2021

6 Resources That Every ILSPA Student Should Utilise

Are you a Student currently enrolled on a course with ILSPA? ILSPA’s Legal Secretaries Diploma and Single Subject Legal Courses are excellent qualifications that will teach you the legal knowledge and procedures you need to become a competent and successful Legal Secretary.

We would like to highlight some other resources that will complement your studies by giving you access to even more knowledge, learning and support.

ILSPA’s Glossary of Legal Terminology

You may have spotted this in the Introduction module of the Legal Secretaries Diploma course material. Single Subject Students may not be aware that they can also access this document in the Student Resources section found at the bottom of our online Student and Member Area home page.

The Legal Glossary is an essential aid for your studies. It allows you to easily look up and understand the correct legal terminology throughout your course and your career. Being comfortable with legal terminology will not only benefit your studies but it will also set you apart as a confident Legal Secretary.

Could You Wear the Same Outfit for a Month?

It sounds like a difficult task, doesn’t it? Questions might pop into your head like “How would I keep it clean?” or “What will people think of me?” However, Marina Testino put her reservations aside and did exactly that. Her intention was to dispel the belief that we need to continually wear new clothes to keep up with fashion, and she simply wore the same red suit for one month. Whilst finding it liberating not having to choose something different to wear each day, she made an important statement about consumerism. There is a lot to be said for keeping things simple. You can find Marina on Instagram @ #onedresstoimpress.

The fashion industry is considered to be the second largest polluter in the world, after the oil industry. All too often, we can be guilty of going shopping when we need to lift our mood or we want to impress others. Whilst wearing the same outfit for a month might not be appealing, there are many ways in which we can reduce our footprint when it comes to fashion. Here are some ideas.

Buy second-hand clothes

You’re Invited to LegalEx 2021

ILSPA has partnered up with LegalEx as it makes its much-anticipated return as a live event this year.

LegalEx 2021, taking place on July 7 & 8 at ExCeL London, is the must-attend event to meet industry thought leaders, regulators at the forefront of legislation and code of conduct changes, and experts in client success, technology and business development.

Your FREE registration gives you access to two days of educational seminars from some of the world’s top legal experts, innovators and forward-thinking speakers. Criminal barrister and TV host Robert Rinder will be discussing why legal aid is in crisis and what we, the legal community, can do about it, while I. Stephanie Boyce, President of the Law Society, will be discussing diversity and inclusion within the legal sector and the role technology plays in terms of access to justice, digital engagement, mental health and the rule of law.

Tips for Effective Legal Writing

Good writing skills are fundamental for any Legal Secretary. Most jobs in the legal sector will have some reference in the job description to “excellent communication skills” and this will include written communication. Even if writing skills are not specified, a high standard will still be expected.

We would like to give you some tips to help you spot good legal writing, as well as provide suggestions on how you can improve your own and the standard of others’ written communication.

Keep errers in cheque?

Perhaps the sub-heading speaks volumes about how simple writing errors can totally change your view of how competent someone, or an organisation, is. Errors in language are a “red button” issue for Legal Secretaries as part of what they are paid to do is have an eye for detail. A lack of attention to grammar, punctuation and spelling will be treated seriously. If you produce documents full of mistakes, then not only will the firm’s professional image be dented but the quality of the advice may be questioned.

Magic and Silver Circle Law Firms: What You Need to Know

For those seeking employment in the legal sector, there are few destinations more prestigious than the “Magic Circle” and “Silver Circle” law firms. These organisations are famous around the world, with hard-earned reputations for excellence.

This select group of legal firms have become widely known for their commitment to the very highest standards of performance and success. As such, obtaining a role with these companies can be seen as a real marker of accomplishment for the UK’s most skilled legal professionals.

Here, we explore the firms that comprise the Magic Circle and Silver Circle, looking at what differentiates these organisations and what is expected of those chosen to represent these firms.

What is the Magic Circle?

The term “Magic Circle” was first coined by the legal media in the 1990s to describe the most prestigious, high-performing law firms in London. All the members of the Magic Circle are known for their high-profile corporate and finance work, overseeing multi-billion-pound transactions and delivering the highest earnings per lawyer of any law firm headquartered in the UK.

The Art of Concentration

The art of concentration is an important skill to master. Whether for studying, working or managing your home life, being able to concentrate and focus when you need to is often essential. This is especially true in roles such as that of a Legal Secretary, where attention to detail and fine-tuned organisation are paramount. There is so much advice out there on how to improve concentration. You may already be familiar with tips such as taking breaks, removing distractions and creating a designated work/study environment. These things often seem like common sense, and many people try their hardest to implement them, but are they enough?

You would definitely not be alone in finding that despite your best efforts, your concentration is still sometimes lacking. The fact is that a person’s ability to concentrate, and do it well, is often innate. No matter how much you work on controlling the external factors, there will still be things that you are not even aware of working against your being able to concentrate.

In this article we discuss these important internal factors that are often overlooked.

Constant sensory input

Legal Secretary Vacancies June 2021

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

Legal Secretary – Larbey Evans Ltd

Location: Bristol

Salary: Up to £30,000 + Fantastic Benefits

National law firm is looking to hire a new Legal Secretary/PA to join their busy Professional & Financial Risks Group.

Applicants require previous Legal PA experience, must have excellent client care and organisation skills, as well as a proactive attitude.

View the full job description here:           

https://www.institutelegalsecretaries.com/jobs/candidate/job/175056/

Residential and Commercial Property Secretary– Vivash Brand LLP

Location: Sutton

Salary: £22,000

This role will be to assist Fee Earners within the property department with busy, mixed property caseloads in their day-to-day work by providing support and an efficient secretarial and administrative service. The role demands a high standard of English grammar and excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to work on own initiative and to a high standard.

Executive Support Events Presents ES Tech

Technical skills are number three in the top 10 skills required for Legal Secretaries. Many Fee Earners expect their Legal Secretaries to be tech-savvy in order to ensure they can use the relevant legal technology to perform their tasks efficiently. ES Tech will feature two days of intensive training, workshops, keynotes, product focuses, case studies and networking opportunities guaranteed to upskill any Legal Secretary.

The online event will take place over 15 and 16 September 2021. It will include:

Mental Health Awareness Week

We can all agree that mental health is an important topic. But how many of us are actively prioritising it in our daily work routine? In honour of Mental Health Awareness Week, 10 – 16 May 2021, we want to share some simple things that you can incorporate into your day to help your mental wellbeing.

Get out into nature

This year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Week is “nature”. Nature has many restorative and healthful properties. It is proven to reduce stress and anxiety. LawCare, an association that offers emotional support for legal professionals, explains that as workers in a busy sector, “we often think we don’t have time to take a proper break during the working day, but having a break outside can make all the difference to your productivity and give you perspective on a work issue. Researchers found that time spent in nature can renew our attention spans when they are flagging after a hard day’s work or an extended period staring at a screen – this is known as Attention Restoration Therapy (ART).

Take a break

SecsintheCity Launches 10th Annual PA of the Year Awards

The UK’s only dedicated business support job board, SecsintheCity, has just opened nominations for its 10th annual PA of the Year Awards. If you’re a Personal Assistant (PA), Executive Assistant (EA), Legal PA or Office Manager, you could be the winner of one of these momentous accolades.

Nominations are now open for the 2021 PA of the Year Awards, an annual celebration of the essential support provided by PAs and EAs to the businesses and individuals they work for.

PA of the Year Award nominations will close on 10 September 2021, after which our judging panel will interview a shortlist of finalists to select a winner in each of the following categories:

  • PA of the Year
  • Legal PA of the Year
  • Office Manager of the Year

 

Sarah EL-Doori, Marketing Director at SecsintheCity, said the awards are designed “to champion the profession. As the role continues to evolve, it’s vital that PAs and EAs recognise the value they bring to their managers, teams and organisations.”

Why nominate for the PA of the Year Awards 2021?

Winning a PA of the Year Award is the ultimate recognition of your hard work and achievements as a business support professional.

The Best Legal Secretary CVs on the Market

Working on the business support offering at Interlink Recruitment has exposed me to many curriculum vitae (CVs) from Legal Secretaries and Legal Personal Assistants (PAs). In this article, I will be exploring what makes a fantastic CV for a Legal Secretary or Legal PA and what in particular makes a candidate stand out to me when sourcing for roles.

A key attribute I look out for when sourcing appropriate candidates for a more senior Legal Secretary position is how their experience aligns with the role. Law firms are often looking for immediate assistance within their existing departments and, therefore, would prefer a candidate with the relevant experience within that practice area. The reason for this is that having experience working in a practice area means that the candidate is competent working with certain legal documents and processes, making it far easier for them to assist effectively.

Although having that experience is an advantage, it is not always a requirement. There are often many transferable skills that can be applied to a practice area regardless of whether a candidate has worked within it before.

Unexpected Positives of the Past Year Within the Legal Profession

This past year has seen some unprecedented changes and unpredictable moments for most of us, in both our working and personal lives. As restrictions continue to ease and life slowly starts to shift back to “normal”, we would like to reflect on the past year. Here at ILSPA, we believe that it is important to find and focus on positives. So in the interest of inspiring and uplifting our Students and Members, we want to share some unexpected positives that have been happening in our profession over the past year.          

Recruitment

After slowing down this past year, we are now seeing a rise in recruitment and positions needing to be filled. Many companies continued to recruit throughout the pandemic and adapted their recruitment, interviewing and onboarding processes to meet their needs during the lockdowns. As time has gone on, other firms have adopted these new methods also, and we have seen some exciting changes to legal recruitment. 

Will Electronic Signatures Become the Norm?

Some changes have been made as to how important conveyancing documents are lawfully signed. These changes were made early in the novel coronavirus lockdown, but they may become a permanent feature of conveyancing practice. 

Since July 2020, HM Land Registry has been accepting electronic signatures. This is not something totally new. One form of electronic signature, the digital signature, has been legally enabled since the Land Registration Act 2002. What has changed is the high level of take-up by the profession since last year. During the lockdowns of the past year, the benefit of using remote signature methods is obvious. Perhaps what has also driven this change is that the use of a simpler type of witnessed electronic signature has been permitted. The term “electronic signature” can cover:

  • A simple replacement of a wet signature, which is easy to do but is potentially less secure. This would include witnessed electronic signatures and “mercury” signatures (described in more detail below).
  • A “digital signature” as permitted since 2002 involves a process that positively identifies the signatory and encrypts documents so they cannot be altered.

 

An Interview with ILSPA Student Vicky Cons

Vicky Cons was working as a full-time Team Manager at Tesco when she decided to take the plunge and begin her studies to become a Legal Secretary. Little did she know that soon after starting her studies the world would go into lockdown. Clearly not one to be deterred, Vicky continued to work full time as a key worker throughout the pandemic. She completed ILSPA’s Legal Secretaries Diploma with a distinction and secured her first Legal Secretary role while still waiting for her results.

Vicky kindly took the time to speak to ILSPA about how she found her studies and looking for work during the pandemic. She also provided some great advice for Students who plan to look for work before they have completed the course.

What were you doing before studying with ILSPA?

Before and during studying with ILSPA, I worked at Tesco as a Team Manager full time.

What was it about being a Legal Secretary that interested you, and why did you decide to study ILSPA’s Legal Secretaries Diploma?

Guilt-Free Flying on the Horizon

We are all hopeful that the lockdown restrictions will be a thing of the past soon and we will be able to return to our normal way of living. This includes going on holiday and flying to our favourite destinations. However, many of us have heard about climate change and how the aviation industry plays a major part in contributing to damaging CO2 emissions. This puts us in a bit of a dilemma, as whilst we would love to jet off to sunnier climates, we also don’t want to harm the planet.

This may be something we will not have to face for much longer though. A new jet fuel has been developed from food waste through biorefining. The developers of the paraffin-like fuel believe that it will significantly reduce greenhouse gases, as it stops kerosene emissions and means that not as much food waste will go to landfill, where it produces methane.

The UK government’s aim is to reach net zero emissions by the year 2050. In fact, the UK was the first country to pass laws to end its contribution to global warming and has one of the most ambitious targets in the world. It intends to do this through schemes that offset greenhouse gases like planting trees and capturing and storing carbon.

How to Negotiate Your Salary for a New Job

In a job interview, the question about salary expectations is a loaded one. Talking about money is awkward at the best of times, but in an interview situation, it can be particularly tricky.

In a nutshell, while honesty is important, it’s better to avoid giving a specific figure. Give one that’s too high and you’ll quote yourself out of the role, too low and you’ll shoot yourself in the foot.

To navigate the question successfully and minimise embarrassment all around, there are a few steps you can take in advance of the interview.

Understand the question

First, you need to know the multitude of reasons interviewers ask this question. The obvious one is “to know the amount they’ll need to pay you”, but it’s not as straightforward as that.

What they really want to know is whether they can afford you. If you give the impression you’re too expensive, you might get yourself knocked out of the ring prematurely. But they also want to know how much you value and assert yourself, so if you price yourself too low, it could raise doubts about your self-worth or confidence level.

Improving Your English

Learning a new language as an adult is always a daunting challenge.

You might have spent years learning a new language and, finally, you have the opportunity to use these new skills in your career. Making sure that you have a high level of English aptitude is important for communicating with clients and producing important documentation.

Take a look at some of our strategies that you can implement in your daily life to improve your English skills.

Speaking English fluently

Language learners are often intimidated by communicating with native speakers in their language.

Don’t be afraid to jump into the deep end. The quickest and best way to improve your speaking fluency is to immerse yourself in the language as much as possible.

Some ways to improve speaking fluency in your daily life:

Joelson to Provide Mentoring Scheme to ILSPA Students

The Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs is delighted to announce that Joelson will be offering mentoring to three lucky Students.

Founded in 1956 (as Joelson Wilson), Joelson is a top-ranked, multidisciplinary law firm providing first-class, partner-led services to their clients. Their services cover many sectors, including property, litigation, and corporate and commercial law. Joelson’s offices are based in Central London, although they act for clients internationally throughout Europe and all over the world. They have well-established relationships with firms throughout Europe, China and the US.

Many of Joelson’s lawyers and support staff have worked at the firm for many years, which has led to a family atmosphere. In turn, this has helped the firm provide an effective, friendly service and develop long-standing relationships with their clients. They are now looking to apply this inclusive and supportive approach to the mentoring scheme.

The mentoring will take place over a 12-month period and happen alongside ILSPA studies. It will include the following:

17 Diary Management Tips for Busy PAs

Personal Assistant diary management is a huge task. Some employers have complex and often overwhelming diaries which can take up huge chunks of your time.

To be a successful PA, it’s imperative to be able to stay on top of your boss’s diary; otherwise, it could lead to missed appointments or important life events. So, what can you do to achieve highly effective PA diary management?

In this article, we share our very best diary management tips for PAs.

What is diary management?

Diary management involves managing the diary and day-to-day life of a business leader. While this task may appear rather straightforward, there’s a lot more to it than simply keeping track of important events.

Key PA diary management tasks can involve:

Legal Secretary Vacancies April 2021

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

Float Secretary – Pickerings Solicitors

Location: Tamworth

Salary: Dependent on experience

Pickerings Solicitors is looking for an experienced Legal Secretary to join their team.    

The job holder will provide secretarial and administrative support to various departments, as and when needed, and will assist fee earners in delivering a high-quality legal service to our clients.  Responsibilities include client liaison, organising meetings, audio and copy typing, file opening, filing and the completion of legal forms.           

View the full job description here:           

https://www.institutelegalsecretaries.com/jobs/candidate/job/174671/

Part Time Legal Secretary – Divorce and Finance Team – Pickerings Solicitors

Location: Tamworth

Salary: Dependent of experience

Pickerings Solicitors currently has a vacancy for a part time Legal Secretary to join their Divorce and Finance team. They are ideally looking for someone who can work 21 hours per week across 3-5 days. 

Legal Secretary Vacancies May 2021

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

Legal Secretary – Highgate Hill Solicitors

Location: London

Salary: Market Competitive

Legal secretary urgently required to work in a dynamic law firm with a market competitive salary.

View the full job description here:           

https://www.institutelegalsecretaries.com/jobs/candidate/job/174778/

Residential and Commercial Property Secretary– Vivash Brand LLP

Location: Sutton

Salary: £22,000

This role will be to assist Fee Earners within the property department with busy, mixed property caseloads in their day-to-day work by providing support and an efficient secretarial and administrative service. The role demands a high standard of English grammar and excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to work on own initiative and to a high standard.

View the full job description here:           

https://www.institutelegalsecretaries.com/jobs/candidate/job/174856/

Conveyancing Legal Secretary – Slater Bradley & Co

Developing Skills for Success

We would like to highlight five key skills you can develop to ensure success in your career. Some of these skills are not exclusive to law, and you may already possess strengths in these areas. If you identify a skill that you need to work on, consider following some of the tips as a starting point for creating your own personal development plan.

 

Working in a team

Being able to work as part of a team is essential to any job. Within a team, basic skills of respect and empathy are essential. You will need to have the ability to listen and take on board the opinions and advice of others. If your colleagues are able to work well with you, you create a positive and trustworthy reputation for yourself. This can enable you to progress in your career not only through the confidence you gain but also in how you are viewed by your employer.

While many professionals are working from home at the moment, it is still possible for you to make a positive contribution to your team remotely. Every interaction you have with your colleagues, whether it is via email, telephone or Zoom, can lead to a stronger relationship with them.

Developing initiative

Everything You Need to Know About Working in a Temp Role

Working as a temp is a brilliant way to explore different industry sectors and positions, and to gain valuable skills and experience. Many of our candidates end up securing a permanent position through their temporary placements, rather than going through the normal interview process, so a temp position can be a great introduction. Temping offers flexibility to fit around other commitments or to fill a gap in between permanent employment while you are job hunting. Read on to explore how temping works and what the opportunities are for turning a temp job into a permanent position.

What is a temp role?

A temporary role is a short-term assignment where you are employed through a recruitment agency. How long a temp job will last depends on the needs of the company requiring temporary staff. Roles vary and can be fixed term, full time or part time. There are various reasons why a client might require temporary employees, which we explore below.

– To cover a leave of absence

How to Fix Mistakes and Learn from Failures as The Innovative Admin™

Admins are often expected to do their jobs perfectly, and with good cause – a single mistake can be costly to your company, your boss and your career. Yet The Innovative Admin knows that failure is a necessary and integral part of the innovation process. You don’t create and implement new ideas without things going wrong along the way.

The problem is we often confuse mistakes with failures when they are not exactly the same thing.

Mistakes are inaccuracies or errors that should have been caught. Typos in a document or misquoting information are mistakes. Mistakes can also be errors in judgement, poor decision-making, or misunderstanding a request or assignment. Missing a deadline or sending information to the wrong person also fall into the mistake category.

Failure is typically defined as a lack of success or may be related to underperforming. You didn’t accomplish something you set out to do. Author Seth Godin wrote, “A failure is a project that doesn’t work, an initiative that teaches you something. [Yet] at the same time the outcome [of your failure] doesn’t move you directly closer to your goal.” And it’s only when failures are repeated that they become mistakes.

Microsoft Office Specialist Courses – 50% Discount

Prodigy Learning has recently announced that it has added even more Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) courses to its website. As ILSPA Members receive an exclusive 50% discount on these courses, we want to take a moment to explain what is available, how these courses work and why now is a great time to improve your Microsoft Office skills.  

ILSPA Members can now buy self-paced courses to become an MOS in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook or Access for Office 2013, Office 2016 or the latest Office 365/2019 version. Additionally, for certain Office 365/2019 courses, you can choose whether to study at the Associate or Expert level. With this wide range of courses, there are now more options than ever to learn desirable Microsoft skills.

Prodigy Learning’s MOS courses come in the form of a Self-Start eKit. These eKits normally retail at £215, but ILSPA Members can purchase them for just £86 with an exclusive discount code. Having the courses in the form of eKits is both convenient and efficient. They can be studied remotely and at your own pace. Once a course is purchased, a link and activation code are provided via email.

Each MOS Self-Start eKit includes the following:

Response to COVID-19 Prompts Relaunch of Simply Law Jobs

Our industry partner, Simply Law Jobs, has announced that the legal job site is undergoing the biggest transformation in its 18-year history.

Based on in-depth research into the industry, as well as extensive feedback and insights provided by Simply Law Jobs’ clients and jobseekers, the site will be relaunched with a brand-new look, new and exciting features, and old favourites that have been updated or revamped.

The job site has been optimised so jobseekers and recruiters can connect in the quickest and easiest way possible. This includes better search filters, enhanced candidate profiles, prompts to provide better job advert descriptions, and an improved candidate management system to manage job applications more efficiently. 

The relaunch also aims to eliminate common bugbears of jobseekers, such as excessive time spent applying for vacancies and not hearing back from employers after applying for jobs.

Top 6 Legal Podcasts to Listen to in 2021

Podcasts are one of the most rapidly growing media forms of the 21st century. In 2020, an estimated 15.6 million listeners tuned in, with more than £33 million being spent on podcast advertising as businesses sought to capitalise on this boom.

For those with very little spare time on their hands – such as legal professionals – podcasts are an excellent way to digest information while going about everyday life. You can listen to a podcast while walking, running, commuting or cooking, and take in new and fascinating information in the process.

There is a plethora of excellent legal podcasts available in the UK, so it can be hard to know where to start. We’ve compiled a list of our top six legal podcasts to get you started.

UK Law Weekly

With episodes at just 10 minutes long, this legal podcast is served in perfect bite-sized chunks, allowing you to focus on and digest recent legal decisions and news. Hosted by Marcus Cleaver, a former university lecturer in law, the podcast concentrates on a different case each week, ranging from housing and immigration cases to international commercial patent controversies. If you’re curious about the particularities of cases, this legal podcast is for you.

More From Law with Harry Clark

Legal Secretary Vacancies March 2021

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

Legal Secretary – Brightstone Law LLP

Location: Elstree

Salary: £24,000 (Depending on experience)

A position has become available for a Legal Secretary to support fee earners across the firm, and in particular to the Wills and Probate department, to cover maternity leave for 6 months from the beginning of March 2021. The firm is based in Elstree, Hertfordshire.

View the full job description here:           

https://www.institutelegalsecretaries.com/jobs/candidate/job/174409/

Legal Secretary – Latham & Co

Location: Loughborough

Salary: £17,000-£19,000

Latham & Co are looking for a Legal Secretary with a whole range of excellent secretarial skills to work in the property team based at our Loughborough Office.

Experience in Residential and Commercial Property is desirable but not essential as training can be provided. Knowledge of the use of online services such as the Land Registry and HMRC would again be desirable but not essential.

View the full job description here:           

How to Complete ILSPA's Achievement Tests

If you are currently studying a Legal Secretary course with ILSPA, there is a high chance you will be required to submit at least one achievement test as part of your course. Achievement tests are designed to assess your legal knowledge and for you to show how well you have understood the course material. For this reason, they are a very important part of your course. Your achievement test result is a reflection of your grasp of a particular area of law and goes towards your final grade.

Here is some advice on how best to complete the achievement tests.

1. Study the course material thoroughly

This may seem obvious, but it is surprising how some people jump ahead to the test without studying properly. The goal of the achievement test is to assess your understanding of the information provided. You need to read (and reread) your course material until you feel confident in your understanding of it. Once you feel ready, you may take the test. As the tests are not timed, you may take as long as you need to complete them. Also, the tests are not done under examination conditions and are open book. This means that you may refer to your course material while answering the questions.

How to Get Your Career Back on Track After a COVID-19 Redundancy

The COVID-19 pandemic has created some difficult times for people around the world, but those who have lost their jobs due to the resulting economic downturn are among those who have been most seriously impacted. If this relates to you, these developments can feel devastating – but there are steps that you can take to accelerate your journey back to employment.

In most cases, those who have been made redundant as a result of COVID-19 will not have lost their jobs due to any problems with their job performance or capabilities. As such, even though the current jobs market may seem demanding, it is important to remember that your credentials are just as impressive as they ever were.

Those in this position should take a moment to consider a few simple pieces of advice that could potentially help them get their career back on track as soon as possible.

Make the right preparations when leaving your current role

If you have only recently received the news that you will be made redundant from your role, you are likely to still be experiencing some shock. However, it may be helpful to realise that there are steps you can take to ease your transition into the next phase of your career, even before you leave your current post.

How to Stay Connected to Your Colleagues While Working From Home

With a third national lockdown in force, many legal professionals are feeling increasingly distant from their colleagues. Our recent Working From Home Survey found that 22% of legal professionals think the biggest challenge of remote working is not seeing their colleagues every day. Additionally, 21% of our audience feel less productive when working from home, and 36% of these blame their reduced output on infrequent opportunities to collaborate with colleagues.

So, what steps can we take to ensure we’re staying connected to our colleagues and remaining productive while working remotely?

TotallyLegal has come up with four tips to help legal professionals stay connected to their colleagues, create opportunities for collaboration and socialise virtually when working from home. 

Tip 1: Schedule regular team meetings 

Set an Incompatible Goal

One way to shift your character – and your life – in a new direction is to set a goal that’s incompatible with the limitations of your current character.

In other words, set a goal that you would never set. Then work diligently to pursue and achieve that goal.

Thinking you can’t do something because it’s out of character for you is still just a thought. You can change your thoughts, but sometimes it’s easier to change your actions and behaviours and let your thoughts play catch-up. Sometimes thoughts of who you are just get in your way and slow you down.

When you try to change yourself at the level of thought first, sometimes that works, but other times it will just lead you into a circular trap of thinking, thinking and more thinking – and never actually doing, exploring and experiencing.

Pay special attention to the desires you tend to quickly suppress, especially those with respect to ambitious goals and lifestyle experiences.

What experiences are other people having that you secretly envy?

What do you secretly daydream about doing or experiencing, but could never tell anyone about?

Have you ever thought about pulling one of those crazy ideas out of the “dream space” and setting it as a real goal to accomplish? Other people have already done that.

How Did the Legal Profession Change in 2020?

We want you to tell us how the legal profession has changed in the past year. Take part in TotallyLegal’s annual audience survey to have your say.

Last year was more chaotic and tumultuous than most others in recent history, with individuals and organisations across the world feeling unique and largely negative impacts from 2020’s many twists and turns.

TotallyLegal – the UK’s leading legal jobs board and a trusted partner of ILSPA – wants to learn and in turn share more with you about how the legal profession changed in 2020.

How has the job market shifted? What has been the impact on salaries and bonuses? How many legal professionals were put on furlough?

To answer these questions and many others, we are looking for Lawyers, Solicitors, Paralegals, In-House Counsel, Legal Secretaries and other legal professionals of all titles and levels to divulge the details of their working lives and the effect 2020 had on their careers.

We will also ask about recurring themes and trends identified in previous TotallyLegal audience surveys.

Why LinkedIn Is an Essential Tool for Legal Secretaries

Remote working, video meetings, online systems and digital appointments are now standard parts of the daily working lives of legal professionals. Due to the pandemic, people have had to turn to online and digital alternatives for many aspects of their work. This is also true for other areas of our professional lives. Networking, professional development and career progression are still required, even though conventional face-to-face events, interviews and conferences are on hold. One of the best online resources available in this respect is LinkedIn.

While we are working from home, it is beneficial and motivating to be part of a community. In this article, ILSPA will outline why LinkedIn is an essential tool for Legal Secretaries (and other legal professionals) in the current climate.

Networking  

Legal Secretary Vacancies February 2021

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

Assistant Company Secretary – Thomas Thor Associates

Location: Harwell

Salary: £40,000 - £55,000

Are you an experienced and qualified Company Secretary with experience of working with busy and demanding Boards and their Committees?

Radioactive Waste Management Limited (RWM) is looking to appoint a dedicated Assistant Company Secretary, reporting to the Head of Legal and Company Secretary, to be responsible for providing corporate governance advice and company secretarial support to the Board of Directors and each of its four Committees.

View the full job description here:           

https://www.institutelegalsecretaries.com/jobs/candidate/job/174315/

Executive Assistant – In House Legal – Lawson Clark Limited

Location: London

Salary: £45,000

In house at the top of a major business information group, this is a rare opportunity for someone with Legal PA/EA experience to take on an Executive Assistant role, working with their General Counsel. In a role where you can really exercise your EA abilities.

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

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

ILSPA is Here to Help Make 2021 a Successful Year for You!

The New Year has arrived again, and we would like to take this opportunity to thank all our Students and Members for being part of ILSPA. 2020 may have been an unusual year, but it was also very productive here at the Institute. Along with many other achievements, we launched our Live Online Classes, which enabled more Students to have access to our classes from the comfort of their own homes. Our Legal Secretary Jobs Board has continued to be busy, and our CV team have been working closely with Graduates and Members to help them find their next roles. We have continued to strengthen the relationships with our Partners, which has enabled us to provide excellent resources, discounts and opportunities for the ILSPA community. 

As the professional body for Legal Secretaries and PAs, ILSPA is here to support you at whatever stage you are in your career. Here are some of the great ways that we can help and support you throughout 2021.

ILSPA’s Membership Area

Legal Jargon – Plain English or Utter Drivel?

As the legal profession is one that benefits from clear communication, it is surprising how the language used by lawyers can sometimes be confusing. This may in part be because of the liberal use of legal jargon. In this article we will consider some common terminology used by the profession and look at what some lawyers have done to improve how they communicate. 

Let us start with a quote from a Professor of Law, Joseph Kimble, about why complicated writing persists in the modern legal profession: 

“Legalese persists for a lot of bad reasons – habit, inertia, fear of change, the overwhelming influence of poorly written opinions and forms, false notions of prestige, and any number of myths about plain language...” 

Freshfields Assistant Named Legal PA of the Year

On the evening of Thursday 12 November, 20 of the UK’s most talented Personal Assistants, Executive Assistants and Office Managers celebrated their successes at the ninth annual PA of the Year Awards.

Hosted by niche business support job board SecsintheCity, the awards were held virtually for the first time. Logging on to Zoom for the awards ceremony, all the hopeful finalists and their supportive bosses fully embraced the event’s traditional black-tie dress code.

Tanya Jennings, PA to a partner at global law firm Freshfields, took the time to answer a few questions about her career so far and what it’s like to be named the 2020 Legal PA of the Year.

Hi, Tanya. How did you become a Legal PA?

“It all started when my dad told me it was time to get a job! After applying for a number of secretarial roles, I joined as a Legal PA at a local law firm. I can picture myself now – I was a nervous wreck. However, I’m not any more, and doing this role has definitely contributed to that!”

What can you tell us about your current role supporting a Partner at Freshfields?

The ABC of Stress Relief in 5 Minutes

Here we are in the first month of a brand new year. What lies ahead of us is a clean slate of 12 months in which to seize opportunities, accomplish goals and reach new heights in our professional and personal development.  

If your goal is to have a calm, productive and joyous 2021, you may have been looking into ways to manage stress more effectively. In that case, we have excellent news for you: it is possible to find calm in a stressful situation. We may not be able to completely get rid of all the stressors in our lives, but with a few clever tricks, stress can be managed.

In this article, we will be sharing a quick stress relief technique with you, but first, consider that there are four sources of stress: the environment, social stressors, physiological stressors and (the most important one) our thoughts. 

1. The environment: noise, air pollution, pollen, traffic, the weather, etc.

2. Social stressors: the things that make demands on your time and attention. For instance, deadlines, urgent meetings, presentations to give, interpersonal conflicts, finances, the barrage of emails and social media notifications.

Legal Secretary Vacancies January 2021

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

Legal Secretary – Private Client – ENL

Location: West Midlands

Salary: £19,000 - £23,000

ENL is currently seeking an experienced Legal Secretary to join a busy and thriving, Lexcel law firm. The successful Legal Secretary, will be working as part of a successful and growing private client department. This is an excellent opportunity for someone who has experience working within wills, trust and probate and wants to join a friendly and well-established team.

View the full job description here:           

https://www.institutelegalsecretaries.com/jobs/candidate/job/174188/

Legal Secretary – Residential Conveyancing – Clayton Legal

Location: Exeter

Salary: £20,000 - £25,000