Why I Want to Become a Legal Secretary

Why does anyone want to become anything? When I was a child, a frequent question was 'What do you want to be or do when you grow up?'. I can't remember my answer now but I'm sure I may have qualified it (as many children do) with a reason such as 'Because it helps people'.

Now when I think what I want to achieve in a job or why I would choose a particular job, and I'm sure it's top of many people's list, it's nearly always to do with job satisfaction - to make a difference.

How do I make a difference? And how do I achieve this by becoming a Legal Secretary?

When people hear the word 'Secretary' - I'm pretty sure they picture someone behind a desk typing.  Yes, this is pretty accurate but a Secretary in whatever field is so much more (and one can indeed spend much time running between their desk and any multitude of places!).  I remember learning a spelling mnemonic of sorts at school that Secretaries keep the secrets. Now I realise it's perhaps more to do with the word's derivatives but it's stuck with me!

The workings of the world of law, to the outsider, often can be viewed to be played out somewhat 'in secret' - behind closed doors - full of wigs, gowns, coloured ribbons, stacks of paper and verdicts. As you can tell I've seen a fair few legal dramas from Legally Blonde to Silk and Garrow's Law! But have you ever wondered what really happens behind the scenes?

Having started ILSPA’s Legal Secretaries Diploma course from home at the start of the year, I have found myself privy to these 'secrets' and the opportunity I wanted: to expand and specialise my skills in an administrative field.  It has given me a goal, having not taken the most direct job path. (I am a music graduate currently working as a PA and office administrator for a charitable organisation in London's West End). It can be difficult to find the right next step to take in your working life.

Law is a fascinating arena, even more so 'backstage'.  It might at times seem to be a far cry from the drama of the court room but without Legal Secretaries doing their part to make a difference with their input in the office, which affects the Solicitor who passes that effect onto the client, all aiming to reach the desired result, I'm not quite sure what would happen.

Sometimes I think it takes an organiser, an administrator or a (Legal) Secretary to understand another - it takes one to know one. The day to day achievements can be small, but by getting a complex subject filed comprehensively (I'm sure you know how this makes a difference to you and the boss!), simply giving someone the assurance that their enquiry is being looked at correctly or preparing someone thoroughly for a meeting, you in turn ensure that the client is getting the best service possible (even though you may not be attending that meeting in person).

These are things that I already do but in the sphere of law they become magnified - what starts as small, indirect input evolves into an integral part of the law process. That is quite something to be part of and I look forward to it.

Hannah Bannister, Student Member