The Ultimate Guide to Hiring a Super Legal Secretary
Are you a busy attorney or legal office practice manager searching for a legal secretary who can keep your workflow seamless, productivity high, and your practice thriving? Finding the perfect legal secretary can be very beneficial for your law firm, but the wrong one could be a costly disaster.
Legal secretaries are different from paralegals. Paralegals create documents and do research – legal secretaries do not. But secretaries still need to understand the basics of law. They keep the office organized and make sure lawyers have what they need, keeping them on track.
So, how do you find the ideal legal secretary who will be the next superhero of your organization?
Legal Secretary vs. Paralegal: What’s the Difference?
Before covering the finer details for identifying a top-notch legal secretary, let’s clarify the distinction between legal secretaries vs. paralegals.
Legal secretaries handle secretarial and administrative duties and prepare legal documents without performing substantive legal work. On the other hand, paralegals, or legal assistants, work under a lawyer’s supervision to perform meaningful legal tasks, such as research and document creation.
Skills You Should Look for When Hiring a Legal Secretary
Legal secretaries are not just any administrative support professionals; they are a breed apart from paralegals or regular assistants.
While paralegals deal with legal work under an attorney’s supervision, legal secretaries focus on secretarial duties and preparing legal documents using precise legal terminology. Here’s a handy list of essential skills and traits to look for when hiring a legal secretary:
1. Outstanding Written Communication Skills
In the legal world, precise language is paramount. Your legal secretary must possess exceptional written communication skills to ensure that every document leaving their desk is flawlessly crafted.
Typos and formatting errors are unacceptable, so scrutinize their resume, cover letter, and any other correspondence for professionalism. For further insight, consider offering a spelling and grammar pre-employment test.
2. Top-Notch Organizational Skills
To keep your law firm running like a well-oiled machine, you need a highly organized legal secretary. Someone who can juggle filing deadlines, manage schedules, and avoid conflicts.
During the interview, ask behavioral questions to gauge their problem-solving abilities and sense of responsibility.
3. Unwavering Confidentiality
Trust and integrity are non-negotiable for legal secretaries. They handle sensitive information daily, so verify their trustworthiness through pre-hire testing, reference checks, and background searches.
4. Meticulous Attention to Detail
In the legal realm, even the smallest mistake can lead to disastrous consequences. Look for candidates who prioritize attention to detail throughout the hiring process.
5. Knowledge of Billing and Bookkeeping
While not accountants, legal secretaries should have fluency in billing and bookkeeping to ensure accurate logging of billable hours. Proficiency in spreadsheets and billing software is a plus.
6. Fluent in Legalese
Your legal secretary must be comfortable with industry terminology and possess the ability to spell legal terms correctly. Fluency in the language is crucial for proofreading and ensuring appropriate context. A legal office skills test is a savvy tool for uncovering these skills.
7. Basic Research Ability
Though not equivalent to paralegals, legal secretaries with research skills are highly sought-after. They can kickstart the research process or guide paralegals and attorneys in the right direction.
The Search for the Perfect Legal Secretary
When looking for the ideal legal secretary, it’s essential to create a list of must-have qualifications, experience, and skills. When sifting through resumes, look for qualifications like education and experience. Also, think about what personality traits matter for the job.
The next step is thorough screening and pre-employment testing to make an informed decision. Whether you run a solo practice or a large firm, this process will help you select the perfect candidate who will be a valuable asset to your organization.
Testing helps make sure they have the skills needed to succeed as a legal secretary. The right tests can show if they are truly qualified for things like:
- Keeping calendars and schedules
- Organizing documents
- Communicating professionally
- Learning legal software
- Handling confidential materials
With the help of test feedback, it’s easier to pick a great legal secretary who has all the must-have skills to keep the office running smoothly.
Hiring the Right Legal Secretary for Your Firm
While a legal secretary seems like an easy hire, law firms need a superstar who can save the day! Treat the hiring process with the same level of focus you would when filling a highly specialized role. The right candidate can elevate your law firm to new heights, while the wrong one could hinder your success.
Your Competitive Advantage
Why leave your law firm’s future to chance when pre-employment testing can uncover extraordinary candidates?
Pre-employment skills assessments help you recruit employees prepared to tackle organization, communication, and confidentiality successfully. Go beyond the resume to verify they have what it takes to triumph over tasks like billing, calendars, document perfection, and legalese fluency.
No more guessing if a candidate can go the distance. Experience the EmployTest advantage – with assessments that can accurately pinpoint the applicants who will boost your team. Try a free sample test to discover your competitive hiring edge today.