Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Pay For Legal Secretaries

A reader wants your input on how much a legal secretary in Las Vegas should be making? What other considerations do you take into account when deciding what to pay a secretary? Do you offer insurance as well? Any other perks that make up for a smaller paycheck?

Generally, how much per year should you pay a legal secretary?

17 comments:

  1. Entirely dependent on the individual's skill set and competence. The number is arbitrary without understanding what they bring to the table.

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  2. I just wanted to let you all know that I'm now an up and comer in the criminal defense world. I just received a letter saying that I've been selected as one of the 10 Best Nevada Criminal Attorneys! All I have to do is pay $270 for the right to advertise this honor. The only downside is that I don't actually practice criminal law...

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    1. You win the internets today

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    2. That's funny, cause I'm one of the Top 40 under 40 attorneys in this state. At the age of 43.

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  3. It also depends on the defined role of the legal secretary. I run a small firm with a paralegal and a "legal secretary." My legal secretary is basically just a glorified receptionist who also does some filing and collection work. I pay her on the low end of the spectrum, but that's because we can't afford to pay a huge salary for that job.

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  4. It should be dependent on the level of responsibility that secretary has. If they are responsible for keeping the attorneys happy and coordinated and can work self-directed they should be paid at the higher level. Glorified receptionists that copy and collate, answer the phone and do the lower level work should be paid at the lower level.

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  5. Agreed that it depends on what you're talking about. I see some firms that use "legal secretary" and "paralegal" interchangeably. As another commenter acknowledged, other firms give their receptionists the title of "legal secretary."

    I will say that my assistant at my last firm deserved at least $50-$60k, regardless of her title. She was better than most attorneys I deal with.

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  6. I think everyone has stated that it depends. It also depends on what you define as a "legal secretary" as I have had secretaries that do better work than paralegals and do more in depth work than someone who simply types letters, files court documents, takes messages, etc... If they can draft correspondence and it requires no changes, can provide medical summaries, review discovery, etc..., then they have a lot more value. We pay the low end secretaries $35,000 and high end people $65,000, with everyone else somewhere in between.

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    1. .... and that is why lawyers get in trouble so often: secretaries are expected to draft substantive legal correspondence that require no changes, summarize medical records in any meaningful way, and review discovery responses.

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    2. So the attorney should draft basic correspondence, summarize meds, and start the draft of discovery? If that is the case then lawyers do everything other than calendar and file pleadings. We have a legal secretary that was a nurse for 20 years, so she can't summarize meds?

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    3. 2:30 and 7:56 are describing tasks that should be done by a PARALEGAL. While there are a few secretaries who can handle that work, most that I have worked with cannot. Attorneys need to understand what each staff member is actually capable of doing and/or only hire and retain staff that are capable of the tasks you need to assign so you can focus on the big picture.

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    4. Here's the problem. There is no generally accepted certification for paralegals and the education necessary to get a certificate can range from an online course to two years. I have hired a lot of paralegals and the best paralegals have some post-college education and a whole lot of learning on the job from lawyers who know how to teach and supervise.

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  7. I think pay is 100% dependent on experience, work ethic, work product, etc. I know several paralegals in town that make more than attorneys and I know even more that don't make shit, probably because they suck.

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  8. Has anyone heard that Naqvi commercial voiced by Colin Cowheard? Things must be going pretty good over there.

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  9. The next poll should be: How much DO YOU PAY a legal secretary. Then we can see the difference between what they should be paid and what they are paid!

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    Replies
    1. I don't think most of the readers here know what their secretaries actually get paid.

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    2. No, but I know a lot of secretaries and paralegals read this blog and can provide that information. Myself included.

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