Professional Development

The Important Task of File Opening

This might strike you as a relatively mundane topic, but in legal practice, file opening is something that everyone in a law firm should be familiar with. That is not to say that everyone in the firm will be entrusted with this important task, and it is often well-trained admin and support staff like Legal Secretaries who are required to do this work.

The first clue you might have about the importance of file opening procedure is the fact that it is known by so many different names – customer due diligence, onboarding, verification of identity, verification of funds, anti-money laundering (AML). These are all terms that are commonly used in relation to the humble task of opening a file.

Top Note-Taking Tips for Legal Secretaries

Whether you are studying a course or working in a law firm, note taking is a significant part of a Legal Secretary’s role whatever stage you are at in your career. Efficient note taking can save you time, help your understanding and memory, and keep you organised.

Here are ILSPA’s top 10 tips for note taking.

  1. Find the format that works for you when taking notes so that it becomes natural and easy, whether it’s bullet points, annotations around text, short sentences, colour-coding or creating mind maps. Having your notes in a clear and relatable format will speed up your note taking and also help you find information again when you need to return to it.

Win Before You Begin

If you tend to procrastinate on certain projects, one reason could be that you haven’t created a victory in your mind first.

When you think about a project that isn’t advancing very well, consider these questions:

  • Do you have a clear vision of what success for this project looks like?

  • Can you see your desired end result clearly in your mind’s eye, like you’re recalling a vivid memory?

  • Is the path forward relatively clear, from start to finish?

  • Can you visualise the key action steps to bring the project to completion?

  • Have you firmly decided to do the project now (as in this week, this month or this quarter)?

The Advantages of Developing Your Professional Skills

As an ILSPA Member, you have the opportunity to be recognised for the professional development that you undertake in your career. One of our aims is to provide our Members with professional recognition for the quality of their knowledge and skills, therefore we actively encourage professional development through our CPD programme and our Legal Secretary Journal. ILSPA believes that it is essential for Legal Secretaries and PAs to develop their professional expertise in order to be successful in their roles.

The Solution-Focused Way

Finding solutions is not just what Secretaries do in their jobs every day; it’s also a necessary part of being resilient that can help us deal with life’s problems. The interesting thing about being solution-focused is that it’s not even necessary to know the details of a problem in order to fix it. You just have to focus on how you want things to be different and work towards that.

Analysing the problem won’t help solve the problem

5 Types of Office Clutter That Kill Your Productivity

Clutter: The collection of “stuff” lying around that creates disorganisation in your workplace. It sabotages your productivity and can adversely affect your mental health day in and day out.

It’s time to get it under control!

Research has shown that cluttered spaces have negative effects on stress and anxiety levels, the ability to focus, eating choices and even sleep. It also creates a poor first impression of your perceived skills and abilities at the office when someone stops by your desk.

How to Develop a Colour Code for Better Organisation

As an administrative professional, you understand just how much structure and organisation come into play on a daily basis. You probably have multiple systems and procedures that allow you to create order and inspire productivity. But with so many people and processes to manage, even the best of us can get overwhelmed when we look at our files, binders and calendars.

One of the easiest ways to add structure and organisation to your workspace, files and more is to use colour-coding. According to research by neuroscientists, our brains are hard-wired to process colour before virtually anything else, improving comprehension and helping us process information more quickly, as well as retaining it longer.

How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Not everyone has heard of the term “imposter syndrome”, but the chances are that, at some point in your career, you have experienced it. It’s the feeling that you don’t deserve the position you are in, that the faith others have in you to do a good job is unsubstantiated or that any success you have is mere luck.

Imposter syndrome can be summed up as believing you are not as competent as others perceive you to be.

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?

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?