Today I walk in to the Stowe Family Law LLP office and I am met with a desk full of files. I have five files to read in readiness for a case I have in court tomorrow and a further six files to go through in order to pull out all the relevant documentation I need to compile a bundle for my brief to counsel. I certainly have had a busy day and with a day in court tomorrow, I will be non-stop. I am off this Friday and so Becca and Charlotte will be keeping you entertained with their experiences of life at the UK’s largest family law firm on Thursday and Friday.
Over the next few weeks I have a few days in court lined up which equates to great experience. However, for today’s blog I have decided to focus on the very important people that make up the foundations of any law firm: the legal secretaries and administration staff who work behind the scenes. You may think this is an odd blog post but with one of my colleagues, Lucy, a legal secretary, and someone I am happy to call a friend leaving on maternity leave on Friday I thought it an apt time to shine a light on the excellent job these people do. Every law firm is made up of a number of individuals who work behind the scenes alongside the solicitors and partners to keep a firm running. Without legal secretaries and the thralls of other staff, the solicitors would not be able to do their jobs.
Beyond the usual filing, typing, dictation and phone answering duties of a normal secretary, a legal secretary possesses specialist skills unique to the legal profession. Legal Secretaries prepare correspondence, type up legal documents and briefs from dictation, they maintain complex filing systems in which documents and information needs to be ready at a moment’s notice, they understand legal jargon, they liaise with client’s and other professionals, they create and maintain spread sheets, they update information, they track and organise solicitors diaries, they must be extremely deadline orientated and be able to keep on top of the massive file load of the solicitors they work with. The list could extend beyond this page and well in to a number of further pages. I know a number of legal secretaries that often stay way passed closing in order to ensure everything that needs to be done that day is completed. Being a legal secretary appears to me far from easy.
In addition to legal secretaries, other people who work behind the scenes include archiving and administrations staff, without whom a law firm would struggle to ensure their filing was up to date and in order; the accounts team who ensure the client is kept up to date with their fees and much more; PR; our receptionist, Gill, who greets every client as they arrive and works hard to ensure room bookings don’t clash, calls are forwarded to the appropriate people, client’s documentation is in order and so much more.
I am sad to see Lucy go and I know the solicitor she works with would say the same. But she is off to have a beautiful little baby and I am sure she will make a brilliant mum. She will be greatly missed and I can only hope that one day, when I hopefully successfully complete my training contract, I too have a legal secretary who is as dedicated to their job and understanding as Lucy and the countless other legal secretaries and administration staff that make up Stowe Family Law LLP.