A proposed course of study for legal stenographers



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The purpose of this study was: to prepare a one- semester course of study on the college level, which could be used In the training of students for employment as legal secretaries. The Investigation was made (1) by mailing questionnaires to attorneys and their secretaries In Houston, Texas, and (2) by means of library research. It was the purpose of the questionnaires to determine (1) whether or not a course for legal stenographers was considered desirable by attorneys, (2) what qualifications and work accomplishments attorneys considered desirable In legal secretaries, and (3) what duties were actually performed by legal stenographers. It was the purpose of the library research to determine what material Is available for the training of legal secretaries. It was found that 71.43 per cent of the attorneys were In favor of a course for legal stenographers. The following qualifications and work accomplishments were considered desirable by a majority of the attorneys: a familiarity with words common to the legal profession; absolute accuracy In the transcription of legal Instruments; a familiarity with legal forms, such as deeds, wills, briefs, etc.; the ability to take office dictation at approximately 120 words a minute or higher; a high typing speed; the ability to use Dictaphone or Ediphone equipment efficiently. The following duties and work requirements of legal secretaries were reported by a majority of the legal stenographers: filling out legal forms where Information Is typed in the blanks; transcribing legal Instruments with absolute accuracy; meeting clients who call at the office for appointments; taking complete legal Instruments from dictation; composing correspondence for employers; typing some legal Instruments on which no erasures are permitted; taking dictation for long periods of time. Additional qualifications and work requirements were voluntarily mentioned by both attorneys and legal secretaries. Library research revealed that there was a scarcity of published material for the training of legal secretaries. A study of the Cumulative Book Index revealed that three published texts are available for training legal secretaries. A limited number of secretarial science texts contain one chapter on the legal duties of a secretary. A list of legal words and phrases was Included with the study. It was complied from the legal words and phrases In the Index of a college commercial law text. All words in the index which were not found in the Horn 10,000-word list were retained. Shorthand outlines were Included with the list. A proposed one-semester course of study on the college level was prepared, based upon the findings of the study. Use was made of all available published materials In the course of study.