House Purchasing in 2020 – to View or Not to View

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected a lot of aspects of our lives, including buying houses. During the midst of the lockdown no viewings were taking place, causing stagnation in the housing market. As the rules have relaxed, people are now able to view properties they are interested in buying, but they must keep to the social distancing measures that have been put in place.

The government has advised house buyers to try to avoid viewing properties in person by doing it virtually where possible, but how does this balance with the legal risks of taking this approach?

The simple answer in terms of the legal risk of purchasing a property sold unseen is not to do it. Property viewings are the most basic form of due diligence that a buyer can do. Not only can they make sure the property “feels” right, but they are also trying to satisfy the contractual principle of caveat emptor (or buyer beware).

Here are five examples of potential issues that an informed buyer might spot when viewing a property. When you look at this list, consider whether you could spot them on a virtual viewing.

Dealing with Change

Dealing with change is undoubtedly the most stressful thing for humans to have to endure. No, allow me to rephrase that. Stress isn’t caused by change – change becomes stressful when we don’t adapt or roll with the punches. There are times when life throws you a barrage of many small, new – or even just slightly different – situations, people, rules, restrictions and routines, such as moving house or changing jobs. Then there’s the sucker punch of change that you don’t even see coming, the one that leads to an avalanche of sudden difficult decisions – think divorce or losing a loved one. And sometimes life tries to knock you out entirely with a combination of both: a global pandemic that changes absolutely everything, for everyone.

Yet, nothing in life is constant. Change is inevitable. Whether you roll with it or fight against it, it’s going to happen. When you think about it, it’s not change itself that we don’t like. It’s the uncertainty, loss of control, unexpectedness and upset of the status quo we have gotten so used to that we don’t like. It’s completely normal to feel these emotions. The trick is to not sit with them for too long. Feel them, acknowledge them and then move on. In other words: roll with the punches. 

Calling All Superstar Legal PAs

SecsintheCity is looking for exceptional Legal PAs, EAs and Office Managers to be nominated for the PA of the Year Awards 2020. Could you be a winner?

Now in its ninth consecutive year, the PA of the Year Awards has become an iconic celebration of the essential support that Personal and Executive Assistants provide to the companies and individuals for whom they work.

The awards are hosted by SecsintheCity, the UK’s only job board dedicated to PAs, EAs and other office support professionals. The nominations are open from now until 14 September, after which an esteemed judging panel faces the challenge of choosing a winner in each of the following categories:

  • PA of the Year
  • Legal PA of the Year
  • Office Manager of the Year

 

An Interview with Alexander Nair – ILSPA Graduate

We would like to introduce you to an exceptional graduate, Alexander Nair. Alexander enrolled on our Legal Secretaries Diploma course at the beginning of May and qualified with a distinction within a month!

You would be forgiven for assuming that Alexander must come from a legal background to be able to achieve this, but – although he’s studied a couple of introductory legal courses – you could not be further from the truth. Despite always having an interest in law, Alexander is actually an actor. When he’s not acting, he works as a receptionist and office coordinator. He decided to take ILSPA’s course to advance his skills and move into the legal sector.

We spoke to Alexander about his success, why he decided to take our course and the future.

Can you tell us about your professional background?

The Dos and Don’ts of Video Meetings

As people continue to work from home, video meetings are now the new normal. Whether the calls are one-on-one or in a group, people can expect to be part of many more video meetings over the next few months. To help with this transition, ILSPA have set out their guidelines to good video meeting etiquette.

Preparation

As with any meetings you are participating in, preparation is key. However, along with having your notes and information ready, there are a few extra considerations when preparing for a video meeting. Make sure you set up your space for the call so that it looks professional. Try to find a tidy, private and quiet space to use. Make sure that your face is well lit but avoid being backlit, as this creates glare and makes your face hard to see. If you cannot find a suitable tidy space, you might want to consider using a background. Executive Secretary has a fantastic free professional background you can use.

Starting a New Job Remotely: An interview with EA Gina Haynes

Starting a new job can be a daunting experience for even the most experienced professionals, but starting a new job remotely presents even greater challenges still. We spoke with experienced Executive Assistant Gina Haynes who shared details about her recent experience of on-boarding remotely and her advice for starting a new job while working from home.

Could you tell us a bit about your career history and the new job you recently started?

I have been working as an EA/PA for 23 years, predominantly in the banking and finance industry on a permanent basis, based in the City of London. I got made redundant a while back and have been working as a career temp since then, covering anything from three to twelve-month contracts, which I have really enjoyed. I started a new temporary role as EA to the MD of a Housing organisation three weeks ago now - it is an ongoing temporary role that could go on to a permanent contract, which is what I hope to find once this pandemic is over. I am screening emails, carrying out diary management and taking minutes of regular meetings. One of the regular meetings I attend is a daily Coronavirus meeting for the MD and team have to keep on top of how to deal with the current situation throughout the organisation, which I am finding interesting.

Legal Secretary Vacancies June 2020

Here is a selection of vacancies from our Legal Secretary Jobs Board this month:

Legal Secretary – Clinical Neglience – Page Personnel Secretarial

Location: Reading

Salary: £20,000-£23,000

Ideally looking for someone with some experience working as a Legal Secretary / Administrator. Someone who wants to forge a career in a support role within a prestigious Law Firm. Some exposure to working with in Clinical Negligence is a bonus.

View the full job description here:          

https://www.institutelegalsecretaries.com/jobs/candidate/job/173261/

Conveyancing Legal Secretary – Grist Legal

Location: Devizes

Salary: £19,000-£22,000

This is an excellent opportunity for a proactive conveyancing Legal Secretary in Devizes, Wiltshire to assist residential conveyancing fee earners with their residential case loads.

The successful Conveyancing Legal Secretary will have had previous legal secretarial, audio typing, computer and general office administration experience. Strong MS Office experience is required.

View the full job description here:          

How to Save Energy at Home

Have you ever thought about how you can save energy at home? Not only will it save you some money, but it will also help the environment. We can go through our everyday lives not thinking properly about the amount of energy we waste however, with the ongoing lockdown, we have a good opportunity to take time to reflect on our habits. It’s amazing how a few small changes can benefit us and the planet!

We have compiled a list of ways in which you can cut down on your energy use at home – and reduce your bills in the process.

Family Disputes and Divorce During Lockdown

As with other sectors in the UK, the legal profession has been significantly impacted the past few months. In this article, we are focusing on what changes are being seen by those working in family law.

Family relations are currently being strained in unprecedented ways and many in the legal profession expect there to be a surge in family law-related disputes. This could include a significant rise in the rates of divorce and cases involving finances and children. Divorce will obviously only affect married couples, but issues of money and children can be a problem for anyone.

Firstly, in terms of divorce, the predicted increase is a notable trend during times of economic uncertainty. Just having more divorces alone might not present problems to those in matrimonial practice. For several years, online systems for dealing with divorce petitions have streamlined this work so that it is not a significant area of a divorce lawyer’s day-to-day job. However, just because the administrative side of divorce has been streamlined, it does not mean all aspects of family law work have shrunk. Key areas where lawyers have seen increased demand include:

Boundary Setting With Your Boss

The role of an Assistant requires the ability to establish close-knit relationships and a level of trust that only comes from years of close and consistent social interaction with those you support.

Setting boundaries with anyone in life can be difficult. Pushing back and saying no in your career can be tough, especially when you’re fond of the person you’re working with. However, as important as it is to establish a strong connection with your boss, it is equally as important to create and maintain clear boundaries. What if they’re a workaholic, have back-to-back meetings, send emails 24/7 and expect you to be on the same wavelength as them, all on less than a third of their salary?

Of course, there are benefits of working for someone who constantly pushes you, but what happens when the pace becomes unsustainable and the expectation of your role and responsibilities becomes confusing and unreasonable?

As an Assistant, you should have time allocated in your executive’s calendar at least once a week to catch up on both short-term and long-term issues. Take a deep breath, step back and start to look at these one-to-one meetings more strategically. Remember, you are having a business meeting, not a catch-up with your best friend.