Hello! I’m Alice Jeavons and I’m a paralegal in the Wills, Trust and Estate Disputes team in Birmingham at Irwin Mitchell LLP. I joined the firm in May 2020 after initially working as a Family Law paralegal for around 2 ½ years. Given the Covid pandemic I’m currently working from home and I’m not ashamed to say that I absolutely love it! The comfort and convenience speaks volumes to me, as well as the amount of time and money I have saved having to get myself looking presentable in the morning… I feel very fortunate that Irwin Mitchell LLP have recently announced that they will be embracing ‘flexible by choice’ practices moving forward as part of their working policy.
In my current position, I support several fee earners across a wide range of contentious probate and Court of Protection matters. No two days are the same, however typically it may look like:
8:30am – I typically log on between 8:30am and 9:00am just to run through my emails and check if anything urgent has come in during the evening which I have to re-prioritise my task list for. Working from home means I only wake up half an hour before I log on (another bonus) so I get settled in with a cup of tea – I don’t drink coffee, sacrilege for the legal profession I know – and get started.
9:00am – 11:00am – Working from home also results in a lot of virtual teams meetings taking place. These are great opportunities to speak to colleagues about workloads, any matters you require supervision on and any issues you may be having generally. These meetings are a valued space to connect with your colleagues and as a paralegal in a learning position I very much appreciate this time to speak with my mentors.
11:00am – 1:00pm – Personally, I like to get my large drafting jobs done in the morning as I’m much more productive during this time. As I said above, each day is different and some days I may do more drafting than others. However, I’m normally drafting lengthy letters of advice to clients, Letters of Claim, or letters to the opposition, witnesses or experts. Once finished I send my drafts off to the supervising fee earner for their approval and/or amendments.
1:00pm – 2:00pm – Lunchtime. I lazily move three steps from my desk to the sofa and tend to switch on some ‘trash TV’ to turn my brain off for an hour or so. Every week I tell myself I will leave my flat and go on a walk for some fresh air at lunch… so far that has been unsuccessful but it may be a resolution for 2022!
2:00pm – 4:00pm – When I take those three steps back and return to my desk my afternoon will usually be taken up by answering emails, completing smaller tasks to progress matters under supervision and carrying out some administrative tasks. I usually also speak to new client enquiries during this time, taking the initial details from them and identifying how we may be able to assist them moving forward.
4:00pm – 5:00pm – We’re actively encouraged to keep close contact with our colleagues and develop internal relationships. I believe this is incredibly important since we work from home and colleague contact is limited. I regularly have virtual ‘catch-ups’ with other paralegals in the team where we definitely discuss work and not our weekend/holiday plans…
5:00pm – 5:30pm – I finish the day by finalising any tasks that I started, re-writing my task list for the following day and shutting everything down. I then take those tasking three steps away from my desk and to sofa once again!
5:30pm onwards – As you can tell from above, working from home does have its perks but it is also difficult to socialise and get fresh air at the same time! I’m lucky enough to live in Birmingham city centre where there is more than plenty to do, and I often try to see friends or go out for food in the evening.
In December 2021 I attended the Birmingham Solicitors’ Group Christmas Social where I was able to connect with other legal professionals whilst playing darts (I got a bulls-eye by the way). Switching off in this way in the evenings allows me to feel fully rested for the following day!
By Alice Jeavons, Paralegal at Irwin Mitchell LLP