I joined the firm Trowers & Hamlins in 1998 to assist a partner in setting up the Bahrain office. We started with two rented desks from Ernst & Young. This was my first time working with lawyers and it was a real eye-opener. I had been working for the management consulting arm of KPMG, so I was used to working on lengthy documents, but not so used to the exacting standards required in a law firm. I now try to assist new secretaries and trainees to come to terms with what, in the non-legal world, would be treated as being particularly pedantic. I appreciate how the insertion of a comma can change the emphasis of a point, or inserting the word “reasonable” will allow a clause to be accepted by all parties to the contract.
How did you become a tutor with the Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs?
I was teaching my own courses through my company, AH Paralegal Training, which was accredited by the National Association of Paralegals. The General Secretary of the association approached me in 1999 about the Legal Secretaries Diploma course which they had been conducting through distance learning and asked me if I would be interested in teaching it as a class attendance course.
Several years later, the Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs took over the Legal Secretaries Diploma course and asked whether I would continue teaching for them.
Tell us about your legal experience
Everyone has to write a report at some stage in their career. A well written report can further your career, since people see not only the content and well reasoned arguments or recommendations, but also the confidence and clarity with which it is written.
But preparation is key when writing a report: "If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail". So time spent at this stage will mean that your report is more focussed, it will be written with the reader in mind and it will be structured into a logical order, avoiding repetition. By preparing more thoroughly you will also be able to write your reports quicker and do fewer drafts – if you prepare really well you may only have to write it once. So here are the top ten tips to help with preparation.
A Round Up of Recent Developments
With a new Employment Bill working it way through Parliament and expected to come into force in April 2009 we have focused on a few of the Bills main provisions. There have also been a number of recent developments in relation to protection from harassment at work.
The Employment Law Bill
DNA Proves a Hanged Man Was Innocent
‘It is one of the most notorious cases in British legal history, the story of an apparently mild-mannered doctor who poisoned and dismembered his showgirl wife, then fled across the Atlantic with his young lover – only to be caught after a sharp-eyed captain recognized him from the newspaper,’ writes Martin Hodgson in The Guardian of 17th October 2007.
Hodgson tells the story thus:
Dr Hawley Crippen was hanged in 1910, after an Old Bailey jury took just 27 minutes to find him guilty of murdering his wife, Cora, who had vanished earlier that year.
Nearly a century later, research appears to show that the evidence which sent Crippen to the gallows was mistaken: the human remains discovered under his London house could not be those of Cora.
Legal Secretaries help with the smooth running of law firms and can work in barristers’ chambers, local authorities, law courts and with the police. They hold a wealth of professional skills and overall they must be excellent secretaries with an understanding of law and legal procedures, computer literate, have good communication and organisational skills, an eye for detail and professional acumen. The work can be challenging and demanding so being calm and confident is essential.
The phone is constantly engaged. The taxi ignores you. Your train is late. Why do minor hassles like these have the potential to make us uptight? Maybe it's because we're tightly wound already and can't find the pressure relief valve. We all live and work in a pressured world - pressure over money, commuting, technology, looking good, eating well. Balancing the pressures of home life and work life are vital if we are to get optimum amounts of the adrenaline buzz to stay healthy and enjoy the whole life! So here are the top ten tips for when the going gets tough:
1. If you only have a hammer you will tend to see everything as a nail. Learn and use new techniques to deal with your workload and life's pressures, since the bigger the range of tools at your disposal will mean you are likely to find just the right one.