PA of the Year 2019 Finalist - Eleanor Lawson, Legal PA at DWF Law LLP

On November 7th, the UK’s most talented PAs, EAs and Office Managers gathered at London’s Ivy restaurant for the PA of the Year Awards 2019.

Event host SecsintheCity caught up with Legal PA of the Year finalist Eleanor Lawson to find out more about her role at DWF Law LLP, her experience of the Awards and her advice to aspiring Legal PAs.

How did you become a Legal PA?

After finishing my A-levels, I decided I didn't want to go to university, so I applied for a job as an Apprentice Business Administrator at DWF Law LLP. After completing my apprenticeship, a vacancy for a Personal Assistant became available in my team – Corporate – and I was offered the role and promoted.

What do you love about being a Legal PA?

Whose File is it Anyway? Releasing a Client's Papers

On occasion, a solicitor’s firm may find itself in dispute with its own client. This can happen, say, in a case where there is a disagreement over the legal bill or when a client wishes to change advisors. In these types of situations, a firm may find a client demanding that “their” file be released but the firm is reluctant to do so immediately (particularly where a legal bill is in dispute). In cases such as these it may be necessary to consider who owns the file, what the contract between the parties says, and what personal data a client may be entitled to.

Ownership – When a solicitor acts in a case, the documents which are created fall into two categories:  

a) Those where the solicitor is acting as a professional advisor; and

b) Those where the solicitor is acting as an agent.

Is Your Membership Up to Date?

Membership Level

ILSPA offers four levels of Membership dependent on your qualifications and experience. If you have recently qualified with ILSPA or you have been working as a Legal Secretary for a few years since you first applied for Membership, you can upgrade your Membership level.

Those who have passed the Legal Secretaries Diploma course are eligible for Affiliate Membership, which shows employers that you are a qualified Legal Secretary. Keep this in mind when renewing your Membership with us. Once renewed, you will receive an attractive Affiliate Membership certificate, which you can show to employers or put in a frame on the wall.

How to Work With Different Management Styles

We don’t always get to choose who our boss/executive is, much less their leadership style, in fact, when you interviewed for the role, they might not have even be involved. So, you walk in on your first day with no clue what to expect, its potluck if both your styles of working are going to gel. Maybe that is not the most efficient way to recruit a PA or EA but is it often the case. You may find yourself working with someone who has a leadership style you haven’t dealt with before or don’t particularly want to deal with! Help is at hand because once you accept that you can’t change them, you can only change how you work with them, it becomes easier. 

Legal Secretary Vacancies November 2019

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

Legal Secretary – Darton Law Ltd   

Location: Ashford, Middlesex

Salary: £18,000 - £24,000 DOE

Darton Law Ltd, a firm based in lower Feltham and Ashford (Middlesex) high street, seek to recruit a Legal Secretary to join their team. The role would be supporting fee earners in the areas of Criminal, Civil, Family Law, conveyancing and wills & probate. The role will be based at the Ashford office.

View the full job description here:  

Legal Secretary – Matthew Waite & Co  

Location: Tring, Hertfordshire

Technology for Legal Secretaries

It will come as no surprise to those reading this article that Legal Secretaries need to be good with technology. A Legal Secretary’s role is primarily computer-based. It is automatically expected that they will have skills such as fast and accurate typing, a good understanding of commonly used computer programs and knowledge of how to use standard office equipment. Technology is a big part of their day-to-day role, and the right technology can make the position a whole lot easier. But what is the top tech, or more particularly the top programs that a Legal Secretary should know? We spoke to working Legal Secretaries to see what their favourite programs and apps are, and to gain some insight into the main technology they rely on each day.

Microsoft Office

Study Methods – Kinetic Learners

So far in our series looking at different learning methods, we have looked at both visual and audible learners. This month we will be taking a closer look and discussing the best study methods for kinetic learners.

As the word ‘kinetic’ suggests, this type of learner processes information by movement. They find it easier to learn and remember things when they are physically engaged and actively participating in what they are learning. You may think a legal qualification like a Legal Secretaries Diploma, which is traditionally considered a ‘book-based’ subject, would be difficult for people who need to be more active and practical in their learning style. However, you will see that there are some great ways to adapt your study practices to make yourself more active even when you’re studying from written course materials.

How to Write a Resignation Letter

When you feel it’s coming to the end of your time at a company, a resignation letter may be the resource you need to finalise your contract. It can be a nerve-wracking process. After all, you don’t want to offend anybody, and you have to get some important information across.

It’s not a legal obligation to write a resignation letter, however it is a polite, informative and decisive way to let your manager know that you have decided to move on. With that in mind, it’s important to get the written content right. So, how can you?

Target it

As mentioned, it’s likely it’s your manager you are going to write it to. No matter what your relationship is like with them, the letter still needs to be professionally addressed in a clear and concise manner. The last thing you want is it landing on the wrong desk.

Why Now is the Best Time of Year to Job Hunt

Do you know when the best time of year to job hunt is? With summer holidays having drawn to a close and schools back in session, the momentum in business begins to build back up as executives ready themselves for the final push before the years’ end. If you’re searching for the next step in your career, there’s a good chance you’re wondering when the best time of year to job hunt is. Perhaps you’ve been told to hold fire by colleagues concerned that employers are solely focused on tying up loose ends – in fact, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

What is a Legal Assistant?

Legal Assistants are essential and valuable people in the legal industry. They provide support to Lawyers and work alongside them by performing important administrative and clerical duties. They are required to have a strong knowledge of legal terms, procedures and documentation.

Legal Assistants may work with a single Lawyer, a specific practice or a group of Lawyers depending on the firm, or the size of an individual case.

Legal Assistant Duties

The preparation of legal documents which can include;