Close family members had enjoyed careers in law my nana had been a legal secretary and my uncle was a solicitor. I was lucky enough to have done some work experience at my uncle’s firm which prepared me for life working in a solicitor’s office. I was also a Saturday girl at the local library where I spent many hours replacing books on shelves. In hindsight, that might explain my love of filing.
I enrolled on a legal secretarial course at college where I was taught secretarial skills which included the ancient skill of shorthand. Shorthand is a dying art because it isn’t particularly efficient; you have to take the notes and then spend time deciphering them and typing them up.
It can be quite frustrating when we have genuinely lovely clients who are put through hell by the other party. Occasionally the law can produce an outcome that seems unfair which can be annoying.
My career high has to be meeting my husband at work he was actually a client (who had been separated from his ex for a long time I hasten to add!) and part of my duties back then included attending court to make notes at hearings. I attended a hearing with him one day and as we left the court building that evening, he ran after me and asked me on a date. The rest is history.
It’s vital for a good legal secretary to be accurate and have strong empathy and compassion for clients. Family law can lead to high-running emotions and sometimes clients just need to offload. Our job is to reassure clients and to be available to them when they need us.
I’m a mum to two young and very energetic sons so I don’t get much time to myself, but the boys are the perfect distraction from work. It’s important to be able to switch off from work mode and focus on something else so that the job doesn’t get on top of you. Also, working in litigation and dispute resolution definitely comes in handy when the boys are fighting with each other!