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Career and Education Opportunities for Legal Secretaries in Columbia, Maryland

Legal secretaries can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Columbia, Maryland area. Currently, 3,700 people work as legal secretaries in Maryland. This is expected to grow by 11% to 4,120 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 $41,440 per year on average in Maryland and about $19 hourly 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 Maryland earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Secretarial nationally.

There are two schools within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can study to be a legal secretary, among 109 schools of higher education total in the Columbia area. Legal secretaries usually hold an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, so you can expect to spend about two years studying 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 Columbia 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

The Community College of Baltimore County - Baltimore, MD

The Community College of Baltimore County, 7201 Rossville Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21237. The Community College of Baltimore County is a large college located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 20,673 students. The Community College of Baltimore County has a one to two year program in Legal Administrative Assistant/Secretary.

University of the District of Columbia - Washington, DC

University of the District of Columbia, 4200 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008. University of the District of Columbia is a medium sized university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 5,339 students. University of the District of Columbia has an associate's degree program in Legal Administrative Assistant/Secretary which graduated six students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Columbia, Maryland

Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland photo by Jeff Kubina

Columbia is located in Howard County, Maryland. It has a population of over 96,421. The cost of living index in Columbia, 100, is near the national average.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 59.0% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 28.7%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 49.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Atholton Seventh Day Adventist Church and Long Reach Interfaith Center are all churches located in Columbia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Columbia is home to the Symphony Woods Office Center and the Rivers Corporate Park as well as Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and Clarksville Environmental Area. Shopping centers in the area include Governor Century Plaza Shopping Center, Atholton Shopping Center and Owen Brown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from PFMG, Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Inn Columbia for temporary stays in the area.