Kathleen Riordan won Legal PA of the Year at SecsintheCity’s PA of the Year Awards 2017. The judges praised Kathleen, as one of her nominations said: she’s “the embodiment of team first, self second, Kathleen works conscientiously and tirelessly, often without recognition, to get the job done.” In this interview, we’ll find out how Kathleen became a Legal PA and what drives her to succeed in the role.
For your interest, inspiration that anything is achievable and also, I hope, enjoyment, I set out below in summary how I progressed my career from secretary to qualified lawyer and subsequently programme leader for over ten years at The Law School at The University of Westminster.
At SecsintheCity’s PA of the Year Awards 2017, there were two Legal PA winners. Meet Lyn Lennox, Legal PA at The Law Society and winner of the Outstanding Achievement Award.
How did you become a PA?
I studied a PA Diploma and A levels at college, after which I became a Legal Secretary at a major London law firm. After this role, I was lucky enough to be recruited as a PA to a Chairman of a London surveyors.
Hot in the news recently has been the topic of the inequality of men and women in regards to pay. It has come to light that a gender pay gap still exists in some professions in our country, and this is an issue we need to resolve.
Even though we have a little way to go, we must remember how far we’ve come as women. Just a few decades ago, women were denied basic rights that we take for granted now, such as being allowed to vote, owning property or working in certain professions.
Michelle Gager from Career Legal had the opportunity to gain valuable insight into the world of job sharing at global law firm Allen & Overy. She interviewed Jane Templeman and Joanne Mackay, who started their careers as Legal PAs and now job share as Group Managers in Litigation & Tax. Jane and Joanne are a great inspiration to ILSPA’s Students and Members.
We at ILSPA believe that, with the right initiative, our students have the potential to reach any goal that they aspire to. This belief has been supported recently in the case of Jacqueline McGuigan, former Legal Secretary, now Lawyer, who rose to media fame due to a significant employment law case.
This New Year’s honours list brought with it an inspiring and encouraging tale for our Members and for all those starting out in the legal field. Janet Cooper, partner and co-founder of the Yorkshire-based niche law firm Tapestry Compliance LLP, who began her career as a secretary before graduating in law, has been appointed Officer of the British Empire (OBE).
Can you imagine the difficulties you would face going through law school as a deaf person? The image in our heads is most probably one of us relying almost exclusively on our powers of sight to intake any information presented to us. Can you imagine, then, taking away the power of sight also? Now imagine that the law school in question is Harvard, noted as one of the top law schools in the world, regarded for both its remarkable academic excellence and prestigious previous alumni.
Having originally worked as a PA and Office Manager, I’ve been a freelance Virtual Assistant (VA) for just over three years now and I absolutely love it. Whether you are a PA in the legal sector or elsewhere, there are huge opportunities if you’re thinking of going freelance.
I’ve met tons of PAs, Secretaries and others recently who are thinking of going “virtual”, or are just interested in how the transition from PA to Virtual Assistant works – so here’s my story!
I began my career as a Legal Secretary after finishing college, where I studied a two-year Business Administration and Secretarial course. After working for two different solicitor’s firms over the course of three years, I left the profession to work as an Administrator organising events at a local university. I had enjoyed working as a Legal Secretary, but I made the decision to change career due to the increase in salary, and I also liked the idea of gaining experience in events management.