Did you know today (Friday 5 May) is National Secretary’s Day ?
Those who work in administration positions play a vital role in keeping law firms coordinated and thriving. They are often the key factor in creating a highly efficient and effective firm and the magic ingredient for a happy and supportive working environment.
To acknowledge and celebrate our unsung law firm superstars, we asked our clients to tell us how their remarkable paralegal or secretary goes the extra mile for their practice, for their chance to spoil them with a luxury hamper.
We were thrilled with the abundance of incredible submissions we received this year, ranging from the hilarious to the heartfelt - we enjoyed reading each and every one!
The Smokeball team would like to thank everyone that took part in our 2023 National Secretary's Day Celebration. Keep reading to discover our grand-prize winner and deserving runners up.
And our 2023 winner is...
Congratulations to our extraordinary 2023 National Secretary's Day grand-prize winner, Alice McNeill of Women's Legal Centre ACT, who will receive a luxury hamper valued at $275. We hope you enjoy your prize Alice - you deserve it!
Alice McNeill | Women's Legal Centre ACT
Alice is the Centre’s Corporate Support Officer. She is the first point of contact for women contacting the Centre and tends to the administrative needs of the organisation. Alice ensures all memorandums, correspondence and clinic notes undertaken by the large team of volunteer lawyers who assist our Centre each week are uploaded appropriately to Smokeball. She keeps the Centre running with kindness and professionalism.
The experiences of women seeking assistance from the Centre can be distressing, and many women are escaping domestic and family violence. Alice is the first face women see when coming to the Centre, and she provides a safe, calm, and welcoming environment. Alice must often take difficult phone calls from women in distress. She approaches these conversations in a trauma-informed manner, and leaves women feeling heard and valued.
Alice manages the Centre’s busy calendar, including that of our CEO. She handles all of the administrative needs of the office, and her exceptional time-management and problem-solving skills ensure the Centre runs smoothly and meet the needs of women in the ACT and region. Alice also helps to facilitate the Centre’s pro-bono advice appointments, which expand the Centre’s capacity to provide women free legal advice. Further, her mind for innovation means she is constantly contributing to making the Centre more efficient and accessible for staff and members of the community.
Alice is the backbone of the Centre. Her competence, efficiency and professionalism are a great asset to the Centre and the legal sector.
And the runner’s up...
We were inundated with so many incredible nominations; we were unable to highlight just one. Here are our runners up, who will each receive a $70 gift pack.
Joanne Riley | Kemp & Co Lawyers
Joanne goes the extra 50 miles for our firm! Joanne is secretary, office manager, fire warden, and first aid officer all in one! She not only looks after me, but she also looks after everyone in the office, ensuring that no birthday goes by without a cupcake and tea. Joanne is the repository of all corporate knowledge that would put many ancient elephants to shame. Without the slightest hesitation she will recall the case from ten or fifteen years ago where the Plaintiff was filmed mud wrestling at the Tamworth festival only to claim the injuries the subject of their claim prevented them from getting out of bed. She can identify a good client from a bad one within 5 mins of the initial consultation, ensuring that bad instructions and indeed bad debts are a rarity.
Prue Garvin | Clarity Lawyers
Prue is an absolute super woman! She is an experienced family law and estate planning legal secretary. We are a small firm of four solicitors, and Prue provides support to all of us, and manages to be across all files. Prue does everything from taking initial client enquiries, booking appointments, fielding client queries, managing diaries, drafting correspondence and legal documents, managing the Trust and Office Accounts, collating briefs, and disclosure, attending to the transfer of properties, and supporting the solicitors in every way possible! Nothing is too difficult for Prue; she takes challenges on with determination and a smile. Prue is our resident Smokeball expert and loves learning new tips and tricks to make our work more efficient and our lives easier. Prue is a dedicated employee, wife, mother, and friend. She cooks delicious baked goods, which she kindly brings in to fuel the office. We would be so lost with Prue, and we are so grateful she is a part of our team!
Janine Graham | Budden Law
Janine Graham is an exceptional legal secretary and the "Mum" of our office at Budden Law, a small country firm of 5 lawyers. She has been employed as the sole receptionist/legal secretary at the same premises for the past 33 years! Janine's remarkable memory allows her to recall every client that comes through the door, and many of our clients have a longstanding rapport with her spanning decades. Janine's passion for the law, tremendous work ethic, and organisational skills ensure the smooth operations for everyone at Budden Law. She has become an absolutely irreplaceable and invaluable asset to our office. She gives us all helpful support, hardly ever takes a sick day, and even when she is supposed to be home resting, she will just 'pop' into the office voluntarily to make sure a "settlement went through okay" or a "document got filed on time". We have told Janine that she cannot retire until we find a way to clone her! Janine Graham truly deserves recognition for her exceptional contribution to our office, and we are so lucky to have her as a part of our team.
Natalie Pavia | Godden Lawyers
Natalie is our law firm superstar! She is our Paralegal extraordinaire, office hairdresser, coffee maker, secretary, and shoulder to cry on all-in-one human. We do not pay her enough!
Kerry Cook | Teak Legal & Consulting
Kerry came aboard just a month after we launched our law firm and has been an absolute godsend ever since. She helped us decide on the software / file management system we ultimately went with, and regularly goes the extra mile for our small team. Kerry always provides a warm welcome to our clients and is the driving force behind our office celebrations, whether it's for milestones, public holidays, anniversaries, birthdays, or anything else. Her contributions have been truly invaluable to us as a fledgling business, and we would be stuffed without her!
Karena Callahan | WALLACEWEIR
There is nothing she will not do to make my day easier. She must be telepathic or something because she has documents prepared before I even know I will need them; she has that extra cup of coffee ready just as I am about to get away from my desk to get one, and she does everything with a massive smile on her face. She is the best paralegal anyone could ask for and has become a remarkably close friend since we started working together five years ago. She is the absolute best, and everyone needs to know it!
Join the Smokeball Community
With Smokeball, you're not just getting practice transforming software. You'll benefit from our thriving community of legal technology experts and fellow progressive legal professionals.
Get in touch today to learn more about the Smokeball Community and how our intuitive legal practice management software makes it easy to automatically track time and activity, manage workloads, bill your clients, and more!