IN her 45 years as a legal secretary at Baldock Stacy and Niven Solicitors Sharon Hill has seen a lot of changes and made a lot of friends.
Mrs Hill commenced her career at the law firm at the tender age of 17, and in those early years the vast majority of her and the firm’s lawyers’ work was conducted via face-to-face meetings with clients.
It made for a challenging but enjoyable work environment.
“I loved it. In the early days we had [a lot of] contact with clients. It’s something I miss,” Mrs Hill said.
“You meet some amazing people and make lifelong friends, not just in the firm, but clients as well.”
While technology streamlined most of the job’s processes, Mrs Hill lamented its impact on the level of contact with clients.
“The development in technology has made the work less enjoyable. There’s less face-to-face contact,” she said.
“It worries me the future of work may become more impersonal.”
When she started working for Alfred Baldock as a legal secretary, the unwritten rules were dresses only for women and all secretaries were female.
The day would be planned and then a phone call could throw it all out and force another plan, but that’s what was good about it
But times have changed and Mrs Hill said Baldock Stacy and Niven was an “amazing, family-orientated firm” to work for, one which had provided her with manys satisfying experiences.
“When a young couple came into to buy their first home, it was a daunting experience, and the satisfaction was helping them go through the process as smoothly as possible,” Mrs Hill said.
“And then sharing their joy and relief at having completed the process and then seeing them return for their second home.”
As her career progressed, the breadth of the Mrs Hill’s work began to expand. In addition to doing some conveyancing, Mrs Hill began working with wills and estates, for which she credits one of her superiors.
“I learned so much when I started working with Jim Prosser-Fenn,” she explained.
“He taught me a lot and helped me move from not just typing and secretarial work, but running my own clients.”
The other secret to her job satisfaction? The surprises.
“The day would be planned and then a phone call could throw it all out and force another plan, but that’s what was good about it,” Mrs Hill said.
“I loved getting up in the morning and going to work.”
Now the retiree’s only worries are spoiling her grandson and planning a holiday.
“I’ll be staying in Orange. This is home, there are too many beautiful friends to leave,” she said.