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NOC Code: NOC Code: 1242 Occupation: Legal Secretaries
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
Legal secretaries perform a variety of secretarial and administrative duties in law offices, legal departments of large firms, real estate companies, land title offices, municipal, provincial and federal courts and government. Legal secretaries perform a variety of secretarial and administrative duties in law offices, legal departments of large firms, real estate companies, land title offices, municipal, provincial and federal courts and government.

  • Click on any of the Essential Skills to view sample workplace tasks for this occupation.
  • Skill levels are assigned to tasks: Level 1 tasks are the least complex and level 4 or 5 tasks (depending upon the specific skill) are the most complex. Skill levels are associated with workplace tasks and not the workers performing these tasks.
  • Scroll down the page to get information on career planning, education and training, and employment and volunteer opportunities.

Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Text Reading Text 1 2 3 4
Writing Writing 1 2 3
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3
Computer Use Computer Use 1 2 3
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2
Money Math Money Math 1 2 3
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting 1 2 3
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1 2
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2
Decision Making Decision Making 1
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2
Critical Thinking Critical Thinking 1 2


  • The skill levels represented in the above chart illustrate the full range of sample tasks performed by experienced workers and not individuals preparing for or entering this occupation for the first time.
  • Note that some occupational profiles do not include all Numeracy and Thinking Essential Skills.

If you would like to print a copy of the chart and sample tasks, click on the "Print Occupational Profile" button at the top of the page.


Reading Text
  • Read notes from co-workers. For example, legal secretaries in law offices read notes from lawyers to identify work requirements and determine task priorities. (1)
  • Read letters from lawyers' clients and from customers of real estate offices and other businesses. For example, legal secretaries in real estate offices skim incoming letters and documents to identify topics. (2)
  • Read legal documents such as contracts, agreements, statements of claim, legal motions and affidavits. Skim these documents to gain an understanding of the contents and to find information about current files. Review final drafts of records you prepare to verify that they are accurate and that they conform to legal standards. (3)
  • Read procedural manuals and rules. For example, litigation secretaries may look up information in Rules of Court or in Forms and Rules of Civil Procedure. They read these rules to learn about legal processes and the procedures for preparing legal documents. (3)
  • Read legislation, regulations and legal opinions to find information relevant to cases. For example, legal secretaries working in government may scan municipal codes to find by-laws concerning construction liens. Litigation secretaries working in insurance firms may read their firms' legal opinions regarding personal injury claims. They read to identify texts that should be included and referenced in legal records prepared for these matters. (4)
  • Read notices and instruction sheets from financial, legal and government bodies. For example, legal secretaries may read government notices outlining changes to tax filing procedures. Legal secretaries working in real estate offices may read instructions issued by banks to understand how to process purchase agreements and complete necessary forms. (4)
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Writing
  • Write reminders and short notes to co-workers. For example, write reminders about job tasks in daybooks and calendars. Legal secretaries in corporate law offices write notes to lawyers in which they summarize the contents of discussions with clients. (1)
  • Write memos to co-workers. For example, legal secretaries working in large firms may write memos to workers in accounting departments to request changes to clients' billing information. (2)
  • Write email to co-workers, clients, customers and service providers such as court clerks and bank employees. For example, write to clients to arrange meetings and confirm contact information. Write to clients' legal secretaries to arrange for signatures on documents and to bank employees to request changes to financial records. (2)
  • Prepare meeting minutes. Write minutes of meetings to summarize discussions, record decisions made and note items that require follow-up. (2)
  • Write letters. For example, write cover letters to accompany files and letters to request payments from clients. (3)
  • Write sections of documents such as legal briefs and contracts. Revise standard clauses, terms and conditions as directed by lawyers. (3)
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Document Use
  • Locate data on labels. For example, scan file folder labels for names, dates and file numbers. (1)
  • Scan lists and tables to find data. For example, legal secretaries working on commercial transactions may scan bank statements to find details of financial transactions. Litigation secretaries scan lists to find court and filing dates. (1)
  • Complete entry forms to order supplies, request services or record expenses. For example, complete forms to arrange for printing services and to submit lawyers' expense claims. (2)
  • Enter data into lists, tables and schedules. For example, enter dates and times for meetings into agendas and calendars. (2)
  • Locate names, dates, amounts and other data in entry forms. For example, legal secretaries may review invoices and lawyers' billing records to verify their accuracy. They skim completed contracts and agreements to locate information and ensure they conform to legal requirements. (3)
  • Enter detailed information about clients and cases into lengthy forms. For example, complete contracts by entering client information and details of cases. Legal secretaries working in family law complete alimony statements to record settlement outcomes. Legal secretaries working in real estate complete real estate offers to initiate proceedings. (3)
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Computer Use
  • Use spreadsheet programs such as Excel and QuattroPro to create spreadsheets which organize and display billing data and to create financial summaries and statements. (2)
  • Use Internet browsers to find information and to download reports and other documents from government, legal and regulatory agency websites. (2)
  • Use database programs such as Access and Modulaw to create and modify databases. Perform database searches to sort and retrieve data on clients. (2)
  • Create lengthy legal and administrative records such as contracts, reports and briefs using word processing programs such as Word. Use advanced formatting features such as style guides, heading levels, section breaks, multi-level numbering and indexes. Import financial summaries or statements from spreadsheet software into documents such as contracts and statements of claim. (3)
  • Use financial software. For example, use professional accounting software such as CMS to sort and view lawyers' billing data and to generate financial reports. (3)
  • Exchange email and attachments with co-workers, colleagues and clients. Create and maintain email distribution lists. Use the calendar features of communications software to manage lawyers' schedules, set reminders and post relevant documents. (3)
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Oral Communication
  • Discuss products, prices and deliveries with suppliers. For example, negotiate prices and delivery dates for large copying jobs with copy service providers. (1)
  • Discuss ongoing job tasks with co-workers. For example, exchange information about current transactions and cases with other legal secretaries. Make arrangements for lawyers and others to participate in meetings, teleconferences, hearings and court proceedings. Legal secretaries working in corporate offices may speak to staff in records departments to arrange for materials to be stored or retrieved. (2)
  • Discuss legal matters and exchange confidential information about clients with lawyers and law clerks in your own organization and with legal secretaries and lawyers working for clients. For example, legal secretaries speak to law clerks to discuss the results of records searches. They attend meetings to learn about new cases being handled by their organizations. They discuss progress made on clients' files and job task priorities with lawyers and managers. (2)
  • Discuss confidential legal matters with clients of the organization. Provide case updates, request information and documentation, schedule appointments and arrange payments. Reassure clients that work is proceeding as required. Use appropriate tone and demonstrate tact during these discussions. (2)
  • Orient and train co-workers. For example, provide new legal clerks with directions for using office equipment and guidance for carrying out work in an efficient manner. (2)
  • Listen to voice recordings to receive instructions, transcribe contents and prepare legal documents. For example, legal secretaries may listen to recordings of lawyers' instructions in order to prioritize and carry out tasks. They may listen to lengthy recorded messages in order to transcribe text verbatim and adhere to verbal instructions regarding punctuation and formatting. (2)
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Money Math
  • Count cash payments from clients. (1)
  • Make small cash purchases for supplies and services. For example, purchase coffee and snacks for meetings. (1)
  • Calculate reimbursement claims for lawyers' travel and out-of-pocket expenses. Calculate travel amounts using per kilometre rates. Add costs associated with parking, meals and accommodations. Use exchange rates to calculate amounts for purchases made in foreign currencies. (2)
  • Calculate and verify invoice and purchase order amounts. For example, confirm suppliers' invoices, such as those for court services and records retrieval. Calculate invoice amounts using lawyers' per diem rates. Add amounts for provincial and federal taxes. (3)
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Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting
  • Create timelines to ensure tasks and submissions are completed by due dates. (1)
  • Create and monitor lawyers' appointment and court appearance schedules. For example, legal secretaries working directly for lawyers set times for court, appointments and meetings, ensuring lawyers have enough preparation time before scheduled events. (2)
  • Prepare financial summaries, such as statements for monies held in trust. Categorize and total amounts, and review summaries against original records to verify their accuracy. (3)
  • Calculate amounts for judgements and settlement offers. For example, legal secretaries working in family law may check the accuracy of reported alimony payments. Litigation secretaries may verify total amounts of the payment schedules that are associated with settlement offers. Legal secretaries working in real estate and commercial financing may calculate amounts of mortgage payments, pro-rata payments, installments and interest. (3)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate quantities of supplies needed. For example, estimate the number of file boxes required to store inactive client files. Estimate catering requirements when planning a meeting. (2)
  • Estimate the amount of time lawyers will need to accomplish tasks and to meet with clients. Use estimates to plan schedules. (2)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Legal secretaries receive work instructions from lawyers and supervisors. They sequence tasks to meet the demands and deadlines associated with their workloads. When planning job tasks, legal secretaries consider due dates associated with active files. Their plans are frequently interrupted by last-minute requests from co-workers, supervisors and clients who require their immediate attention. They are required to make changes to their schedules to meet these demands before resuming other work activities. (2)
  • Legal secretaries may organize and delegate work to junior staff members such as law clerks and other legal secretaries. (2)
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Decision Making
  • Select products, facilities and services. For example, make arrangements for meetings by choosing meeting rooms and arranging catering. Decide to send large documents such as legal briefs to copy services for printing and binding. (1)
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Problem Solving
  • Face unrealistic deadlines and competing demands on your time. For example, when workloads become unreasonable, speak to lawyers to clarify task priorities. In large organizations, ask supervisors to temporarily reassign work as appropriate. In smaller organizations, informally enlist the help of co-workers to ensure that deadlines are met. (1)
  • Job tasks cannot be completed because documents are missing, information is unavailable and data are incorrect. For example, encounter errors and inconsistencies in legal and financial records. Try to verify the information by retrieving original records and make corrections where possible. Perform searches of electronic and paper files to find missing information. In large firms, perform a search by engaging staff in records storage departments. (1)
  • You are unable to obtain confirmations, approvals and signatures for ongoing job tasks. For example, you may not be able to reach lawyers, real estate agents, managers and clients when arranging appointments, seeking signatures for documents and requiring answers to questions. In some cases, resort to unusual methods such as enlisting the help of other legal secretaries and going in person to have documents signed. (2)
  • Receive last-minute cancellations from clients and coworkers. Try to reach all individuals affected by the cancellation to inform them and to make alternative arrangements. In cases where you feel cancellations may stem from a desire to delay proceedings, you may try to persuade individuals to respect the original arrangements. (2)
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Finding Information
  • Find information about new legal cases. Read lawyers' notes, review files associated with the same clients and perform database searches. (2)
  • Find information about legal processes. For example, find information about legal processes such as condominium sales by talking to lawyers, searching websites and reading legal publications and reference manuals. (2)
  • Find information about lawyers and clients. Consult lawyers, search files and perform electronic searches to find information relevant to conflict of interest investigations. (2)
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Critical Thinking
  • Evaluate the suitability of products and services. For example, evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of mail delivery options such as registered mail, courier and regular delivery. Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of having large documents printed by copy services. (1)
  • Judge the truthfulness of clients' and plaintiffs' statements. For example, legal secretaries working with clients involved in court proceedings may listen to reasons given for canceling appointments. They listen to determine whether reasons are justifiable under the circumstances. (2)
  • Judge the importance and urgency of telephone calls, documents and tasks. For example, legal secretaries consider callers' requests to make judgments about their importance. Litigation secretaries consider deadlines associated with filing court documents to identify tasks which require their immediate attention. (2)
  • Evaluate the accuracy and completeness of documents and files. For example, judge the completeness of settlement offers using knowledge of legal and professional standards. Review letters, contracts and reports to ensure they contain no errors. (2)
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