September 6, 2017

How valuable are you as a legal secretary?

If I mention the word “secretary”, the first thing that may click your mind is “typing” and “note taking”. That is what used to be the duties of secretaries, however, that is not the case anymore.

After serving for four years as a Junior Manager in a retail industry, I decided to pursue a career in a legal profession as a legal secretary. I stepped into a legal office for the very first time in 2014 at what was then called Robin Twaddle Attorneys. Everyone in the office gave me a great professional welcoming. The founder of the firm, Robin Twaddle, and I had a respectful conversation and before I knew it I got the job.

One of the things that caught my attention and got me inspired to continue in the legal profession was the type of the language used. This happened while I was doing my daily routines at reception. I saw a document and decided to read it and I couldn’t understand most of it. There were some words that got me wondering as to whether the owner of the document was really aware of what was written there. I came across words such as “hereinafter” and “…correspondence”, to mention, but a few. Sometimes you’ll even think that the attorney is bragging about his/her work, seeing things like “prepared by me…”

Being a secretary in today’s world, specifically in the legal profession, is more exciting and worth it than before. We don’t hear the word secretary as often as we used to; the secretary profession has been modernised to such an extent that secretaries are nowadays being referred to as “personal assistants”, “office assistants” etc. Legal secretaries are now getting to perform more professional duties than ever before, in a sense that they are involved in drafting summonses, motions etc., conducting legal research and more. Not forgetting the standard secretarial duties that might include answering phones, filing and maintaining the office.

Most professions, if not all of them, can’t do without the secretaries. Imagine the director of a company sorting out their diary by themselves and typing documents as well. That will be a disaster and that’s where the secretary’s role will be much needed. I work as an office assistant and mostly performing receptionist duties.  What makes me proud about being a secretary in a legal profession is that I get to be both the voice and the face of the company.

After three years of being a secretary in the legal profession, I no longer stress about explaining myself when phoning or emailing the suppliers. Moving away from the legal profession for me is not, and will never, be an option. To ensure that this fact remains as it is forever, I have enrolled with one of the South African institutions to further my legal studies. Even if, or should I say when, I obtain my legal degree, I will still be performing a secretary’s duties because you can’t run away from typing and emailing, and that’s why I smile every day while doing my work and secretarial duties.

Author: Koena Seanego

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