[End of the Week] 28th February 2010 February 28, 2010Posted by travisthetrout in End of the Week.
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Another month drawing to a close as I write this weekly round up of things that have caught my eye over the past week. Unfortunately BT messed up my internet connection again, so there wasn’t as much browsing as perhaps I would have liked.
- Looking for the 25th hour? Time Saving Strategies [Corporette]
- The Remixable textbook [Open Culture] – Neat idea, although I would still stand by my own method of writing your own textbook.
- Open 24 hours, are you to accessible to your clients? [The Nutmeg Lawyer]
- Calendar or To-do list? Two task management tools compared [WorkAwesome]
- 101 Alternatives to becoming a Solicitor [Trainee Solicitor Surgery]
- Scams, Claims and Twitter games [Peninsulawyer]
Week #2: a landslide of work and birthday celebrations February 28, 2010Posted by travisthetrout in Life at Large Law Firm, Personal Life, Working Life.
Internet has been on the blink again, much to my annoyance. This week found me completely swamped with work to do and I’ve several projects on the go, as well as general housekeeping work, deed scheduling, proofreading and amending leases and the general completion of leases.
One project is more the business side of things, rather than the legal side of things and I am looking into our performance and seeing how we can increase (or simply make) a profit on some fixed fee jobs for a particular client. Very interesting, and involves going round all the fee earners and having a chat with them about their cases, and if there is anything I can do to help close the file, or move them along – resulting in a lot of “gentle nudging emails” being sent to various people.
Generally, this week has been more stressful, with more deadlines, more work and generally a lot more paper (I miss working in a paperless office at times), although I can see the continued appeal of paper – particularly in a department such as commercial property. One the upside I’ve now worked for 4 more solicitors, on top of the ones I’ve been working with previously. And I think I’m gaining at least another 3 next week. Excellent!! Just got to make sure then understand the fact that I’m working for everyone – as there are those (of course) who believe their work is more urgent! But I’ve explained several times now that I work on a first-come-first-serve / deadline priority system.
Aside from work it has also been my birthday this week (as those of you who follow me on twitter may have picked up on). For my birthday I had a night out with some colleagues from my old firm (and got the general update) got a birthday card from my old boss and one from my team which was really nice Stayed in a hotel on Friday and on Saturday my partner and I went shopping for my present – he bought me a most gorgeous Radley bag – best present ever!
So all in all, a good weekend – just gotta get revising for the case I am getting put on in the morning.
Change in Law Firms? February 22, 2010Posted by travisthetrout in Life at Large Law Firm, Life at Medium Sized Law Firm, Working Life.
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Some fellow colleagues (from my old firm) consider law firms (and lawyers) to be dinosaurs – resistant to change and not particularly innovative.
They are wrong. In my experience, previous and current employers like Innovation, but innovation and change is hampered by the amount of time it takes to get anything done.
For example, I made numerous suggestions at my old firm about changes that could be made to improve my team – some of them over 6 months ago, and only half of them had been implemented. As soon as I announced my departure – we got the bigger desks, we got the email accounts we wanted and we got more search and database access. I know there is a general acceptance that the bigger the firm the longer it takes for changes to be implemented – however such changes were team specific and easy to implement and many were rights that other employees already had. So I question why did it take so long? was it simply bad organisation? did they really need a sign off from the top for us to get staplers that didn’t cause repetitive strain injury and swelling. Or for health an safety issues about getting more desk space when all our piles of paper on the floor because of a lack of space were probably a greater health and safety risk.
When I was leaving my old firm was running a “competition” where you could suggest innovative ideas on how they could improve their business model, greenness or simply anything that sprung to mind.
I had several suggestions, but never got round to submitting them, because I was leaving the firm. I was debating whether to still submit them, but as you had to do a presentation and everything (if picked out as a good idea) I figured it would be rather difficult. But it got me wondering if I really had put ideas forward that could potentially be firm wide and boost our paperless systems – how long would that take?
My new firm on the other hand have a permanent link for suggestions on their intranet (a much better idea). But the same suggestion wouldn’t work for them because they are targeting a different market and a different area of work. But maybe in time I’ll come up with something new.
On Friday however, I was having an informal chat with one of the solicitors I am now working for and he was suggesting I take a fresh look at their case management system and suggest improvements as they were all “hardened” to it. he thought I’d be good at this given my background in paperless filing systems and general organisation. That much is true – but I’m worried he’s expecting amazing changes – which in all honesty would be hard as they’ve a pretty good case management system already which works well. But I think he appreciates that and knows that if I see a problem I’ll be brutally honest and tell them – I just hope if I ever do they’ll take it as constructive criticism and not be resistant to change.
[End of the Week] 21st February 2010 February 21, 2010Posted by travisthetrout in End of the Week.
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Unfortunately I didn’t get to do one of these postings last week as my internet decided to go down for like a week. So here are some of the things that have been keeping me entertained since my last end of the week post:
- Second Hand Smoke Lawsuit – against a real estate agent (US)
- No longer just for women? Will flexitime be the Recession’s legacy? [TimesOnline]
- Feeling hungry and cold? Try Fiona Beckett’s Cheese and Onion Soup or Chicken Palava (African Peanut Stew) from Kayotic Kitchen.
- For the students out there: How to digitise your textbooks [Legal Geekery]
- The Sex and the City guide to blogging [Copyblogger]
- Product Photography and Styling [decor8 Blog]
- For the girls: Twitter Stockings [GadgetHer]
- Because we’ve been hit by the snow again: Simon’s cat in Snow Business [Pocket Blonde]
- Tintin falls foul of anti smoking laws in Turkey
- Horrible Histories Parody: “Had an Accident that wasn’t your fault?” [Overlawyered]
- Interview with Charlie Gilkey [Plannerisms]
My Weekly Goals:
- The Book: At work we had a second hand book sale – loads of crime thrillers, chick lit and books “of the movie” seem to to be the most popular choices among the staff. So I picked up a few. This week I read – girly book: “Husbands” (Adele Parks) which is about a women married to two men, her “husband” and one from her student days who has resurfaced as the boyfriend of her best friend. Predictable, but rather fun and easy to read.
- The Movie: Originally bought “Taken” to watch this week (originally planned for valentine’s day) but we never got round to watching it and watched some panel show instead. unfortunately this week has been very panel show orientated, and my boyfriend has also gone and purchased Sopranos complete boxset. So no movies this week. All very sad indeed. But since I watched three the previous week that’s okay.
First Week of the New Job February 20, 2010Posted by travisthetrout in Life at Large Law Firm, Working Life.
I woke up this morning excited about going to work – I think for the first time I was actually disappointed that it was a Saturday. I am sure this feeling will pass as I get more stressed, but I’m just so happy (literally, smiley happy) to be enjoying my new job.
Totally different culture to my last firm which had loads of paralegals, most of which fell into three categories: a) waiting to do the LPC 2) completed the LPC but looking for a training contract or 3) obtained a training contract, but passing time between the LPC and starting said training contract. I.e. Cheap Labour (luckily nothing to the extreme of “unpaid work experience” (do note excellent posting by Little Lawyer on this and related matters if you haven’t already read it)).
At the new firm I am the only paralegal in my department, which in some ways is nice – I get to work with all the Solicitors and Associates. However, in someways its quite bad as if I need to check something I need to go see a Solicitor and I feel bad asking them about something that it probably relatively straightforward when they are clearly busy and have better things to do. That and my inbox clogging because I am on all the fee-earner mailing lists and I get all the solicitor’s files shared with mine, which equals mayhem. All that aside, they do have a pretty good case management system. I’ve got the actual training on it next week, but most of it has been straightforward the few days I’ve been using it.
The work itself has been great, I’ve become excited about law and about commercial property again, just like I used to be once upon a time. I’ve been working mainly on completion and post completion steps of leases. I have been told I’ve been getting on well and they’ve been pleased with the work I’ve turned out. I have had to keep going back to them about things – but it’s all procedural stuff and hopefully won’t take me too long to get the hang of it.
The paper files and deed packets for the cases I’m working on are building up already. On the desk and on the floor. I’ve become friendly with the archivist and the secretaries so all seems to be good. I’ve started a system of organisation for my stuff, but I’m also still making notes on how to do everything. So we’ve got my To-do List Book (hope to do a review of this on my notes in a book blog later in the week) and a general exercise style notebook for my checklists and notes on how to do things. Then on my desk, the piles of folders represent different clients and the location on my desk represents the solicitor it is for. Luckily a lot of the stuff I can complete and send back to archives or the relevant storage cupboard.
Looking forward to monday now, my head is swirling with all the things I want to do – should have brought the to-do list home.
The Internet has Returned February 17, 2010Posted by travisthetrout in Personal Life, Working Life.
After a long weekend of BT saying “the line’s dead, but we’ll fix it soon” we’re finally back online. I probably wouldn’t even have spent that much time online this weekend, but the fact that I couldn’t actually access the internet was making me irrate.
What’s new this week?
Well last friday was my last day at the medium sized firm where I was doing admin stuff. Very sad day and a nice evening out with the team. With the usual “there is no I in team” jokes. Aside from the fact it was my last day – it was pretty busy.
We were showing a partner how our team worked, and what we did etc and it looks like my team is going to acquire 3 new staff. I’m so proud. Sad that I won’t be there to see the next stage of the project. My boss (who is telling everyone she can) told the partner how annoyed she is that I wasn’t given the proper support from HR to apply for the internal jobs I wanted and was put down for, but instead there was so much messing around I went for an external job. The partner who had been impressed with my work said he wished he’d have been told earlier and that he was disappointed I was leaving. And said he hopes I would come back should a suitable vacancy come up.
I received a bagful of gifts, a wonderful card and to top it all off I even won in the current firm raffle. I was upset to be leaving and people who I barely know were all wishing me the best of luck at my new firm. How everyone knew where I was going to I’ll never know. My boss has clearly been telling more people than I thought.
Monday was my first day as a paralegal. I don’t want to disclose too much (for obvious reasons, particularly as it’s a large firm) but my first day was basically an induction day – health and safety, computer training, policies and procedures, introduction to the team. Lots of names and a blur of faces. I didn’t want to get thrown in at the deep end, but I was disappointed to not get something proper to get my teeth into. One of the associates wanted to give me some proper stuff to do, but my “buddy” was like, “not on her first day!!” so yesterday and today I’ve been doing more of the proper stuff (along with some more training). I’m in the commercial property department so a lot of what I’m doing is reading and amending leases and doing engrossments. I’m so happy to be doing more than just scanning, whoo!! The other excellent thing of course is the fact that I can leave the house at 7.30am like a regular person these days.
Dressing for Success February 8, 2010Posted by travisthetrout in Working Life.
A couple of weeks ago I attended an event hosted by TM Lewin on how to “dress for success”, in other words, work. They obviously gave us an introduction to their range of clothing, but they also gave loads of general tips:
- Buttoning up jackets – Top button sometimes, middle button always, bottom button never.
- Important to get the right sleeve length – if it is too short it wears at the elbow and if it is too long it wears at the cuff.
- With regards to quality – the lining and inside pockets are the giveaway.
- Don’t wear all day – hang it up.
- Girls should try and match skirt and trousers to a jacket for variety, or even a dress.
- Choose a skirt option that is practical – so if your job requires a lot of running to court a pencil skirt is not the best idea.
- Rotate so that the suit lasts longer.
- Sleeve Length (same problems as the jacket).
- Measure sleeve length from middle of back, straight out to bent elbow and then to wrist.
- Should be able to get an index finger in all the way round at the collar.
- tie the tie in a knot suitable for the shirt collar.
- when matching tie with patterned shirt, go for the least dominant colour.
- ironing a shirt – collar then cuffs, sleeves and finally body. Iron from the outside, in with the collar (lining in a good quality shirt if fluid to shape the collar, if you iron out this deshapes the collar and cause lumps at the points.
We also got shown female cuff links (in the shape of shoes) and bow ties (which are harder to tie than they look boys).
Anyone got any dressing for work tips they’d like to share?
End of the Week: 7th February 2010 February 7, 2010Posted by travisthetrout in End of the Week.
- Breakdown of LPC fees [Solicitr]
- Career Killer – Crying at Work [Bitter Lawyer]
- Office Worker Meltdown [Video]
- Another perspective of the Castle that was hidden in hay [treehugger]
- Ipad and E-textbooks [Out of the Jungle]
- A World of Connections [The Running Librarian]
- February’s creative experiments [Daisy Yellow]
- Award for Fight scene with a pen [Tiger Pens]
My Weekly Goals:
- The Book: The Rules of Work (Richard Templar)
Working Update: the last week ahead February 6, 2010Posted by travisthetrout in Life at Medium Sized Law Firm, Working Life.
This week has been a busy week, since one team member got fired last week and one had his holiday this week so all the more work for just 2 of us this week. We also moved office and I”ve a huge desk – downside – I’ve actually been running back and forth the length of the desk and it is making me more tired. One scanner has been broken the past few weeks and we finally got given a temporary replacement.
My boss finally gets it, I’ve handed in my notice and I am finishing work at the end of next week, she was seriously hoping I’d change my mind. My replacement (who is the girl I started the job with originally) is starting Monday and I’ve a week to get her up to speed again. We’re also having a partner spend a morning with us to show them what we do, as my boss is pushing to expand the team. I personally think that will be great fun, my boss is just glad I’m there and can do the selling. According to my colleague my boss calls me a machine, apparently it’s a good thing. I’m not so sure.
My new job actually wanted me to start this week coming, but I told them I’d start the following week because I told my boss I’d work this week to help out. I’ve built up a good team and I believe they deserve to be a permanent fixture (and be expanded). We make the firm paperless, a goal that is a worthy. However, I cannot wait to start me new job, I’ve no idea what it will be like. I’ve been told I’m “going to die” because everyone is going to be pulling me in different directions, but people underestimate just how organised I can be and how much I love the rush of the stress and push and pull. So we’ll see.