I particularly appreciate the fact that there are always clear and open channels of communication in the office as this really helps to avoid misunderstandings. We know each other’s capabilities and preferences and we can optimise the allocation of work within the department.
I have been working at Loyens & Loeff since 2012. I began as a “Flying Management Assistant”, and that means standing in for assistants who are absent or away (i.e. holidays, sick leave, maternity leave, …). This was an interesting introduction to the whole company and its different departments. After 4 months in that job however, I was given the opportunity to become a permanent assistant in the finance and banking law department. There, together with my colleague, I assist the partner in charge (who is also the Managing Partner for the Brussels office) as well as the rest of his team.
Every day is different, and I like that. Some jobs are typical of an assistant’s position in a lawyer’s office, such as diary management, organisation of meetings, taking minutes, processing correspondence, making copies, invoicing etc. But I have been given a chance to do more than that. For example, our department organises regular seminars and my colleague and I also get to develop and organise a team-building day for everyone. What’s more, I appreciate being able to attend frequent training programmes to improve my professional skills. It’s great to feel part of the team, and be on first name terms with everyone.
The lawyers are usually pretty receptive to any suggestions we may make and often express their appreciation. We are clearly an integral part of the department, and I find that very motivating. So even though we know there is a certain distance between lawyers and staff, it doesn’t mean that our work is any less valued. In fact, quite the contrary.
A typical working day
My typical working day (if there is such a thing as a typical day…), would be:
I leave home for the office
I get into the office and check to see if there are emails or tasks that need urgent attention.
I pick up the incoming post and distribute it to the department members concerned.
I start on the numerous secretarial tasks that I have to do: drawing up invoices, organising telephone and conference calls, making copies and CDs, organising travel arrangements, filing, preparation and mailing of correspondence, lay-out of documents, preparation of presentations, and so on. I also have to organise the weekly departmental meeting and update our client database.
Lunch time ! I usually eat ‘al desko’ or, if I have a bit more time, in our cafeteria. Our law office is close to the Woluwe Shopping Centre (5 minutes by foot), so I can easily go there if I need something in particular.
I continue my morning duties.
I check that all correspondence (letters, registered mail or courier packets) is ready to be deposited at the reception desk for collection.
It’s the end of my day and time to leave the office.