There’s no such thing as a ‘typical’ PA…

Tuesday, 20th November 2018

By Claire Carlo, PA to the Senior Partner and Marketing Administration Manager at JMW Solicitors LLP

I joined the pro-Manchester PA committee at its inception in 2016. The committee seeks to provide PAs and EAs across Manchester with opportunities to learn and develop both personally and professionally. The seminar topics span a wide variety of subjects, recognising that a PA’s job is never straightforward.

As well as your ‘typical’ duties such as administrative support, a PA might be involved in accounts, business reporting, presenting, marketing, events or recruitment, to name a few. My own career as a PA has shown that there is no such thing as a typical PA!

I started as a legal secretary after graduating from university, and then covered maternity leave for a PA for one of the Partners. I enjoyed the one to one relationship of working as a PA and looked to secure another PA role once that maternity cover came to an end. Again, I was working at a law firm and a large majority of the work was typing and diary management, but that gradually developed into assisting the Partner in managing the team, becoming more involved in training the team on systems and processes, reporting on performance, and then on to conducting interviews for new staff.

After three and half years, the bustling city centre was calling to me, and I took my current role at JMW as PA to the Senior Partner. This included an element of Marketing, which is not something I had done before. Here I assist the Senior Partner with recruitment for the firm, liaising with candidates at interview and offer stage, and reporting on recruitment activity. I work with the Marketing team to arrange seminars, events, and client entertainment, and am present at most of our client events. On top of that I deliver the welcome pack in our new staff inductions. There is a huge amount of variety and no two days will ever be the same. It’s great to mix with colleagues and their clients to see the truly diverse nature of the legal industry within Manchester. One thing I have learnt is no two days are ever the same, which is exactly what you want from a role and continued development.

Four years into my career at JMW, and I’m now studying for my CIPD HR Diploma Level 5 in Human Resource Management, with a view to taking this element of my role further. There’s no better way than getting stuck in to an area that I find both challenging and rewarding.

One small bit of advice to anyone considering a role as a PA or EA; expect diversity, expect challenges and expect the unexpected. There’s no end to what you may be asked to provide support with. There are so many opportunities as a PA to progress and develop, when you find the right company and the right boss, they encourage and support you as you grow within the business. You are never “just a PA”, you are an integral part of the business. Dream big!