An Open Letter to Legal Secretaries and Legal Assistants:
We've all dealt with them -- the temporary that has no business being in the office -- the temporary that needs hand-holding and babysitting -- the temporary that no one trusts to give work -- the temporary that sits there doing absolutely nothing -- the temporary with no initiative or ability to make judgment calls without being told -- the temporary, where it would have been better to have had no one cover your desk, because they definitely made more work for your return . . .
Rest assured -- I AM NOT THAT TEMPORARY!
I am NOT after your job - I don't want your job - I am not trying to replace you. I can relate to how protective you are of your work. I know how selfish I always was with "my" work, and would do anything to keep from relinquishing it to some warm body temp -- whether it be through a temporary agency or an Independent Contractor.
Times and offices have changed. Legal secretaries/assistants have more responsibilities and thus, more work. Ten years ago, very few attorneys had computers sitting on their desk -- five years ago, only a handful of attorneys performed their own typing using these computers -- and today, more and more attorneys actually draft, edit and format much of their own work on their own computers. Therefore, the days of a temp sitting at your desk because of an absence, unless for an extended absence, in my opinion, is an unnecessary expense because with the attorney typing much of his/her own work, that leaves the temp sitting there looking pretty and doing nothing, or dealing with your administrative duties -- including confidential and/or personal information that really shouldn't be seen by a temp. We all know how they messed up your desk and documents with just typing letters --do you really want them handing administrative duties without supervision -- and who is going to have time to supervise them?
An audio and/or video file needing transcribed is entirely different. Today, much of the discovery is handed over in a format other than hard copy. It is imperative, to the case, that these words get transcribed exactly. It takes a special ear to transcribe these spoken words into a paper transcript. Even if you are qualified and don't mind the "ears" stuck in your own ears, a prerequisite of a great transcript is a quiet environment -- which isn't possible in a law firm setting. In addition to the quiet environment, is the time required -- some recorded phone conversations, interviews, interrogations are professionally recorded; however, more times than not, these are recorded in a less than optimal setting. You simply don't have three to eight hours or more to accurately transcribe a one-hour recording. These are transcripts that end up becoming an Exhibit in the courtroom, and not a short one-page letter.
A great transcriptionist cannot be interrupted while transcribing to answer the phone, respond to an e-mail, locate a file, send a fax, make a copy of this or that, or stop transcribing completely to report to another attorney and another crisis.
Outsourcing audio/video files allows you to concentrate on more pressing and demanding tasks.
Again, I reiterate I don't want your job -- and I'm not just a warm body that accomplishes nothing.