Practical Tips for a Legal Assistant
Nice job; you’ve graduated your course and now you’re about to start a full-time job as a legal assistant. With any luck, you have a job at the place where you completed your legal traineeship. You know the office, the people and the overall atmosphere. Here is some advice others might not have told you, but you wish you’d known.
This is an excuse to go shopping. If you completed a traineeship or work experience, you’d have an outfit that’s suitable for the office. Now that you’re working full-time, there’s need for several extra shirts, some slacks or skirts, and a couple of pairs of shoes.
The outfit is important but the person is even more so. Legal assistants are the face of the office, after all. Have a good haircut, pluck those brows, shave that goatee and clip those nails. Don’t forget to brush your teeth!
This means any number of things. Being prepared for work includes having your lunch packed and your outfit laid out the night before.
In the office, you’re not a trainee anymore. A legal assistant has to think on their feet and get dozens of tasks completed in a day. You might not finish all of them, but it’s important to get all of the high priority ones out of the way.
Making enemies in law happens, but it doesn’t have to happen to you. Having friends at work is healthy. They’ll offer you support when you need it. Having friends in the right places is beneficial, too. The receptionist or someone you know in an executive position can give you important news that will help you advance, or warn you that something’s coming.
No two days are the same
Of course this applies to any job. But in law, events can change while you sleep. The firm you work for will let staff know if anything significant is going on. This could range from a case getting dropped or a client getting hit with another lawsuit.
The job description scratches the surface
Job descriptions are like book covers; they tell you the title and give you a basic description of what you can expect. Yes, you’ll email clients, file documents, make sure accounts are paid and more. But there’s an assortment of colourful characters around the place and you’ll learn a lot in the office. There are some things that just can’t be taught in a classroom (or a training module).