The legal market is ever changing and with that, so are the requirements of legal support staff.
Gone are the days where churning legal documents and typing at 80 WPM are a necessity. Nowadays, law firms are putting a strong focus on soft skills to align with the particular firm’s culture and values.
So what are soft skills?
A soft skill is a personal characteristic that encourages effective and harmonious work with other people. The key soft skills that law firms are looking for in their support staff are:
Adaptability/Flexibility – starting a new role and learning the firm’s processes and systems can be daunting. It is important to demonstrate your interest in learning new things and leave your old habits behind. Working on temp assignments is one way we have seen job seekers expose their skills to new systems and processes, as well as building on skills they haven’t already developed. If you are immediately available, temping is highly recommended.
Problem Solving Skills – when talking to law firms, the most memorable legal secretaries are those who look outside the box and implement more efficient ways of working.
Strong Work Ethic – a strong work ethic doesn’t always mean working 12 hour days. A strong work ethic can include little things such as helping a fellow legal secretary with EOM billing or assisting with tasks that may not fall into your job description. A progressive law firm will always encourage career development so you shouldn’t shy away from asking to pick up more tasks!
Calm Demeanour – law firms can be hectic at the best of times and lawyers are constantly working to strict and tight deadlines. Having a calm attitude can really put the rest of the team at ease during these stressful moments.
The list is endless, however, it is important to be able to identify and highlight your soft skills and this will put you ahead of your competition in a very tight legal market.
For more information or assistance in identifying your soft skills, please call me: 03 9098 7427.