What job ads say vs What they mean
1. Mail/courier management
You’ll be the one printing off all the incoming correspondence, or sorting the outgoing correspondence into envelopes to go to their recipients – that is, if your workplace hasn’t moved totally electronic, in which case, you’ll be the one filtering out the emails that come to the generic address to the appropriate people. You’ll also be responsible for distributing incoming mail to the relevant staff member, and making sure things that were supposed to arrive, have, and chasing them up if they haven’t.
This means that in any one day your duties can go from photocopying, to attending court, to drafting correspondence. It’ll be varied and no two days will be the same. You’ll also probably find yourself working on multiple tasks at once – greeting clients, answering phones, attending to administrative tasks and office tasks in general.
3. Ad hoc duties
Whatever comes up: you’re it. Anytime a client calls querying why the lawyer hasn’t returned their call, or whether their paperwork has come through, or to ask whether you’ve heard anything from the other party, you’ll be the one explaining it to them, or putting them on hold to find out what’s going on. It also includes any last minute activities when the deadline is creeping up. You might even find yourself having to run down to file something at court at the last minute if you’re working in an area where things move pretty quickly. Basically, any task that requires actioning immediately will probably fall on you.
4. File management/General administrative duties
You’re the photocopier guru. You’ll be responsible for any documentation that needs to be obtained, copied and inserted into the client’s file. You’ll also be in charge of making sure it’s accurate and making any amendments that might be needed as per the manager’s request.
5. System Maintenance
Anytime something breaks down, you’re the fix-it person. You’ll probably be the one attempting to fix it yourself and getting frustrated, not to mention the time you’ll waste before you finally decide to ask for help. And when that doesn’t work, you’ll be the one calling the technician to fix whatever it is, and in the meantime have to deal with fact that the place will be without technology for several hours and apologise like crazy to clients who no doubt will be as annoyed as you about something you cannot even control.
Despite these not being explicit in the job ad, you definitely should expect a challenge, and with challenge brings new skills and accomplishments. So read the job description, but be prepared to go further.
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