People expect to find Legal Secretaries, PAs and Assistants in Law Firms but there are so many other businesses that also need legal teams. Speaking to Megan about her role at Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company was incredibly interesting; it was fantastic to hear about her career progression and how she has applied her legal skills in such a well-known company.
How did you first enter the legal profession?
I completed my Level 3 Business Administration apprenticeship 4 months early and decided to apply for jobs elsewhere to broaden my horizons. I had two interviews at Marston's Plc whereby I ended up being offered the Legal Administration job, which I knew I couldn't turn down. I felt incredibly lucky to work within a Legal team without any prior Legal qualifications and knew that I would learn so much from the people around me.
Your career has progressed so much since your first role. Can you tell us about your current position?
I began working as a Legal Administrator in December 2019 and was promoted to 'Legal Assistant' in June 2022 after taking on more responsibilities. My newest responsibilities at the time included: drafting commercial contracts independently, assisting with projects/integration and beginning to work with the Litigation/Recoveries team (including managing my own cases whilst being mentored by a Senior Legal Counsel).
What do you enjoy most about where you work?
The majority of my team have worked for Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company for over 10 years, so I know it's a very stable company to work for, as well as everyone being very friendly and supportive. I also appreciate the work-life balance that comes with my job role and being able to learn so many different areas of law as we are an in-house legal team.
What made you decide to study ILSPA's Legal Secretaries Diploma?
I don't have any legal qualifications and I felt as if I was moving into more of a legal role, rather than an administration role, so I wanted to learn as much as possible about different areas of law and have a qualification to support my work. It also allows me to understand terminology that my team regularly uses and explore which area(s) of law I prefer.
How are you able to use the knowledge and skills you have gained in your role?
There are some areas of the ILSPA qualification that I won't deal with in my current role due to the type of business that I work in, however I still find it really useful in my personal life to have an understanding of areas such as Family Law and Wills and Probate. Law of Contract & Tort and Civil Litigation are areas that I work in daily in my current role, so understanding more terminology, documentation and processes (including related cases) in these areas has really allowed me to flourish.
What are your future career goals?
I am currently enjoying working as a Legal Assistant as it allows me to work with multiple Legal Counsels and Senior Legal Counsels in our team, who all have extensive knowledge of different areas such as: commercial, litigation, marketing, procurement and data protection. However, I am personally enjoying working on litigation cases the most as it feels as though this suits my skill set and 'administration brain'. My ILSPA course finished in July 2023, after which I will look into various paths to becoming further qualified and perhaps increasing my current responsibilities/role within my workplace, if possible.
What advice would you give Legal Assistants who are just starting their careers?
Ask questions! It is a great opportunity to learn as much as you can from people who are further qualified than you and/or have been working in the legal field for a long period of time. I'd also say that in my experience, beginning as an Administrator with no legal qualification, it is easy to feel like an imposter, but I have to remember that I have worked hard to get where I am in such a short space of time and that it will pay off, even if some luck did come into it!
If you are interested in studying ILSPA’s Legal Secretaries Diploma course, like Megan, please take a look at our course page. Students receive one year’s free Membership of the Institute, which includes guidance to secure employment and our 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.