Technology Tips

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

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:

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  

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

What’s AI and How Can it Help You in the Workplace?

Technology has long played a role in making the workplace more efficient — and artificial intelligence (AI) is no different. Capable of automating time-consuming and mundane tasks, AI is designed to make operations easier. In fact, it's already making positive changes in the legal profession, with the DoNotPay chatbots in London and New York being prime examples. Regarded as the world's 'first robot lawyer', the chatbots have helped over 160,000 people contest parking fines for free, and are now being trialled in small-claims courts.

The Dos and Don’ts of Video Meetings

As people continue to work from home, video meetings are now the new normal. Whether the calls are one-on-one or in a group, people can expect to be part of many more video meetings over the next few months. To help with this transition, ILSPA have set out their guidelines to good video meeting etiquette.

Preparation

As with any meetings you are participating in, preparation is key. However, along with having your notes and information ready, there are a few extra considerations when preparing for a video meeting. Make sure you set up your space for the call so that it looks professional. Try to find a tidy, private and quiet space to use. Make sure that your face is well lit but avoid being backlit, as this creates glare and makes your face hard to see. If you cannot find a suitable tidy space, you might want to consider using a background. Executive Secretary has a fantastic free professional background you can use.

Podcasts for Legal Secretaries and PAs

Podcasts are a fantastic resource and so easy to listen to during your everyday life. Here are some of the best podcasts for Legal Secretaries and PAs:

The Assistant Room Podcast

Each episode presents Jess Gardiner, founder of The Assistant Room, talking to a different professional about their work, their career and their success stories in the PA sector. Starting life as an article feature on the site called ‘The PA Diaries’, this podcast is great for ambitious PAs. Not only is it inspiring and enjoyable, but it is also full of useful advice and tips.

Law Pod UK

Law Pod UK covers developments across all aspects of civil and public law in the UK. Although hosted by Lawyers, it is a fantastic podcast for anyone with an interest in law. It will help Legal Secretaries and PAs stay up to date with news and legal updates.

The Admin Allies

Receive a 50% Discount on Microsoft Office Courses

One of ILSPA’s aims is to provide affordable training to Students and Members. We are delighted to work in partnership with Prodigy Learning to provide you with a fantastic 50% discount on Microsoft Office courses.

Microsoft Office provides courses in Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint. If you would like to improve your word processing skills, learn more about working with spreadsheets, become familiar with using Outlook for emails or know how to conduct a PowerPoint presentation, then you can now do so at half the cost.

These courses are available for you to study from home. Prodigy Learning will provide you with an e-kit where you can access everything you need online. On completing the course, you will need to attend one of Microsoft Office’s test centres to gain a Microsoft Office Specialist Certificate. These centres are located throughout the UK.

If you are an ILSPA Student, you must have an understanding of Microsoft Word so that you can complete the practical assessments included in our courses. Being able to produce legal documentation to a high standard will help you to pass the course and achieve a good grade. Not only is this an important skill to learn in respect of your coursework, but also for your future work as a Legal Secretary.

Technology for Legal Secretaries

It will come as no surprise to those reading this article that Legal Secretaries need to be good with technology. A Legal Secretary’s role is primarily computer-based. It is automatically expected that they will have skills such as fast and accurate typing, a good understanding of commonly used computer programs and knowledge of how to use standard office equipment. Technology is a big part of their day-to-day role, and the right technology can make the position a whole lot easier. But what is the top tech, or more particularly the top programs that a Legal Secretary should know? We spoke to working Legal Secretaries to see what their favourite programs and apps are, and to gain some insight into the main technology they rely on each day.

Microsoft Office

This is an old and obvious favourite still used in the majority of law firms. Most firms will need secretaries to create legal documents from scratch, or at least complete existing templates of the document in Microsoft Word. This requires Legal Secretaries to have an excellent understanding of the program so that they can complete tasks that require them to set formatting, use track changes and utilise the review options such as word compare.

Common Microsoft Excel Skills

There are a number of skills which you will need whilst using Microsoft Office Excel. Spread sheets are a useful tool and used regularly by office staff including Legal Secretaries. Spread sheets are especially helpful in tracking the progress of different processes and make the information readily available in one place, rather than having to check databases or paper files separately. This article provides step-by-step instructions for some of the most commonly used tools so that you can master these skills.

Please note that the majority of law firms currently use Microsoft Office 2010. We have therefore based our advice on this version of the program. You may find that your version differs slightly, however the directions should be similar.

Formating cells

In order to format cells so that they always show a particular type of number, for instance a currency, you will need to highlight the cells, right click and then choose “Format Cells” from the drop down list. This will open the following box, you can choose currency from the list and then the currency required.