Could you please outline your role and background with the firm?
I have been at the firm for two and a half years. I started at NRF as a legal assistant (LA) in the Banking and Finance department, supporting two partners and sometimes a third partner when she was visiting the Sydney office from Melbourne.
It had been 18 years since I had worked full time in a city law firm and I had a lot to learn! I remember walking into the office and wondering where all the paper files were and why we all had two screens!! My role included diary management and responding to emails, booking meeting rooms and general liaising with all other areas of the firm, eg. reception, accounts and the events team. I think one of the most important components of my role is making sure our billing cycle runs smoothly. This includes running regular reports so that clients are kept informed of “what is on the clock”.
About a year ago I took on the extra role of Legal Services Co-ordinator (LSC) for Banking and Finance and Finance and Insolvency (FRI). This involves making sure there are LAs available to cover for when other LAs are on holidays or are sick. There is also an opportunity for LAs to put forward any issues for the regular LSC meetings. For example, suggesting a more efficient way of getting a particular task done.
What attracted you to NRF? What keeps you here?
I had always found that the best “fit” for me was a city law firm, preferably a large global firm with offices located in the CBD. I didn’t know much about NRF as I had not worked in the city for 18 years but I had a good feeling about the firm, particularly the people when I was being interviewed. They were very communicative and positive and I felt that I would be valued at NRF.
My “good feeling” turned out to be spot on. I have learnt so much, partly due to training and just being on the job and I was supported during that learning curve. There have been opportunities available for me, for example , being offered the LSC role and filling in for the Executive Assistant to the Managing Partner elect for several months. I am continually impressed by NRF’s commitment to a variety of stances, eg. supporting the LGBTI community, celebrating International Women’s day, supporting various charities and bringing attention to mental health issues.
How would you describe the culture of the firm?
Respectful, friendly, inclusive and socially aware.
What do you enjoy about your role?
I enjoy being part of the team. Although during the COVID lockdown it was necessary to work from home, I do enjoy being in the office with colleagues.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I go to the gym before work. I start the day going through my emails and head downstairs to the NRF coffee shop at least once in the morning for a caffeine hit! There are certain tasks that need to be carried out weekly but other than that I just do the work as it comes in. Zoom meetings are quite common now and I am always busy at the end of the month organising billing. At lunch I like to catch up with friends, go shopping or go for a long walk.
How much support do you receive from the wider legal secretarial team?
That’s the beauty of working for a large international firm – there is printing/scanning support, our training team, IT support, our events team, our accounts team and reception and mail staff to name just a few.
There is an LSC on each floor. Every 6 weeks or so we have a meeting to go through any improvements or issues that have arisen.
What training/support do you receive?
When I started at the firm I attended various training sessions, on our various computer systems, and what support was available at the firm. Training is an ongoing priority at NRF and it’s really up to you how much you want to do. Recently I attended advanced excel training and in my role as LSC I have organised IT to provide our LAs a training session in Kiteworks. During the lockdown period our Learning and Development team provided some really interesting training sessions on dealing with stress and psychology in the workplace. These courses were available to everybody.
Is NRF a social firm?
There are various events at the firm that everyone is encouraged to attend. There have been quiz nights where money has been raised for charity. Occasionally there will be a guest speaker and everyone is encouraged to attend and have morning tea afterwards. We have sport teams and LAs are always encouraged to participate if they wish. A few times a year an LA lunch is held in the boardroom. This a great opportunity to catch up with other LAs who work in different areas.
The Christmas party at the end of the year is always amazing! There is always a theme and employees and partners enjoy the opportunity to wear fancy dress (some more than others!) Last year the theme was “1960s”! There are also team lunches etc. , although needless to say, this has all come to a halt with COVID.