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A Legal Secretary Tale
By Patricia O’Neill
One of my hobbies is going to folk clubs. I do comic songs, and once I made up some doggerel about things which can go awry in a legal office – for instance, an inexperienced casual receptionist telling a client point-blank that the legal eagle is too busy to talk to him or her, rather than “talking round the subject,” explaining the fee-earner is presently occupied, and taking a message. I do not want to alarm any budding young legal secretaries by mentioning solely things that can go amiss, however.
I became a legal secretary in my mid- to late-forties and quite by accident. An agency sent me to “temp” in a small firm which at the time did a mixture of various types of law. A few months after my booking finished, the boss of the firm phoned and asked if I would like a permanent job, and, thinking of the saying about gift horses and mouths, I accepted. At first I was the overflow secretary, helping out mainly with conveyancing but also with some family and criminal work. Over a few years the dynamics of the firm changed, and my boss became a sole trader and I was still his secretary.