Litigation Secretary Responsibilities

The litigation secretary is a position that is normally found in law firms. The legal secretary responsibilities comprise typing the legal documents, assisting in doing the research work, writing, giving legal advice, representing the client in court, determining the legal fees, etc. The individuals who are interested in gaining knowledge about the legal field and are comfortable handling the legal administrative type of work can surely opt for this career and become a litigation secretary. The professional in this field needs to provide the much needed support to the paralegals and litigation attorneys for the various cases that are filed in federal, state or local courts. Though their work primarily stresses on performing the secretarial duties, at times they may be required to do some paralegal work as well.

Key Responsibilities

The litigation secretary responsibilities are mostly of supportive type that include providing assistance to the attorneys and paralegals by helping them in managing the litigation discovery process. The litigation secretaries help in collection and protection of documents, review them, perform the related production tasks and make sure that all the relevant case filings are maintained. They maintain the discovery databases and do all the word processing duties like preparing the lengthy documents, briefs, etc. They coordinate with the litigation team members to carry out specific assignments. They are involved in scheduling the appointments, drafting the basic correspondence, preparing the documents required during the trials, and filing them electronically. The following points given below will be able to give you an exact idea on what are the core responsibilities that need to be handled by a litigation secretary:

  1. To be involved in the processing of incoming and outgoing mail and to organize and maintain the paper as well as electronic client files and keep them up to date
  2. To learn and maintain the knowledge of the attorney's practice as well as be knowledgeable about the clients' history
  3. To draft the complex legal documents and handle the relevant correspondence, documents, etc., and to anticipate the attorney's requirement for the same
  4. To manage and arrange the attorney's calenders, schedule appointments, meetings, travel, lunches either individually or as per the instructions given
  5. To assist in expense reimbursement by completing the internal accounting forms; to provide assistance by handling the delegated emergent and sensitive emails, calls, etc., that are received from the court personnel, clients and execute the required work in a responsible manner
  6. To assist the parelegals and attorneys in the management of their competing priorities and assume responsibility for the delegated work, and reschedule their work so that the commitments can be more effective

In addtion to the above mentioned points, the litigation secretary is responsible for coordinating and distributing the collateral materials, creating presentations in PowerPoint, etc., so that they can be presented during the client seminars. He/she tries to balance multiple priorities by taking into account its risk, urgency and importance. He/she develops and maintains well organized files of the clients as well as administrative and resource files.

The legal secretaries are involved in preparing the screening forms of various cases and arrange meetings between the client and the attorney. They may do some prior screening work and set up the case files and send the related documents to the client. They prepare the lists of witnesses, organize the evidences and create the relevant filing. They create, organize and index the pleadings of the relevant cases. They are also involved in the discovery process that includes requests, interrogatories, etc. They conduct mock trials and send reminders to the legal personnel and alert them on the deadlines. They proofread the legal documents and ensure that they comply with the rules and regulations of the court. The information is generated by formatting, transcribing, copying and transmitting text, inputting, retrieving data, etc. They may also be involved in transcribing the dictation as well as maintaining the docket systems and ordering the supplies as per the requirement. Thus, the duties are varied in nature, and it is definitely a pivotal position in the legal firm.

Essential Skills and Abilities

If you want to become a successful litigation secretary, then you must have at least some of the following skills:

  1. Should be a hardworking and proactive individual with the ability to handle multiple tasks and prioritize the time sensitive projects
  2. Should be able to communicate in an effective, tactful, professional and polished manner with people from all levels by phone, or email, or in person
  3. Should be able to organize, manage, and schedule work effectively, even when there are time constraints
  4. Should be punctual and reliable, with the ability to pay close attention to details and follow the given oral and written instructions
  5. Must possess knowledge of English usage, grammar, spelling, and punctuation, with drafting and correspondence skills, filing procedures, etc.

Educational Background

An associate degree or certificate program from a community college, trade school, or a four year college degree, or some prior on the job litigation training would be sufficient to be eligible to apply for this position. Proficiency in MS Word, Excel, and Outlook with good typing skills would be an added advantage.

Work Schedule

Flexibility to work for long hours is critical if you are aiming to be a litigation secretary. The litigation work is often stressful and may require the litigation secretaries to work overtime.

Salary Details

The competent litigation secretary can definitely earn a salary in the range close to $46,000, but may vary according to the individual's personal skills, knowledge, and experience in that particular field.

Career Prospects

The individuals who have had a successful track record that demonstrates their secretarial as well as the clerical support activities and are backed with the relevant qualifications will surely rise to higher positions.

Thus, if you are really passionate about the legal field, then handling the litigation secretary responsibilities would not be difficult and executing them in an efficient manner would make sure that your career progresses to greater heights.

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