An Interview with a Legal PA - Jamie Ricks, Senior Legal PA at Baker McKenzie

This year’s PA of the Year Awards is fast approaching. Achieving a PA of the Year Award is the ultimate recognition of your hard work, dedication, and accomplishments as a business support professional. With a special category for Legal PAs, the awards champion both PAs, EAs, and Office Managers, alongside those working in the legal niche.

In this article, SecsintheCity interviewed Jamie Ricks - 2022 finalist at the esteemed PA of the Year awards. Within this interview, Jamie discusses his development as a Legal PA, his role at Baker McKenzie, and his advice for those entering the PA of the Year awards.

How did you become a Legal PA?

The Guide to Diary Management for Legal PAs

The role of Legal PAs is varied and requires them to have a wide and diverse skill set. One skill that is essential and very in demand is that of diary management. Diary management is sometimes overlooked as a specific skill, but nothing could be further from the truth.

SecsintheCity found in their most recent salary survey that diary management was listed as one of the most in-demand skills for professionals across the board, being stated by 21% of their audience. In collaboration with ILSPA, they have created this guide for Legal PAs to help them become experts in the field.    

Calendar organisation:

Why is it Important to Look After Your Mental Health When Working in the Legal Sector?

Work stress can contribute to mental health problems for people working in any industry, but some job roles can be more stressful than others. Jobs in the legal sector can involve long hours during busy periods, and sometimes the work environment can put you under high pressure when dealing with strict deadlines.

Here are three reasons why it's so important to take care of your mental health as a Legal Secretary or PA.

1. Stress can lead to additional mental health problems 

How to Provide Paralegal Services

If you have been a Legal Secretary for some time, you may be wondering where to take your career next. Setting up your own Paralegal practice may be a venture worth considering, especially if it turns out you’ve been fulfilling the role of a Paralegal already without realising.

Your job title may not be Paralegal, but if your work involves any sort of legality, you are likely a paralegal. For example, are you involved in drafting or reviewing commercial contracts or employment contracts? Do you do legal research to assist someone in your department? Are you involved in compliance or regulation ensuring that statutory criteria are met and adhered to? Are you involved in reviewing documents in relation to childcare proceedings? This list of examples is not exhaustive.

An Interview with Dan Self – Legal PA at Baker McKenzie

When you work as a Legal Secretary or PA, it can feel like a rather female oriented profession. This is not necessarily the case though. It was great to speak with Dan Self, a successful Legal PA working in employment law who feels that being a man is a real bonus in this role.

Can you tell us about your background and how you came to be a Legal PA?

I was working in hospitality and was undecided on what I wanted to do in life. I attended a local college day and chatted with the tutor about the likelihood of being successful as a Legal Secretary as a man. They assured me that being a male Legal Secretary would only be a bonus. I then joined the college on a full-time basis for two years in my late twenties. The rest, as they say, is history.

The Royal Courts of Justice Tours – ILSPA Discount

The Royal Courts of Justice has offered our Students and Members a 30% discount on its tours. Visiting the RCJ is a wonderful experience where Students’ course material comes to life and they can get an inside look at a real-life working courtroom. Students and Members will also have the opportunity to join the RCJ’s new Half-Day Legal London tour when places are offered to us. This is a legal walking tour which combines a tour of inside the fabulous Royal Courts of Justice with a walk through some of London’s beautiful Inns of Court. Please keep an eye on our Legal Secretary Blog for available dates over the coming months.

ILSPA Forms New Partnership with The Institute of Legal Finance and Management

It is with great pleasure that we announce our new partnership with The Institute of Legal Finance and Management (ILFM). As two organisations committed to the education, progression, and recognition of those working as support staff in the legal sector, we are proud to have a partnership that enables us to raise awareness of the invaluable work these individual specialists do in the profession.   

Emma Stacey, ILSPA’s Chief Executive commented:

An Interview with Megan Probert – ILSPA Graduate and Legal Assistant

People expect to find Legal Secretaries, PAs and Assistants in Law Firms but there are so many other businesses that also need legal teams. Speaking to Megan about her role at Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company was incredibly interesting; it was fantastic to hear about her career progression and how she has applied her legal skills in such a well-known company. 

How did you first enter the legal profession?

Modern Updates to the Civil Procedure Rules

Those of you who have studied law or who are currently working in the legal profession may already be familiar with the Civil Procedures Rules (CPR). For those who are not, the CPR came into effect in 1999 to ensure that justice is obtained when people go to court. They were created to make civil proceedings cheaper, quicker and fairer, as well as providing a system that was easier to understand. The rules are used by the County Courts, Court of Appeal and High Court of Justice during civil cases in England and Wales. Each year the rules are amended in line with changes in law, procedure, and societal shifts. Some years see big updates whilst others are only minor. In the past, many old-fashioned legal terms and procedures were removed.