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8 Work Traits of a Successful Secretary


So, you’ve mastered the core skills of a legal secretary.  How do you set yourself apart as a stand-out secretarial professional?  Here are 8 traits of a successful secretary.

1. Reliable

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Since a legal secretary is the attorney’s right-hand person, reliability is crucial.  A secretary who is punctual, timely, accurate and honest is the cornerstone of a successful law practice.

2. Self-Starting

The most successful secretaries have drive and initiative. They do not sit waiting for attorney instructions or assignments; they pick up a file, determine what needs to be done and do it. They anticipate the employer’s needs and are willing to step beyond their comfort zone to learn new skills.

3. Efficient

In a law firm, efficiency translates into dollars; in a corporation, efficiency can yield cost-savings.  Secretaries who perform their jobs quickly and efficiently contribute to the bottom line, making themselves indispensible.

4. Discrete

Since legal secretaries handle confidential client files and data, discretion is essential. Disclosing confidential information, inadvertently or on purpose, is one of the quickest ways to damage a legal career.

5. Flexible

Attorneys appreciate secretaries who are flexible and adaptive.  Those willing to work late or come in early to get the job done, and who readily adapt to new, different or changing work requirements will be most valued by their employers.

6. Tactful

Issues often arise between litigating parties and between overworked co-workers.  The secretary who handles these issues with diplomacy and tact, smoothing over differences or forging solutions to workplace disputes, will become invaluable members of the legal team.

7. Pleasant

Let’s face it, no one likes to work with a grumpy, demanding or negative employee.  Secretaries with a pleasant demeanor and positive attitude, who are able to put aside personal challenges to accomplish job objectives, and who are friendly to co-workers and courteous to clients, will go far in the workplace.

8. Patient

Attorneys are not always the easiest bunch to work with. Some attorneys are chronic procrastinators, others have overblown egos and others are woefully disorganized.  Legal secretaries must be able to handle all personality types and work challenges with patience and grace.

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