An Interview with Leah Taylor - New Legal Secretary at Clifford Chance

When Leah Taylor decided to finally pursue her goal of becoming a Legal Secretary, the first thing she did was enrol on ILSPA’s Legal Secretaries Diploma course. Upon completion of her qualification, Leah secured a fantastic role at Clifford Chance. We caught up with her to find out all about her new position; how she secured the job and how she is using the knowledge and skills gained through the Diploma in her work.  

What did you do prior to studying to become a Legal Secretary? 

I worked for a business travel management company. My main role was to provide administrative assistance, but I also carried out a few other duties including covering reception and PA assistance for the Managing Director. 

What made you decide to retrain and enter the legal profession? 

I had always had an interest in training to be a Legal Secretary; however, as it does, life got in the way, and it was something I kept thinking I would do “one day”. I also envisioned training as a Legal Secretary would be time-consuming and costly. I reached a point where I felt like I had achieved all I could at that company. I needed a role which would offer me a long-term challenge and plenty of progression opportunities.  

After completing your qualification, what steps did you take to secure your first Legal Secretary role? And do you feel your qualification was beneficial during your job search? 

I tried to keep an eye on the Legal Secretary job market while I was training. I felt that it would better prepare me for when the time came to start searching. Other steps I took once qualified included fine-tuning my CV and looking at what skills I had already gained which could be considered transferable as a Legal Secretary, and I often checked LinkedIn and used filters to narrow down my job search. Finally, I signed up with one or two recruitment agencies which specialised in the law industry. I found that they gave me great advice regarding interview techniques, alongside helping find me some interviews to attend. My qualification was definitely beneficial. Most companies required some type of Legal Secretary qualification and all were familiar with my particular one from ILSPA.  

What advice would you give a newly qualified Legal Secretary to help them secure their first role? 

Be persistent and patient. I didn’t expect to land a role straight away and I think that helped with my confidence, as I didn’t put too much pressure on myself. I had a couple of interviews where I didn’t even reach the second stage. Also, if you do not get selected for an interview at all, don’t let it shy you away from reapplying again if a similar role is advertised in the future. I applied for my current role once before, but only a few months later when I applied a second time did I receive an interview – and subsequently get the job!  

Can you tell us a bit about your current position?  

My role at Clifford Chance is based in the Capital Markets department, working within the Legal Service Centre. We are a small team and mainly assist trainee Lawyers and Associates, but occasionally Partners and their Legal Secretaries too. It’s a really well-rounded role which has exposed me to many different aspects of being a Legal Secretary. 

What parts of your course do you use in your role? 

The course definitely made me feel more confident. I felt much more familiar with legal terminology and what was expected of me. It also helped test my attention to detail, which I feel is very important as a Legal Secretary.  

What are your goals for the future?  

I’m currently on a 4-month secondment at my company, working with and assisting the Events department. It’s been a great way to get to see the company from a business development angle. I hope to complete this secondment successfully, and after I will return to my previous role at the company. I hope to gain more confidence as a Legal Secretary and progress from my junior role at the company to the next level up.  

Here at ILSPA, we love to hear our Students’ success stories and follow their careers after they complete their studies. We wish Leah all the best in her new role and look forward to seeing her career progress. If you are interested in studying to become a Legal Secretary like Leah, please take a look at our course page. Students receive one year’s free Membership as part of their enrolment, which includes the use of our guidance to secure employment and CV help service. To find out more about our Membership benefits and how we can help you with your career, take a look at our Membership page.