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Career and Education Opportunities for Legal Secretaries in Chicago, Illinois

If you want to be a legal secretary, the Chicago, Illinois area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. Currently, 15,840 people work as legal secretaries in Illinois. This is expected to grow 13% to 17,840 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for legal secretaries, which sees this job pool growing by about 18.4% over the next eight years. Legal secretaries generally perform secretarial duties utilizing legal terminology, procedures, and documents.

A person working as a legal secretary can expect to earn about $19 per hour or $41,150 yearly on average in Illinois and about $19 per hour or $39,860 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Secretarial, people working as legal secretaries in Illinois earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Secretarial nationally.

There are five schools within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can study to be a legal secretary, among 180 schools of higher education total in the Chicago area. The most common level of education for legal secretaries is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree. It will take about two years to learn to be a legal secretary if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Legal Secretary

Legal Secretary video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, legal secretaries perform secretarial duties utilizing legal terminology, procedures, and documents. They also prepare legal papers and correspondence, such as summonses, complaints, and subpoenas.

Legal secretaries receive and place telephone calls. They also mail or manage delivery of legal correspondence to clients and court officials. Equally important, legal secretaries have to ready and process legal documents and papers, such as summonses and pretrial agreements. They are often called upon to make photocopies of correspondence and other printed matter. They are expected to schedule and make appointments. Finally, legal secretaries draft and type office memos.

Every day, legal secretaries are expected to be able to see details at a very fine level of focus. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they read and understand documents and reports.

It is important for legal secretaries to organize and maintain law libraries and case files. They are often called upon to attend legal meetings, such as client interviews or depositions, and take notes. They also complete various forms, such as accident reports, trial and courtroom requests, and applications for clients. Somewhat less frequently, legal secretaries are also expected to submit articles and data from searches to attorneys for review and approval for use.

They also have to be able to inspect legal publications and perform database searches to pinpoint laws and court decisions relevant to pending cases And finally, they sometimes have to complete various forms, such as accident reports, trial and courtroom requests, and applications for clients.

Like many other jobs, legal secretaries must be thorough and dependable and have exceptional integrity.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Administrative Assistant. Provide high-level administrative support by conducting research, preparing statistical reports, handling information requests, and performing clerical functions such as preparing correspondence, receiving visitors, arranging conference calls, and scheduling meetings. May also train and supervise lower-level clerical staff.
  • Correspondence Clerk. Compose letters in reply to requests for merchandise, damage claims, credit and other information, delinquent accounts, or unsatisfactory services. Duties may include gathering data to formulate reply and typing correspondence.
  • Courtroom Clerk. Perform clerical duties in court of law; prepare docket of cases to be called; secure information for judges; and contact witnesses, attorneys, and litigants to obtain information for court.
  • Medical Secretary. Perform secretarial duties utilizing specific knowledge of medical terminology and hospital, clinic, or laboratory procedures. Duties include scheduling appointments, billing patients, and compiling and recording medical charts, reports, and correspondence.
  • Office Clerk. Perform duties too varied and diverse to be classified in any specific office clerical occupation, requiring limited knowledge of office management systems and procedures. Clerical duties may be assigned in accordance with the office procedures of individual establishments and may include a combination of answering telephones, bookkeeping, typing or word processing, stenography, office machine operation, and filing.
  • Office Machine Operator. Operate one or more of a variety of office machines, such as photocopying, photographic, and duplicating machines, or other office machines.
  • Production Planner. Coordinate and expedite the flow of work and materials within or between departments of an establishment according to production schedule. Duties include reviewing and distributing production, work, and shipment schedules; conferring with department supervisors to determine progress of work and completion dates; and compiling reports on progress of work, inventory levels, and production problems.
  • Production Proofreader. Read transcript or proof type setup to detect and mark for correction any grammatical, typographical, or compositional errors.
  • Secretary. Perform routine clerical and administrative functions such as drafting correspondence, scheduling appointments, organizing and maintaining paper and electronic files, or providing information to callers.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Legal Secretary Training

Kaplan College-Merrillville - Merrillville, IN

Kaplan College-Merrillville, 3803 E Lincoln Hwy, Merrillville, IN 46410. Kaplan College-Merrillville is a small college located in Merrillville, Indiana. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 405 students. Kaplan College-Merrillville has an associate's degree program in Legal Administrative Assistant/Secretary.

MacCormac College - Chicago, IL

MacCormac College, 29 E. Madison, Chicago, IL 60602-4405. MacCormac College is a small college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 163 students. MacCormac College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Legal Administrative Assistant/Secretary.

Moraine Valley Community College - Palos Hills, IL

Moraine Valley Community College, 9000 W. College Parkway, Palos Hills, IL 60465-0937. Moraine Valley Community College is a large college located in Palos Hills, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 17,477 students. Moraine Valley Community College has a one to two year program in Legal Administrative Assistant/Secretary which graduated three students in 2008.

Harper College - Palatine, IL

Harper College, 1200 W Algonquin Rd, Palatine, IL 60067-7398. Harper College is a large college located in Palatine, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,250 students. Harper College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Legal Administrative Assistant/Secretary which graduated one and one students respectively in 2008.

Robert Morris College - Chicago, IL

Robert Morris College, 401 S State Street, Chicago, IL 60605. Robert Morris College is a small college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,555 students and an admission rate of 79%. Robert Morris College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Legal Administrative Assistant/Secretary.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.