Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Being a Legal Secretary

I am going to keep writing about my jobs because, to be honest, I can't come up with much else, and at least it's something blogwise. If anyone wants to ask us a question, or even set an essay question I'm game, because it's better than the watching The Simpsons again, which seems to be on an endless loop repeating themselves, not that that stops the kids watching them. I used to love The Simpsons, but now I know all the jokes, so I am more into 'Family Guy'. If you want a guaranteed laugh, watch this.

Once I had quite a good job as a legal secretary. I will keep the name on my blog to get a bit of a revenge because she really is a little monkey and something of a madam, not that I'm sure she will be worried about me slagging her off on a blog in front of two people, and she remains blissfully unaware of this non-event anyway.LOL

When I first came to Hull I lived in Cottingham and got a job as a legal secretary for Gwynth Drury, Solicitor, Cottingham. She worked everyone really hard for £2.70 per hour (in 1993) while swanning around in a white jeep and going to Beverley Races. She also had to have her sheets changed everyday by the staff and generally behaved in a queenly fashion. On the other hand, she was quite feisty, and had taught herself law after bringing up a family, so I suppose you've got to hand it to her. Mrs Drury had something of a reputation among other solicitors in the area for being a bit of a maverick, and ran a very successful practice, mainly I think, by keeping the costs down. The very weather beaten sign to the practice hung by a thread and used to bang about in the wind. I notice it has only very recently been painted. However, if were to make a Will I would certainly go to her for it as you wouldn't get any cheaper.

I am going to suggest to Eleanor to go into Law as solicitors really do make a lot of money. I used to type out the wills. Basically this is just a template and Mrs Drury used to spend about five minutes changing a few words after a consultation and the typist did all the rest. As far as I could see, a lot of the work is like this, and for which the clients are charged disproportionate amounts. Sounds good to me, if you are the solicitor. I found it quite interesting typing out these wills, as it a bit of human interest. I sometimes did conveyancing, which is just buying and selling houses and is very boring, but again the typists were doing a lot of the work dealing with the clients and the nitty gritty.

I got married to Mark while working here and because his Mam also worked there in the Will section where she did clearing of houses, quite a lot of our furniture originally came from house clearances, which accounts for some of the eccentric mix of our decor. For instance, I keep my clothes in gentleman's maghogany 'tallboy' dating from the War.

I also remember sending everyone a postcard from my honeymoon in Scotland in Ullapool saying 'Cold in the tent and we are having to wear jumpers at all times' which for some reason people apparently found very funny. Also I remember being on the phone to Mark in the office at the same time his Mam was leaving work to come round to ours' and saying 'Your Mam's coming round. Quick, tidy the house.' which was also quite funny and made people laugh. I, however, was being perfectly serious. LOL

Mrs Drury is a little monkey as it were because she did that age-old thing of blaming the powerless staff for any mistakes that she had made. I once got called into her office for a dressing down in front of some clients about a mistake which she had made and for which she blamed me, the typist, just to save face!! Also, when she found out I was pregnant with Jack started making my life nigh on impossible by picking continuous faults with my work, because secretly she did not want me to carry on working there (even though she had previously thought I was a good worker, and in fact the £2.70 was "good wages for her") because then she would have to pay me statutory maternity pay!!! I admit that Mrs Drury and I had a falling out over this and when I got home I was desparate for a fag but because I was pregnant with Jack (and in fact had a textbook pregancy and drank Eisberg instead of wine and bought a twenty five pound computer screen to shield him from any minute amounts of radiation) showed supreme self control and had a banana instead. However, he still was born with something wrong with him. What does all this mean? Who knows.

The thought of all this obviously still gets my goat many years later. I am not a misanthropist, am in fact a sterling individual full of goodwill to all men, but I sometimes find it hard not to be in view of the low behaviour I often have to tolerate in others.LOL


Frances said...

made me laugh - I don't suppose it was too lovely honeymooning in a chilly tent - but love conquers all - I spent my first honeymoon on my own - not really, but almost, didn't really have a honeymoon.
I went to school with the children of very rich people and grew up with the idea that most very rich people are like that because they are money-conscious and have little conscience about exploiting other poorer people. I remember a woman explaining to her daughter (in front of me) that socialists were people who wanted everyone to be poor... so that is the attitude to have if you want wealth.
BTW I haven't been blogging because i have been uninspired really - not depressed or miserable, just nothing to say to the world.... LOL

Bobbie said...

I always suspected that the Lawyers (as we call them here) were a sham. After the only lawsuit I ever filed I was convinced more than ever.

I've noticed the richer a person is the more they watch their pennies. My aunt had claim to fame by being the only "rich" person in our family and was she ever stingy when it came to every day stuff. But on the other hand she helped almost everyone in the family at one time or another and so we were all indebted to her.

I enjoyed your post about your experience as a Legal Secretary...you have a knack with words you know.

Irene said...

Bev, you are so funny. It is okay to be a misanthrope in this case, I think. In some cases it is allowed and justified. Since my daughter is almost a lawyer and her boyfriend is, I will assume they are the exceptions to the rule and are made of good stuff and don't mistreat their staff. Their ought to be a law against that!

Anonymous said...

"What do you call a hundred lawyers in a bus falling off a cliff?

A good start."


PS I will bring my lawyer if I come to your house for fire.works...

Bez said...

Hi Bev. Hope you are ok. Texted you from my new number but didnt get a delivery report. Have you changed mobiles? Hope you are doing well.

Frances said...

no 2 things this week? Is everything okay?

Bev said...

Perfectly fine.

Bev said...

Bez I hope you are OK because your website goes straight onto a shopping website. I do look at this regularly
to see what you are doing and a very handsome fellow you are too!

Bez said...

Bev, flattery will get you everywhere! I will look into the website issues but we still have a myspace account and indeed there is one for me, with nothing on it yet :-). Checkout the myspace, any issues let me know and I will send you the link.
Hope you are well and I will try to follow the blog a bit more than I have been doing. Take care.

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dianeclancy said...

Hi Bev,

As always you are a riot and a GREAT story teller - you should be working on a book!!

You have such a way with words and are so insightful too ..

Sounds like a royal .... working for her!! And your honeymoon is a riot!!

Thank you!!
~ Diane Clancy

Bev said...
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Gayle said...

Bev, I just stumbled upon your blog and really got a kick out of your story. Great site too. I also worked for an attorney in my early years and can relate. When the lawyer I worked for as a receptionist wasn't screaming at his legal secretary (who timidly did all the work without a peep), he was off to the country club spending some of his obscene retainers. His secretary worked two jobs to make ends meet. I gave up on the legal field, when I tried to parlay my experience as a legal receptionist (lol) into a better position with another firm with less tension. I found out at the interview that my typing abilities or experience weren't of concern, but the firmness of my bum was as it got a squeeze on the way out! My experience sure disillusioned me on the "noble" profession of law, but it's refreshing to read your humorous take on it.

dolly said...

There is no specific educational requirement in most U.S. states for legal secretaries. However, unlike an administrative assistant, a legal secretary must be familiar with legal procedures. Many colleges and universities offer programs geared towards this career, however, there is not a degree associated with that of a legal secretary. Rather, students are enrolled in existing legal courses, which have been established for those who wish to pursue a career in law, such as a lawyer or police officer.