Salary and Benefits

July 14, 2008

Legal secretary

Pay: Beginning legal secretaries earn a median income of $38,595 in the Seattle area, and the most experienced, with at least seven years in the field, earned a median of $53,674, according to salary.com.

Demand: Employment of secretaries and administrative assistants is expected to increase about 9 percent, about an average rate, between 2006 and 2016. Opportunities should be best for applicants with knowledge of software applications and for experienced legal secretaries.

Need to know: Legal secretaries perform highly specialized work requiring knowledge of technical terminology and legal procedures. They prepare correspondence and legal papers such as summonses, complaints, motions, responses and subpoenas under the supervision of an attorney or a paralegal.

High-school graduates with basic office skills may qualify for entry-level positions. Other employers may prefer a college degree or career-training courses. Certification in this field, from the National Association of Legal Secretaries, or Legal Secretaries International, may be rewarded with a higher salary.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: www.stats.bls.gov/oco

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