THE JOURNEY OF BECOMING A LEGAL SECRETARY AT A LEADING LAW FIRM
By Nokuthula Ntoyi, Legal Secretary and FICA expert at Lopes Attorneys
One day when I least expected it, I received a call that would later change my life. When I picked up the phone, the voice on the other side was excited and passionate. Still nervous at the time, I didn’t even realize that I had just got the opportunity to join a leading boutique law firm called Lopes Attorneys Inc.
Before joining the firm, I used to work at a retail store and the experience I had was far different than what is being done at a law firm, let alone a specialized firm in Rosebank. I started working as a receptionist. My managing director, Mr Rui Lopes quickly realized that I was hungry to grow because he saw potential in me. This led to him giving me an opportunity to become a legal secretary.
Becoming a legal secretary has taught me to become efficient and reliable, which I would not have been able to do if I was not willing to put in the time and effort it takes to get the work done. During my journey, I have learnt the important lesson of accountability, which I still carry with me.
The work I do is very enjoyable because I get to meet different clients that have different needs and personalities. Legal secretaries need to have respect, loyalty and patience to create a healthy and less stressful working environment. This particular career-path requires a good-mannered personality. I am proud to say that being a legal secretary has supported the development of my personality even further. It brings me great joy for the office to looks tidy and neat. I have also met various interesting people by preparing the boardroom for meetings and interacting with the firm’s valued and important clients.
I generally also work as a switchboard operator which I enjoy because it puts me in a position to show our clients utmost respect and provide them with the high-quality assistance one would expect to receive at a boutique law firm. The managing director gave me an opportunity to learn more about Microsoft and how to do spreadsheets. The team I work with at Lopes Attorneys Inc. are the most amazing staff to work with. They are always assisting me whenever I ask, and it brings me great joy to provide them with assistance when necessary. I enjoy each opportunity that is given to me.
Working with the firm’s FICA function has also given me the opportunity to play an important role in the risk and compliance of the company. I was not aware of how FICA worked prior to joining the company, but by learning and constantly asking questions I was able to learn enough to add value to the firm’s admin structure even further.
I can therefore say with confidence that the journey in becoming a legal secretary is a very rewarding and fulfilling experience. Despite not knowing much about the law initially, due to hard work, passion and the right attitude, I am honoured to call myself a member of the legal fraternity.