A legal receptionist works at a law office and handles all incoming communication for the lawyers and attorneys present in the office. A legal receptionist often handles secretarial duties on top of answering the phones, such as editing documents, handling all postal mail, preparing client letters, scheduling meetings and conducting preliminary legal research on behalf of the attorneys. A legal receptionist's salary varies depending on the state she's working in and the amount of work she's responsible for.
A legal receptionist earned a mean wage of $20.80 as of May 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end of the scale, legal receptionists earned an hourly wage of $12.66, which provided an annual wage of $26,340. However, other legal receptionists and secretaries earned as much as $30.95 per hour, or $64,380 per year. Salary is often a reflection of how much work the receptionist has to do, as a lower salary may be paid for secretaries who simply handle phone calls and postal mail. A higher salary may be provided to those helping out with legal work, editing documents and writing client letters on behalf of the legal firm.
A legal receptionist’s salary is influenced by the given state in which the receptionist is working. According to the bureau, each state pays a different hourly rate, which means that legal receptionists in one state may earn more than receptionists in other states. The top-paying state in the United States is the District of Columbia with an hourly wage of $29.21, followed by Delaware with $24.17 per hour. Other top states include California, at $24.01 per hour; Colorado, offering $23.98 per hour; and Connecticut, at $23.73 per hour.
Legal receptionists are also paid differently in certain metropolitan areas, meaning that the geographical location can affect a legal receptionist’s salary. The top-paying metropolitan area for legal receptionists and assistants is San Jose, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara in California, with an hourly wage of approximately $31.96. San Francisco and San Mateo in California are also top-paying metropolitan areas with an hourly wage of around $31.46 as of May 2010.
Education and Training
Legal receptionists and secretaries often have high school diplomas and additional legal training to learn the basic legal language and procedures for a law office. Certain receptionists complete programs in office administration and get certification in legal administration and office duties. Legal receptionists or secretaries are certified through the National Association of Legal Secretaries, the International Virtual Assistants Association or Legal Secretaries International, Inc.