Searching for New Job Opportunities During COVID-19

The last couple of months spent in lockdown have affected many lives in the legal industry, with staff now working from home, working reduced hours or being furloughed.

Jobs have been more scarce because many employers can’t justify bringing on new staff in these times of uncertainty, so for those who want to remain working in the legal industry, it’s been more challenging to find a new job.

Now that the lockdown has eased, however, Simply Law Jobs are seeing efforts in recruitment ramp up again – last week, there was a 39% increase in jobs advertised. So, if you’ve been considering updating your CV, or rewriting your cover letter, now is a good time to do it.

We want to encourage you not to give up hope. Our partner, Simply Law Jobs, has set out a few tips to help you with your job search. They have also included options for jobs that are not based in the legal industry, if you are looking for a change for the short term.

Upgrade your CV

A Challenging Time to Make a Will

This month we are focusing on Wills, as sadly, this is an area where lawyers are finding their services very much in demand. There are challenges at the moment for Wills specialists as they struggle to ensure that the requirements of the Wills Act 1837 are properly met. It is not the first time there have been calls to reform the Wills Act, but it is unlikely that a quick solution will be found. We will focus on the most pressing current issue (witness requirements), consider possible changes to the law and offer some practical solutions.

Background

To put the potential scale of the problem into perspective, there are two things to consider. First, the surge in demand for Wills is significant and likely to increase. The Law Society reported at the end of March 2020 that there had been a 76% jump in demand for Wills over a two-week period. This is not at all surprising given the daily reports on the rising number of coronavirus-related deaths. With several more months ahead where people will be confronted with issues of their own and loved ones’ mortality, many will try to put their affairs in order. Second, if there is no change to the current rule, urgent new Will instructions may go unanswered or be dealt with inappropriately.

Free Online Courses and Resources for Legal Professionals

Despite some career progression barriers caused by the coronavirus outbreak, TotallyLegal remains as passionate and determined as ever to encourage the professional development of its audience.

It has created this list with the aim of helping you to make the most of the coming weeks and months at home. Here are some of the best free online courses and resources for legal professionals. Ranging from enhancing your soft skills and increasing your typing speed to brushing up on your knowledge of GDPR, these free online courses provide huge variety in terms of learning and development opportunities.

Removing your daily commute might mean that you have more free hours. While some of this time should rightly be reserved for relaxation, career-focused legal professionals of every level should spend some of it developing their skills and knowledge with these free online courses and resources.

Free online courses for soft skills

Every day, legal professionals rely on a range of soft skills like communication, creativity and negotiation to get their jobs done. The following online courses focus on a variety of these skills, which you no doubt already have but can always improve.

Creative thinking

How Can We Protect the Planet and Ourselves?

The 50th anniversary of Earth Day took place last month. Earth Day was created in 1970 to help protect the planet, and, at the time, millions of people took to the streets to raise awareness of environmental issues. Earth Day is now the largest civic event in the world. Experts and scientists come together to discuss important issues and make positive changes. Many environmental laws have been passed as a result of this incredible collaboration.

We have been told for some time that the leading cause of climate change is human activity. The main sources of the greenhouse gases responsible for altering our climate are animal agriculture, deforestation and burning fossil fuels. From the lifestyles we lead to the products we buy and the food we eat, we are damaging our beautiful home and putting ourselves at risk.

Legal Secretary Vacancies May 2020

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

Personal Injury Legal Secretary – G2 Legal Limited

Location: Shrewsbury

Salary: £15,001-£20,000

A brilliant opportunity has arisen for a personal injury legal secretary to join this established law firm based in Shrewsbury on a full time, permanent basis.

View the full job description here:          

https://www.institutelegalsecretaries.com/jobs/candidate/job/173013/

Junior Legal Secretary – Larbey Evans Ltd 

Location: Greater London

Salary: £25,000-£26,000 (plus benefits)

One of the best boutique law firms based in London has a fantastic opportunity for candidates wanting to have a career as a Legal Secretary.  Larbey Evans Ltd’s client is looking to hire a new member of staff to join them as a Junior Legal Secretary where you will be working with the Senior Partner’s PA to assist her with all of their work including document creation, dictation, PA work, billing, diaries and itineraries – the firm is looking to hire a candidate who is still looking to learn and develop so this role isn’t going to throw you in the deep-end as this is an investment hire.

Remote work: Here to Stay?

The emergence of remote working has grown from a novel thought to an increasingly sought-after business perk within the legal profession. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic mandating that all types of lawyers at all types of seniority level work from home, is remote working here to stay for the considerable future?

To answer that question, it’s important to recognise that current pandemic-enforced work-at-home conditions are a far cry from the usual parameters that have historically been discussed and explored by firms. Having said that, lawyers are much more flexible in their ability to conduct work in comparison to many other professions. For the most part, drafting documentation, speaking to clients and now even conducting court duties are all theoretically possible from a home working environment. Comparing that to any other profession regulated by a supervisory body akin to the SRA - especially those in the medical field in the current climate - and it’s clear there’s a real theoretical possibility for lawyers to shift a lot of their workload into the realm of flexible working.

Benchmark your salary with SecsintheCity’s Audience Insight Report

SecsintheCity – the UK’s number one job board for PAs, Secretaries and other office support professionals – has just published the findings of its 2019 Audience Insight Report.

In autumn 2019, 4,000 office support professionals responded to our annual salary survey, providing the details of their daily working lives for a report that allows you to benchmark your current earnings and find out more about the stories and statistics behind your profession.

Responses revealed that, at 8%, Legal Secretaries and PAs make up a significant portion of our audience, while 10% of respondents said they were crafting a career in the legal sector.

On average, Legal Secretaries and PAs took home an annual salary of £33,995. While the highest UK salaries for these professionals were found in London (£36,303), Legal Secretaries and PAs operating overseas in locations such as Australasia and the Middle East reported greater overall earnings than most UK regions.

Meanwhile, 64% of Legal Secretaries and PAs received a pay rise in the last year, and 54% were fortunate enough to be offered a bonus on top of their basic pay package.

Using Your Extra Time To Boost Your Career

Due to the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic, the role of office support professionals has changed dramatically, with the office crucially now removed from the equation.

Working from home is a challenging prospect for EAs, PAs and office professionals alike, but remote work can open doors that previously may have been shut. One of the most profound benefits of working from home is the extra time you have on your hands. Remove the commute from the equation, and you’re left with time – both in the morning and the evening – which you can use to focus on yourself.

Whilst the initial temptation might be to binge-watch a series on Netflix, using this time for professional and personal development is easily one of the most fulfilling ways to increase your productivity in self-isolation. In this article, we give some tips on how you can fill your free time in a way that will benefit your career in both the short term and the long term.

Top tips on how to spend your extra time:

  1. Update your CV and your LinkedIn profile
  2. Take online courses
  3. Learn a language
  4. Listen to podcasts
  5. Plan ahead
  6. Take on project work
  7. Read up on the industry
  8. Network

 

Update your CV and your LinkedIn profile

Returning to Study After a Break

Returning to study after a period of time off can sometimes be a daunting task. People can be prevented from studying due to various reasons such as work commitments, health issues and looking after family. Whatever the reason, here is our advice to ease you into studying your course again with confidence:

Think ahead

The first thing to check is when you enrolled and the date of your deadline. ILSPA’s courses must be completed within one year. You will need to assess how much time you have left and make sure that you set aside ample time each week for your studies so that you can complete the course within the timescale required. ILSPA offers a 3 month extension to students in extenuating circumstances. If you think you need additional time in which to complete your course, please contact us to apply for an extension.

Make a study timetable  

Podcasts for Legal Secretaries and PAs

Podcasts are a fantastic resource and so easy to listen to during your everyday life. Here are some of the best podcasts for Legal Secretaries and PAs:

The Assistant Room Podcast

Each episode presents Jess Gardiner, founder of The Assistant Room, talking to a different professional about their work, their career and their success stories in the PA sector. Starting life as an article feature on the site called ‘The PA Diaries’, this podcast is great for ambitious PAs. Not only is it inspiring and enjoyable, but it is also full of useful advice and tips.

Law Pod UK

Law Pod UK covers developments across all aspects of civil and public law in the UK. Although hosted by Lawyers, it is a fantastic podcast for anyone with an interest in law. It will help Legal Secretaries and PAs stay up to date with news and legal updates.

The Admin Allies