Why the frown?
Legal professionals have the third most stressful job in the UK, according to statistics published by the Health and Safety Executive (gathered between 2014 and 2017).
- the need to meet tight deadlines
- too much work
- too much pressure or responsibility
I know from my own experience having worked as a Legal Executive, that the target driven environment and constant deadlines can start to take its toll. Feeling that you must take responsibility for everything yourself, or that you can’t possibly pass another pile of files to your Secretary, adds to the burden. The Office Manager then nags you to spend more time on CPD and get to more networking events. You then miss out on family time and special occasions and there’s no wonder that Solicitors don’t always have a reputation for being jolly!
Doing things differently
As a recent article by Graduate Prospects points out, resilience is a key skill for successful Solicitors, but even the most hardy can get worn down. In an ideal world, taking on more staff would be the answer, although it’s often hard enough to justify the existing salary bill. How about looking outside the box and considering the benefits of virtual help?
Working with a Virtual Assistant ensures that support is available as and when needed, without committing to a specific number of hours per month. It offers a great way of smoothing out the peaks and troughs in workload. There’s no need to commit to taking on that extra member of staff, who still needs paying even during the quieter times. As Virtual Assistants work from home you don’t even need to provide them with a desk or computer – perhaps a reason to think about cracking a smile?
I’ve sat down with several solicitors recently and looked at their regular workload to see what I can take off their shoulders. The variety of tasks that don’t need to be done by a Solicitor is surprising, but it definitely helps if the person taking those tasks on board is experienced in the industry. A light begins to appear at the end of the tunnel!
Examples of tasks that can be taken care of by the right Virtual Assistant are:
1. Audio transcription/copy typing
An effective way of having court documents drafted or attendance notes typed up, on an ad hoc basis as and when you need them.
We all know it’s hard to critique our own work, so what better than to have a proofreading service from somebody familiar with legal jargon. A client recently commented on how great it is to have “proofreading on tap” and why not – it’s a valuable resource for her business but not one that she needs every day.
3. Social media management/blog writing
Understanding what makes a law firm tick can really help to get the feel right when managing social media, whether it’s getting a firm set up on Twitter or Facebook, introducing the Partners to LinkedIn, or taking over accounts which are struggling. Engaging on social media on behalf of law firms can reap great rewards. A recent article by Bigfoot Digital gives a run down of 5 law firms who have got their social media strategies just right. Engaging with the industry is important but the opportunity to communicate with potential new clients is perhaps greater. I recently set up a Twitter account for a Solicitor and I also take care of writing his blogs and publishing them on LinkedIn. As a direct result, he has already acquired a new case to the value of £7,000 – that has made him smile!
4. Case/project management
Along with the invention of ‘the could’ comes the ability to access systems from anywhere, so gone are the days when admin help had to be provided by somebody sitting outside the Partner’s office. Having an extra pair of hands to keep track of cases and nag (occasionally!) to make sure everybody is doing what they should be, can make a huge difference to achieving target at the end of the month. Confidentiality is key here, but an experienced Virtual Assistant will have policies and procedures in place, particularly if they have received legal training themselves.
It’s time consuming, never sits well alongside the day job and often gets pushed to the bottom of the to-do list, so having somebody on hand who is up to date with legal affairs can really help.
Clients tell me they find it beneficial to have targeted help from someone who understands the industry. I can’t do anything about the constant deadlines or the need to meet monthly targets, but I can help Solicitors to smile along the way, and hopefully help them to breeze out of the office on time once in a while!
If you’d like me to bring a smile to your working day by reducing your workload or increasing your family time, please contact me on 07970 955535 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.