Legal Receptionist Job Description
Legal receptionists are the face of a law firm and typically work at the front desk near the office lobby and waiting area, greeting visitors and answering the phone. They are the first point of contact for clients and visitors and maintain a high level of professionalism in how they speak and dress. This position is ideal for people who enjoy a wide variety of administrative tasks and like to conduct themselves in a polished and professional manner. Legal receptionists typically work full time during regular business hours but can sometimes be expected to work overtime when the firm needs additional help with a large case.
Legal Receptionist Duties and Responsibilities
Legal receptionists are responsible for general administrative and reception duties, as well as tasks that are specific to a legal office. These vary depending on the size of the firm, but based on listings we analyzed they usually include the following tasks:
Greet Clients and Visitors
As the first point of contact for visitors and clients at a law firm, the legal receptionist greets visitors and helps create a comfortable, professional, and welcoming environment for people in the lobby or waiting room. They answer visitor inquiries and direct clients to their appointments with attorneys, and some even provide coffee or tea to guests as they wait.
Answer and Forward Calls and Emails
Answering incoming calls or emails is usually done by the receptionist in a legal office. They uphold strong telephone etiquette to answer questions and direct calls to where they need to go. Legal receptionists also take down phone messages, forward emails, ensure messages are relayed to the appropriate parties.
Legal receptionists are responsible for scheduling appointments between lawyers and clients. They make sure that everyone knows when and where to meet and that an office or conference room is available for every meeting.
Legal firms can be busy places, and legal receptionists often assist lawyers with day-to-day tasks and preparing and managing case files. They might help with things like billing, drafting correspondences, establishing new files, and other additional administrative tasks as needed.
Manage Faxes, Mail, and Deliveries
A legal receptionist is responsible for handling incoming mail, deliveries, and faxes. They make sure mail and faxes are routed to the correct offices and may hand-deliver packages.
Manage Lobby and Conference Rooms
It is often the responsibility of the legal receptionist to keep the office looking clean and professional. They make sure the lobby is a welcoming place and keep it stocked with magazines and refreshments to keep guests comfortable while they wait. Legal receptionists also make sure conference rooms are stocked with refreshments and supplies ahead of meetings.
Legal Receptionist Skills and Qualifications
Legal receptionists are the public face of a law office, so people who enjoy interacting with others professionally and articulately will do well in this position. Prior experience with administrative tasks and the following skills are essential for doing the job successfully:
- Organizational skills – an organized receptionist makes a legal firm run smoothly. They know where everything is and can quickly access files and phone numbers while simultaneously greeting visitors and answering the phone
- Interpersonal skills – communicating and interacting with clients and visitors is the primary task of a legal receptionist. They need to be friendly and accommodating and must keep a positive attitude when things are hectic or when a client is unhappy
- Customer service – it’s important to make clients feel welcome and at home when they visit a legal office. Legal receptionists need to be attentive to the needs of guests and help them in any way they can
- Technology skills – the legal receptionist is responsible for running the phone systems, fax machine, and copier, and often uses word processing and spreadsheet software
- Writing and transcription – lawyers often don’t do their own writing, and the legal receptionist is responsible for drafting memos, correspondence, or transcribing audio recordings from meetings
- Legal terminology – legal receptionists work primarily with lawyers and their legal clients, and need to understand various legal terms used in proceedings
Legal Receptionist Education and Training
While no formal education is required to become a legal receptionist, most law offices prefer candidates with a high school diploma and some training in administrative tasks, as well as some experience working in a law office. Many legal receptionists receive on-the-job training.
Legal Receptionist Salary and Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, receptionists across all industries make a median annual income of $27,920 per year, or $13.42 per hour. Most receptionists earn between $19,000 and $39,300, with individuals with four-year degrees occupying higher-paying positions. Legal receptionists are specialized and therefore often earn more than general receptionists.
The job outlook for receptionists is expected to grow 9 percent by 2026, or about as fast as average. Most legal receptionists work full time, and many employers offer healthcare benefits and paid time off.
Legal Receptionist Helpful Resources
Here are some additional ways to determine if working as a legal receptionist is right for you:
The National Association for Legal Professionals – This organization is dedicated to providing information to people interested in any profession in the legal industry.
Become a Receptionist: Education and Career Roadmap – This is a helpful step-by-step guide on how to become a receptionist, starting with how to acquire the skills needed to land your dream job.
LinkedIn Receptionist Jobs – With more than 35,000 members, this LinkedIn group is dedicated to receptionist job posts and discussions on landing a job as a receptionist.
Administrative Assistant’s and Secretary’s Handbook – An indispensable and comprehensive guide to everything administrative, this resource goes over everything from phones, meetings, communication, events, and deciphering legal documents. It’s everything a legal receptionist needs to know, all in one place.
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