How to Optimise Your Remote Workspace

It is looking increasingly likely that many of us will be working from home until at least Spring 2021. What’s more, 93% of respondents who took part in our recent working from home survey agree that they would like the opportunity to regularly work remotely once office work resumes.

Although working from the sofa or in our bedrooms was great in the beginning, the novelty of this is rapidly wearing off. We’re starting to realise that we need a working set-up with more longevity in order to increase productivity, improve comfort and avoid injury when working from home. With remote working becoming the new norm, it’s time to look at how we can improve our home workspace in order to work more effectively from home.

TotallyLegal has come up with four tips to help you optimise your home workspace.

1.Invest in your physical set-up

2. Have a designated workspace

3. Purchase a webcam

4. Upgrade your Wi-Fi

Invest in your physical set-up

How to Create an Effective Study Schedule

If you regularly read our journal, you will have probably heard us use the term study schedule before. The benefits of organising your study time so that you stay on track are pretty obvious. Study schedules help you stay on top of your workload, avoid stress and help you meet targets. They also help you fit studying around your other commitments and allow you to have regular down-time to recharge, without falling behind. These things are all important to ensure that you study effectively and do the best you possibly can in your qualification. 

But how do you create a study schedule? Here are some steps for creating a schedule that will work for you. 

Work backwards

The Power of Learning as an Assistant 

If you are not sure where to start your learning journey, then I suggest you ask yourself what role you want to be in three to five years’ time. What industry do you see yourself in? What new responsibilities would you like? What does your future role look like?  It could be that you are in the same role, but you want to be more confident and be operating at a higher level.  Having an idea of what you want your career to look like in the future will help shape a career plan and focus your learning to achieve these objectives. 

There are two main areas where you may want to focus your learning and development:

Hard skills: This covers some of the fundamentals of our role and could include improving minute taking, mastering Excel or being the wizard of Outlook or Gmail. I like to think of this as being “brilliant at the basics”.  We need to be gurus in the existing and future tech that we use because we are the first person that our Executive will call when something doesn’t work. It’s important to keep your IT skills up to scratch. Saying “I am not a techie” will not get you very far in today’s competitive job market. 

LawCare Launches Groundbreaking Research Study ‘Life in the Law’

Legal mental health charity LawCare has announced a new groundbreaking research study “Life in the Law”.  

The charity has teamed up with leading academics in the field Dr Emma Jones (University of Sheffield), Professor Richard Collier (University of Newcastle), Caroline Strevens (Reader in Legal Education, University of Portsmouth) and Lucinda Soon (Solicitor and PhD researcher), along with Nick Bloy (Executive Coach and founder of Wellbeing Republic) and Kayleigh Leonie (LawCare trustee and solicitor) to develop the research study which will look at the impact of work culture and working practices on the well-being of legal professionals. The research seeks to understand the day-to-day realities of life in the law and uses three academic research scales for burnout, psychological safety and autonomy. Anyone working in the legal industry can complete the online questionnaire across the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man. The results will form the basis of an academic paper and will be announced next year. LawCare is particularly interested in hearing the views and feedback from legal support staff such as Legal Secretaries and PAs.   

SecsintheCity Announces PA of the Year Awards 2020 Winners

On Thursday 12 November 2020, SecsintheCity, the UK’s only dedicated job site for business support professionals, hosted its annual PA of the Year Awards. Now in its ninth consecutive year, the Awards are an iconic celebration of the essential role that Personal Assistants, Executive Assistants and Office Managers provide to the companies and individuals they work for. 

Sarah EL-Doori, Marketing Director of Reach Work and PA of the Year Awards judge, explains that “the aim of the Awards is to champion the profession and acknowledge the significant contribution that PAs and EAs make, especially in these immensely challenging times.” 

The Awards ceremony, which usually takes place at The Ivy in London, was held virtually, with finalists and their bosses fully embracing the event’s traditional black-tie dress code. 

SecsintheCity received over 600 nominations by and on behalf of PAs and EAs, which judges whittled down to 20 finalists across three categories: PA of the Year, Legal PA of the Year and Office Manager of the Year, and an Outstanding Achievement Award. 

5 Critical Differences Between the Legal Systems in the USA and the UK

As the professional body for Legal Secretaries and PAs in the UK, ILSPA provides courses which are based on the English Legal System. However, one of the fascinating things about law and the legal sector in general is the variation between different legal systems and how they operate around the world. 

ILSPA’s partner, Simply Law Jobs, recently caught up with Russell Michelson from Jezic & Moyse to discover the five critical differences between the legal systems in the USA and the UK:

The USA’s and UK’s current legal systems have evolved from the same common law. Both countries share similarities when it comes to proceedings, presenting evidence, and rulings. However, as far back as the Bill of Rights being added to the US Constitution, certain distinctions grew in the legal systems of the two countries.

Legal Secretary Vacancies December 2020

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

Legal Secretary – Wills & Probate – Campbell Hooper & Co LLP

Location: Sunningdale, Berkshire

Salary: Competitive

An opportunity has arisen for an experienced legal secretary, with a background in wills and probate, to join a friendly and flexible firm on the Berkshire/Surrey borders.

The position would involve supporting and assisting the wills, probate and conveyancing partner in all aspects of their work including wills, powers of attorney, probate, administration of estates and conveyancing.

View the full job description here:             

https://www.institutelegalsecretaries.com/jobs/candidate/job/174069/  

Legal Assistant/Secretary - Top Firm!

Location: Manchester

Salary: £23,000 - £26,000

A highly organised and effective legal assistant is required, who enjoys working with a hands on and practical approach and is motivated to work as part of a team in a highly successful firm. 

Statements of Truth Update

As part of the regular updates made to the Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (CPR), there was recently a significant change made to the wording used for statements of truth. This month we will look at why statements of truth are important and explain what has changed. 

Why are statements of truth important? 

Statements of truth are used in virtually all statements of case. If you have studied ILSPA’s Legal Secretaries Diploma, you will remember that a statement of case includes any document that makes up part of the “story” of your case. So if you are making a claim, the claim form you submit must include a signed statement of truth. If you are defending a claim, then your defence must be verified by a signed statement. Virtually every document submitted to court that helps support your version of events (e.g. witness statements, schedules and disclosure lists) relies on the use of a statement to assure the court that the details are true.   

How to Have an Eco-Friendly Christmas

Christmas is a period of great indulgence, from the food that we consume to the products we buy as presents for our loved ones. During this special time of the year, we have an opportunity to reduce our impact on the planet by choosing eco-friendly options. 

Trees

It is estimated that 7 to 8 million Christmas trees are dumped in the UK every year. If you chose to buy a real tree, get one which has roots so you can replant it in your garden after Christmas. When buying a tree without roots, make sure that you chop it up and burn it on a bonfire or take it to the local recycling centre where it can be added to the other green waste after you have finished with it. Christmas tree rental is also becoming popular in the UK, where you can have a tree delivered to you. It is then picked up after the celebrations have ended and lovingly cared for until it is hired again the following year.

Wrapping

Thriving in a Remote World

With everyone in the legal profession settling into a new remote-working normal, we will consider how you can enhance your skills when it comes to job hunting and interviewing online.

Starting on a positive note, the legal industry is generally very resilient even in uncertain times, so there is no reason to put off job hunting even if the general economy is struggling to get back to normal. You should prepare to be more patient as those who are recruiting for law firms are also trying to get to grips with juggling a new remote workforce. It may take some HR teams time to adjust to new technology and work routines, but this could be time that you spend developing your online skills.

Two skills that have always been key to obtaining a job in the legal sector are your ability to network and come across well in interview. Neither of these activities are necessarily made any easier by doing them online, so we have some suggestions on how you can make more of an impact in a digital world.

Networking