Thursday, April 5, 2018

If Secretaries want to be taken Seriously. . .


It occurred to me while riding the train into work this morning that perhaps legal secretaries are often not taken as serious professionals by attorneys because they don't always take each other seriously.

For whatever reason, this profession seems to be one where secretaries (both male and female) feel that they must minimize the accomplishments and knowledge of their colleagues in order to gain favor with the people they support.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  I think that law firms appreciate having an office comprised of well prepared, highly skilled and capable assistants who support them.  

Spreading negative gossip and undermining your co-workers only serves to further the "myth" that secretaries are nothing more than typing coffee klatches.

We need to support and lift each other up.  Each person has his or her own set of unique skills.  Combine that with the basic skills necessary to work in a law office and you get productivity and a happier environment.

Team work.  It's called that for a reason.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Book Review: "The Wife" by Alafair Burke


I had this book for weeks before I started reading it.

Only because I love Alafair Burke's books so much that I wanted to save it.

But when all the reviews for "The Wife" got me so hyped, I couldn't wait any longer.

I'm a huge fan of the Ellie Hatch series, but this one really had me on the edge of my chair.  I raced through it because the suspense was killing me (pun intended).

If you're a mystery lover like me, you'll want to add this one to your reading list.

From the back cover:

When Angela met Jason Powell while catering a dinner party in East Hampton, she assumed their romance would be a short-lived fling, like so many relationships between locals and summer visitors. To her surprise, Jason, a brilliant economics professor at NYU, had other plans, and they married the following summer. For Angela, the marriage turned out to be a chance to reboot her life. She and her son were finally able to move out of her mother’s home to Manhattan, where no one knew about her tragic past.
Six years later, thanks to a bestselling book and a growing media career, Jason has become a cultural lightning rod, placing Angela near the spotlight she worked so carefully to avoid. When a college intern makes an accusation against Jason, and another woman, Kerry Lynch, comes forward with an even more troubling allegation, their perfect life begins to unravel. Jason insists he is innocent, and Angela believes him. But when Kerry disappears, Angela is forced to take a closer look—at both the man she married and the women she chose not to believe. 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Aging out of the Law Firm - Is there a place for older workers in the legal industry?


I found myself today googling  "the world's oldest legal secretary."

Don't laugh.  I'm serious.  I want to know what happens to senior secretaries.  I don't mean people who can't use the technology or who refuse to adapt to change and learn new skills.

In a world of 10.00 dollar avocado toast and 15.00 lattes being consumed by millennials as the "norm," what happens to the mature law firm support staff?

Do they eventually get "phased out," by way of reductions in force or having to jump through so many hoops they just voluntarily leave?

A friend of mine told me recently that her old boss asked her when she planned to retire.  When she told him that she didn't - he said "just let me know.  I'll find someone younger and cheaper."

Does younger and cheaper really work in this industry?  Younger to me means you're ambitious and looking to be paid fairly for your time and talent.  Cheaper to me means that you're hiring people who really aren't top notch.

You can't have it both ways.

Either you want someone who can do the job and do it well or  you want someone to give you a mediocre work product.

With clients demanding more and more for their legal buck these days, firms might want to consider being nicer to their mature staff.  They might be the ones who save the day.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Happy 131st Anniversary to the Hole Punch!


Thanks to "google doodle" I know that today marks the 131st anniversary of the hole punch.

The doodle is adorable and it's a fun little fact, but then I started thinking about how important the hole punch is in this profession.

I mean, there are courts that will toss your documents if they aren't punched in just the right place.  And some Judges have very specific rules - 2 at the top - 3 at the side.

And don't get me started on people who move the ruler guide and then you go and punch your papers and everything gets punched in the wrong place.  And they don't fit the acco fastener (when is the acco fastener's birthday?) or they won't go into the file folder.

And no matter how much people say we're moving towards a paperless office - let's be honest - that's never going to happen.  At least not in my lifetime.

So, while some might laugh it off as a silly little "holiday," I think it's more than that.

You might even call today HOLE-Y!



The first patent for a hole puncher, or Papierlocher für Sammelmappen (paper hole maker for binding) was filed on 14 November 1886 by inventor Friedrich Soennecken.
Mr Soennecken was a German office supplier from the town of Remscheid who founded his own company, F Soennecken Verlag, in 1875.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Do Firms Want Secretaries Who Get the Job Done or Secretaries Who Look Good Doing It? Aging in the Workplace


It happens to the best of us.

And while I'm not sure when I first became aware of it, I'm fairly certain that once you reach the ripe old age of 40 it starts to peek at you in one form or another.

Many of us "seasoned secretaries" (like myself) may have been too busy working hard to actually take note of the first time they realized that some of their attorneys don't just want the job done, they want someone who looks "perfect" doing it.  Unfortunately, we can't have everything we want.

Now, I'm going to go ahead and play the gender card here - this is much more common among male attorneys than female.  Although, women attorneys don't get a complete pass.

However, the minute your roots begin to show, ageism starts to take root.

We all know that the role of the legal secretary has changed drastically over the years, but skills are skills.  And as long as I have them, I plan to use them.

So, if you don't mind my grey hair, I'm going to get to work.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Perfect Travel Companion - "The Summer House" by Hannah McKinnon



"When Flossy Merrill summons her children to the beloved family beach house to celebrate their father's 80th birthday, both cherished memories and long-kept secrets come to light in this charming and lyrical novel from the author of "The Lake Season" and "Mystic Summer."

Hannah McKinnon's, The Summer House online and in bookstores now.  From Simon and Schuster.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Desk Essentials and "Treat Yo'Self Thursday" - Milka Oreo Candy Bar


Okay, it's going to be one of those days.

And just for these times, you should always have something in your desk to get through the rough patch (or in case of an earthquake - God forbid an earthquake - but hey, be prepared).

One of my new favorite desk staples (pun intended) is the Milka Oreo Candy Bar.  

Stumbled upon these by accident.  After I may or may not have accidentally eaten my daughter's in the fridge. She said "Oh, no!  My friend brought that back from England and you can't find them here."

Well, now you can.  I got mine at my friendly neighborhood Walgreen's.

What's your "emergency work pantry" look like?  I'd love to hear.