Training could net legal secretaries a higher salary, says ILSPA
The Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs (ILSPA) has said that, although the salaries of legal secretaries can vary, the more specialised training a legal secretary has, the more valuable he or she is to a firm.
Salaries for legal secretaries can vary significantly, says ILSPA, 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 £20,000 per year, to as much as £45,000 per year,” the Institute advises.
“So, what exactly causes this difference and what warrants a higher paid salary?”
ILSPA says that the more experience legal secretaries gain, the higher the salary they can achieve.
“The specific nature of the job candidates apply for can have a big impact on their salary – if they start as a junior legal secretary, they will be earning at the lower end of the scale.”
However, ILSPA adds that taking “a lower-ranking position” can earn candidates valuable experience – especially if the firm they work for is well known and there will be “opportunities for advancement down the line”.
“The amount of specialised knowledge that candidates bring to the job can affect their salary, as the more knowledgeable and skilled they are, the more they will be worth right from the start.
“If candidates are largely unfamiliar with legal terms or the practice of law, the firm that hires them will have to spend time or money to train them so that they will be able to perform all of the tasks that they need you to do.
“Alternately, if they are already familiar with law and procedures, then they will likely secure a higher salary based on that alone,” says ILSPA.
The Institute offers The Legal Secretaries Diploma, which it says is very beneficial to gaining essential knowledge about the law and legal procedures.
“Gaining a recognised qualification in the profession means candidates will be competent legal secretaries,” says ILSPA.
Salary can also depend on the standing of the firm, as well as a legal secretary’s qualifications and experience.
“If a candidate is 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 they will earn more from the start than if they were hired by a small unknown legal practice.
“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,” the Institute advises.
The job of legal secretary will also attract bonuses and salary increments over time.
“As legal secretaries become more experienced and integral to the workings of the law firm, it is common to be awarded incentives to remain a strong part of the team,” says ILSPA.
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