Updated: Dec 27, 2019
This week’s blog post was written by Maddie Pare.
Maddie is likely the first person you’ll meet at MGL, as she is in charge of welcoming all our incoming clients, either in person or on the phone. In fact, if you use the new Chat feature on our website, it's Maddie whom you'll be speaking with. Maddie has a background in the medical field, where she worked both in a private office and in a hospital.
She was new to the legal world when she joined our Rutland law firm in 2018, but has become an expert in no-time. In this post, Maddie shares what she’s learned this past year from working at a law firm.
1. Organization Is Key
The first thing that I learned from being a secretary at a law firm is that everything needs to be organized. Documents need to be indexed properly, things need to be put back exactly where they were found, staff emails need to be sent out if you have to move something, and most importantly, losing something could be a big problem. A law firm basically runs on organization and if the organization gets out of whack, there could be problems.
2. Teamwork Is Dream Work (Really!)
The second thing that I’ve learned from being a secretary at a law firm is that teamwork really does make the dream work. Everyone needs to work together to keep everything working properly. Attorneys need an associate and an assistant to keep everything flowing and to keep them in order. We all work together to give the clients the best experience possible.
3. We Go Through a Whole Lotta Paper The third thing that I’ve learned from being a secretary at a law firm is there is a lot of paper. Copies, books, folders, and binders all full of paper; and this paper all has important information on it, of course. These papers need to be printed, formatted, and handled correctly. There are so many different kinds of paper forms and agreements that things should be printed on: pleading paper, white bond paper, natural bond paper, will paper, letter head paper, legal paper, and copy paper. If they are not printed on the correct paper, then they have to be redone. Lastly, you need to make copies of everything, this is so that you can look back on anything you may need to at a later point.
4. Lawyers Have Fun!
Another thing that I learned as a secretary at a law firm is that not everyone is proper. Law firms can be fun and laid-back places to work. Yes, the environment is professional, but we also have a good time. Lawyers are also very put together, but I only see someone wearing a full suit and tie on court days or closings.
5. Conflict of Interest Is a Big Deal The fifth thing I’ve learned is that even the smallest thing could be a conflict of interest. At a law firm, there can be no conflicts when we have to represent a client. In a small town, such as Rutland, it can be hard to not have a conflict because everybody knows everybody. But you can’t use that as an excuse in court. It’s a lawyer’s job to represent every client to the best of our ability, and they can’t do that if there’s a conflict of interest.
6. You Gotta Be on Time We have to do things in a timely manner, and we have to work fast to get people the information that they need. We cannot just leave things sitting around and waiting. We have to show people by working fast that their case is important to us.
7. We’re Part of the Community
I have also learned that the way the community views us is very important. To gain clients and to have returning clients we must leave a good impression on our clients. We want people to go out and talk about the great experience they had with us. A reason that Meub, Gallivan, and Larson is successful is that the community values the great work that our lawyers do for Vermonters. Our staff members have a reputation of being both professional and very kind to people—and this makes all the difference.
8. Lawyers Are Incredibly Well-Rounded
The eighth thing I’ve learned from working at a law firm is that lawyers are some of the most well-rounded people out there. Lawyers have to have so many skills to be able to work with clients and work in court. Just a few of the important characteristics they have to have are to be understanding, they have to identify with many different people, they have to be strong and stand their ground, smart, quick on their feet, good with time management, organized, willing to accept help, and be very knowledgeable about a variety of topics.
9. Communication Is Key
The ninth thing I learned is that communication is key. We all have to communicate about everything. If we don’t communicate then we could screw someone else up. This goes hand in hand with teamwork. We have to work together to do projects, so we must communicate about our parts on the projects.
10. MGL Feels Like Family Lastly, the tenth thing I learned is that working for a law firm is the best. It is like having another family. We have a relationship with every person that we work with.
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