This month, ILSPA had the pleasure of speaking to former Student, Ellie Braddick. Ellie studied with ILSPA a couple of years ago and it was wonderful to speak to her about how her career has progressed since completing her Legal Secretaries Diploma. Now a Legal PA in Central London, Ellie balances her busy job supporting 6 fee-earners with studying for a Law Degree.
Find out how Ellie juggles work and studying, why she thinks ILSPA gave her a behind-the-scenes insight into her role and what her plans are for when she graduates.
Can you tell us a bit about your background and your current role?
I am 25 and from Essex and I currently work at a legal firm in Central London called Peters & Peters who deal with both Business Crime and Civil Litigation. I work as a PA and support 6 fee-earners of different levels. My role varies on a day-to-day basis and includes things such as general admin such as scanning and photocopying, down to more complex issues such as billing. I work for associates in both departments, meaning I get to experience all aspects of the work we carry out here. My role is very varied, and no day is the same. I get to experience all aspects of the firm and have various responsibilities.
Have you always been interested in the law?
I have always been interested in law and pursuing a career in the legal sector, hence my decision to study with ILSPA and study a law degree. I like working in a legal firm as there are endless opportunities and different paths that you can take, there are no limits to what route your career could progress down. There are so many different areas of law as well, some more interesting than others, meaning you can find what suits you and what you enjoy best!
Why did you decide to do ILSPA's Legal Secretaries Diploma course?
I was studying my degree at a brick university but didn’t feel I was getting as much experience and knowledge as I could do if I were to be working in a legal firm. I decided to study with ILSPA during my summer break from University and get the knowledge and skills to allow me to progress and start work within a law firm. I knew studying with ILSPA would give me a better knowledge of the processes and procedures carried out on a typical day-to-day basis in a legal firm, whilst enhancing some of the things I had learnt already throughout the start of my degree. I wanted to get into a firm and get the experience and allow myself to make connections and ILSPA allowed me the skills I needed to do so.
How have you found studying for your law degree alongside working?
Juggling the two can sometimes be stressful, especially during exam periods, but I have luckily managed to strike a balance between the two. I do think working also gives me extra knowledge and enhances my studies, as I am constantly in a legal environment and picking up on different skills and having a completely different experience than if I were to be studying without working. I definitely have learnt how to prioritise my time, and even though sometimes the last thing I want to do is study when I get home from work, I know that if I prioritise the work and get it done, I can have more free time on the weekends for example, it is hard to get the balance right at first, but once you do it becomes a lot easier to handle!
How are you able to use the knowledge and skills you have gained through your various studies in your role?
From ILSPA I gained extensive knowledge of the processes that go on behind the scenes in a legal firm, the things people don’t think about as much, such as how a letter should be set out, it also taught me the importance of being organised and having an eye for detail, which is so important. Studying a law degree also gives me knowledge of the processes and background of different areas of law, and a good base understanding of the way things work. It has definitely helped give me the extra boost of skills I need.
What are your future goals?
I am currently enjoying working as a legal PA and I am excited to see where my career heads. I have had the long-term goal of becoming a solicitor once I finish my law degree and perhaps would like to explore this further when I graduate next summer. Regardless of where I head, I would like to progress a long-term career within the legal sector. I like the fact that there are various routes available to me from completing my ILSPA Diploma and degree.
What advice would you give to new Legal Secretaries and PAs just starting their careers?
Be friendly and approachable, get to know those who you work for and build good working relationships. When I first started, I took my own notebook and made my own personal notes on any tips I was given and worded the processes we follow in my own way, this made me pick up on everything a lot quicker – and I always had something to refer back to! Be sure to ask questions on anything you’re stuck on, sometimes it is good to see how other people may handle tasks differently, I definitely learnt a lot from those around me.
If you would like to find out more about ILSPA’s Legal Secretaries Diploma and how it could help you progress in your career visit the course page of our website.