Diane D’Alfonso

Legal Assistant

How long have you worked at NRF

I have been at NRF for over 20 years, starting out as a junior secretary in November 1998 in a small team then named DGJ Projects, which was part of Deacons Graham & James.  We have gone through so many changes since I started.

 

Can you please outline your role, and who you currently support?

 I am currently supporting the Financial Services team which sits in the Corporate team.   There are 10 people in our team including the Team Leader and Partner, Jon Ireland and another partner, Ray Giblett.  There are 2 Special Counsel (with one based in Melbourne), and there are 6 Associates.

 

What attracted you to NRF? What keeps you here?

I remember going to my first interview straight out of business collage, I stepped out of the lift and this feeling overcame me and from that moment I knew I had to work here.  Actually, now that I think about it, it might have been the best view of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House I had ever seen.  I remember going to office for NYE fireworks and the 2000 Olympics opening – that was amazing.  This was of course at Goldfields House building.  These days I get to see glimpse of water and still have that “awe” feeling.

What keeps me here is definitely people and the team you work with.  I’ve been through different teams whilst working here and they have all been different, but great at the same time. 

 

How would you describe the culture of the firm?

Management is great in implementing diversity, and it is widely acknowledged.  Working with the other legal assistants is great as you can ask for help when you need and you know that they will have your back if you are under pressure, have a lot on your plate or you are taking leave. 

 

What do you enjoy about your role?

The people I work with – approachable and friendly.  Ability to ask questions and direct as needed. 

 

What does a typical day look like for you?

The day to day has definitely changed since Covid 19.  Generally, the day is arranging meetings with clients, monthly billing, assisting with ad hoc questions from your team, opening matters which is an involved process, requiring conflict checks, preparing engagement letters, setting up the matter with correct hourly rates and billing currency. Liaising with other countries for child or parent matter opening.  There is also email management, drafting correspondence and legal documents, liaising with clients, arranging travel arrangements, expense reconciliation, preparing bibles, weekly client reporting and monthly partner standards. Also, attending relevant meetings such as our Monday whiteboard meetings.  Assisting in any proposals, tenders or chambers submissions with help from the marketing team.

 

What training/support do you receive?

There is loads of training when you start your role.  And there is also training when you need it or if you want to refresh your skills.  I am usually the one that many call on for help.  I have also mentored junior assistants and new LA’s to the firm.  I like to help people in that regard and if I cant help, then I’ll call on people who can help.

 

Is there anything else that we should know?

The mailroom guys are great and very helpful.  The Litsupport team who print or copy documents are amazing.  The reception and catering team always go beyond to accommodate requests.  The IT team are only a call away and can assist with your queries.  We also have the word processing team who are also approachable and assist with any Word questions.  Assisting other assistants and working in team environment with other assistants.  The marketing team are also helpful.