Using a UK Legal Secretary Diploma in The United States
Replies: 11 - Last Post: Sep 27, 2012 10:44 AM Last Post By: SusieGirl7
Sep 25, 2012 9:01 PM
Using a UK Legal Secretary Diploma in The United StatesBecoming a public relations professional is my dream job, but I know that due to the current economic climate it is going to be difficult to find a job straight away, much less the ideal job that I want (good pay, good benefits, dynamic company etc.).
Therefore, I want a get a professional qualification for another profesion, which would act as a failsafe (a job to fall back on in a field where it is relatively easy to find work). After I have attained my bachelor degree I intend to complete a Legal secretary training program, giving me the qualifications to work as a legal secretary.After completing this program I intend to get my masters degree. I would also hope to work part-time as a legal secterary whilst getting my masters degree. I really need to money to help pay for tuition.
So my question is: If I get my legal secretary diploma in England, will I be able to find work as a Legal Secretary in New York or California. Do american law firms recognize and accept foreign legal secretary qualifications?
PS, UK universities do not have associate's degrees, but we do have diplomas. I have heard it said that a US associate's degree is the equivalent of "A-levels" in the UK. The reason for this is because UK bachelor's degrees last for the duration of 3 years because the general classes taken during the first year at an american university are already taken by british student during their last year of highschool.
PPS, I have compared US legal secretary courses and UK legal secretary programs and they seem to have similar content such as type writing skills, how to type and file legal documents etc.
Sep 25, 2012 9:48 PM
American law firms don't insist on any particular qualifications for legal secretaries. Anyone with good general secretarial skills, it's generally assumed, can learn on the job how to be a legal secretary. Sure, a legal-secretary diploma will help you get a job, but only in the general sense of letting the employer know that you do have some idea what you're doing. It's just like how going to drama school might teach you acting, but isn't a requirement for getting a job as an actor.
That's certainly not true. An associate's degree is normally a two-year program, and does require significantly more concentration in the major subject of study than a British A-level does.
Sep 25, 2012 11:01 PM
Sep 25, 2012 11:01 PM
Sep 26, 2012 7:20 AM
Sep 26, 2012 7:36 AM
You must show that have sufficient funds available for self-support during the entire proposed course of study.
You must be enrolled in a full-time course. No part-time study and part-time working.
You may not work off-campus during the first academic year, but may accept on-campus employment subject to certain conditions and restrictions.
After the first year, you can work off campus under certain defined conditions, which are meant to be practical training. That means if you are getting an MA in public relations, you aren't going to be allowed to work as a legal secretary.
Sep 26, 2012 11:15 AM
First, US and British law are not the same.
Second, there is an unemployment problem in the US and they will hire people, first, who has US legal experience.
Third, you would need to be SPONSORED by a US company to come and work here FIRST and no US company is going to go to the expense of sponsoring someone for a skill that is readily fill-able with a US citizen.
Sep 26, 2012 1:16 PM
7I agree with everyone above, though if you have a nice sounding British accent (as in sexy or upper class) that will help you to get a job. Obviously, it would help to know something about the American legal system obviously. And look into the difference between a legal secretary and a paralegal. You might have more luck being hired as a paralegal. Though all the issues about needing to have employer sponsor you still apply.
Sep 26, 2012 1:54 PM
Less, I should think. Paralegals, at most law firms I'm aware of, are expected to know their way around the law, at least well enough to do some legal research. And once you're expected to know some law, the difference between a British and an American education will start to matter more.
Sep 26, 2012 3:44 PM
Sep 26, 2012 5:09 PM
10Legal secretary = secretary who works in a law firm. This position doesn't require any special training. Nobody is going to sponsor a foreign employee to do this, given the number of U.S. citizens that can meet the standard.
Paralegal = A person who can handle things such as retrieving court documents off of systems like PACER, filing documents, conduct some legal research, etc. Paralegal certification programs exist, but most of the paralegals I worked with during my law firm days were trained in house. Same goes for my attorney friends who started out as paralegals. Unless you had special expertise, I don't think anyone would sponsor a paralegal, because there are plenty of people qualified to do the work.
A big problem that hasn't been mentioned--there are so many unemployed attorneys that they are taking work as paralegals. And likewise, unemployed paralegals taking work as legal secretaries. So there is a major glut in the market.
Sep 27, 2012 10:44 AM
11Meant to add that in the legal world, you're either a lawyer or you're nothing. Or you're the dirt beneath a lawyer's boot.
A person might have some luck transfering to the US if they work for a US based firm in the UK or for an international firm with offices in both countries. But again, in the legal world, only lawyers matter.
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