasure for me to be part of your class. Thanks for the encouragement and support." -- Elizabeth L. J. L.
- "The entire course was very helpful in a very compelling way and I loved it all....I would encourage the instructor to continuing her hard work to reach out to those who will use their ability to make this course successful as it has been." -- Richard C.
- "I enjoyed this course very much. The information was invaluable, the instructor was easy to talk to and seemed very informed in information. Even though I am still a Front Desk Receptionist and am not really using the information on a daily basis right now, it will be valuable to have taken this course as I continue to study in preparation to becoming a Legal Secretary. This course has really helped me become familiar with the law office setting and has helped me be able to understand the legal office and it's functions.
" -- Jean C.
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