One thing I love about my job is visiting law firms and finding out what makes them a great place to work. I recruit for a range of firms from boutique practices through to top-tier firms with stunning views across Melbourne. Some firms have impressive corporate reception areas and walls hung with paintings from the partner’s private art collections, whilst other firms have a phone with a list of extension numbers to contact the person you are meeting! Having visited the firms I represent, I am often able to give advice on workplace culture, the working environment and of course what the person is like! The best organisations seem to pride themselves on areas of similar focus, which I would like to share with you:
Comprehensive Induction – As a secretary you may be starting your role at the same time as many others, an induction is not just a great way to meet your fellow newbies but also a great way to be introduced to most teams across the firm.
Training – Not just to understand the role but ongoing training and focus groups across secretarial support and lawyers.
Structure and career progression – You know where you need to be, meetings happen on time, there are processes and procedures. You are given the opportunity to further your career with clear KPI’s and goals to achieve future success and development.
Support and feedback – From managers, HR or your fellow colleagues, everyone wants you to do well and you want the same for others. Many firms have monthly catch ups with their support staff where you are given an opportunity to discuss performance and ways you can improve.
Flexibility – Flexibility will vary from person to person, it is important that the flexibility you are looking for matches the flexibility the firm or organisation can offer. Some law firms boast long staff tenure through being able to offer part time hours or flexible working arrangements.
Celebrations – Monthly drinks and team lunches can create positive working environments, getting to know your colleagues on a personal level can be beneficial also.
Benefits – Staff benefits such as workplace fruit, free or discounted gym membership or a day off on your birthday are still popular amongst staff and many firms offer additional benefits such as travel insurance or legal advice.
Workspace – It is not essential for everyone to have an office with a view, some firms’ hot desk, some have adjustable desks and others have traditional working environments where secretaries sit outside the lawyer’s office. Similar to flexibility, the workspace that works best for you tends to be based on individual preference. However, for most of my clients, candidates, friends (and also me!), it is the people we work with that makes us come to work every day!