I started working in the legal profession in 1975 when I left school. I have worked for the same firm all my working life and thoroughly enjoy my job.
When I joined the firm I was office junior but after a year I became a legal secretary in the family/litigation department. At one time I worked for a fee earner who did conveyancing as well. We were quite a small firm then and have steadily grown over the years to now being a 5 office firm. In 1975 we had four partners and now we have 7. During this time I have worked for various fee earners including one of the partners for 14 years until he left for pastures new. There were no computers in those days, we had electric typewriters and then went on to word processors. We were very excited when the word processors were introduced because we did not have to re-type whole documents as they had memories and you could just correct it and then re-print.
Since January of last year I have been working for a partner again; he only joined the firm then and so we worked together from the start. He has encouraged me to think on my feet and my confidence has grown so much in just a year. We go through the incoming post and e-mails first thing in the morning and discuss what is going to happen during the day. I diarise all court dates, important deadlines etc and make appointments. I deal with general correspondence myself so that the fee earner can deal with the more complex things. Drafting divorce petitions and completion of court forms is another role I enjoy together with preparation of briefs and instructions to counsel. Each month I go through the alpha-list and cost the file so as to prepare bills to be sent out to the clients. Last summer, to promote the new litigation department we had a seminar at which a talk was given by two London-based barristers. Local estate agents, IFAs etc were invited and canapés and wine were served afterwards. A thoroughly enjoyable evening which I was involved in organising and again, something which I had not been involved in before.
In September of last year after being a legal secretary for 38 years I was promoted to “assistant” and am a mentor to the younger members of staff. One particular member of staff who I mentored has now been promoted from the position of office junior to receptionist at one of our other offices.
Janet Miles FILS