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Voices of Law: Interview with Ayla Hasan - Legal Secretary at Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Written by: Evie Courtier
Published on: 4 Jan 2024

Legal secretary interview

Ever considered a career as a Legal Secretary? TotallyLegal recently caught up with Ayla Hasan, Legal Secretary at Greenberg Traurig, LLP - a leading multidisciplinary law firm, providing a range of high calibre legal services to a broad range of clients in the UK and across the globe. Bringing with her just shy of six years dedicated Legal Secretary experience, Ayla offers an insight into how she started out in the legal world, challenges en route, and her top tips to aspiring Legal PAs and Secretaries.

How did you become a Legal Secretary?

“After studying a legal secretarial CILEx diploma at college, I was keen to gain experience in the legal sector; it was important for me to jump at any opportunity which allowed me to get my foot in the door.”

“I was successful in being offered a part-time role as an Administrative Assistant at Herbert Smith Freehills. After being offered a full time position and working in the Corporate Services and Disputes Resolution departments, I was then offered the opportunity to join Greenberg Traurig supporting a range of transactional teams, where I have now been for five and a half years and have worked my way up to become a Legal Secretary.”

What is the biggest challenge you faced on your route to becoming a Legal Secretary?

“I think there have been many challenges along the way, but I would say the biggest challenge was trying to find a firm that would recognise me for my worth and would promote me based on the work that I was doing and the various skills that I was showing, rather than having to take tests and exams in order to receive a promotion. This challenge came with finding the right firm for me, and starting a new role which seemed daunting at the time but turned out to be the most rewarding thing I could have done.”

What can you tell us about your role at Greenberg Traurig, LLP?

“I have a wide and diverse role at the firm - I am often very busy which can be particularly intense and pressured at times. I really enjoy my role and find that I prefer working in fast-paced environments and teams.”

“Working for the Restructuring team in particular has given me much more variety in my role. I work for a large number of fee earners and have also spent half of this year leading on the support of our new offices in Dubai and Riyadh - a great opportunity which has given me exposure to a new global side of the firm, in addition to our existing international practices.”

“I also really like to encourage the social side of the job as much as possible as I think that is a key part of office life and is what makes coming to work even more enjoyable.”

What do you love about being a Legal Secretary?

“My favourite thing about being a Legal Secretary is building relationships with my bosses and my wider team. I believe that positive relationships encourage a happy work environment and, therefore, result in the best work product from myself and the overall team.”

“I love making a difference to someone’s day and going above and beyond to make their day easier. Knowing that people heavily rely on us, and being able to see the positive impact you have on them, and their role, gives me great job satisfaction. I take real pleasure in helping other people and taking extra steps to provide the best service possible.”

Can you tell us in your own words why Legal Secretaries are so essential to the organisations and individuals they work for?

“With solicitors and other fee earners having so much to juggle in their roles, we are heavily relied upon to keep on top of all tasks and responsibilities. I believe it’s really important for our bosses to feel like they can count and rely on us no matter what. I love the problem solving that comes with the role; as much as it does create additional work for us, it results in everyday being different, keeping the job exciting, with opportunities for constant development and adapting to the needs of others.”

“Legal Secretaries are a vital part of any firm - if we were not there, the general running of the firm would not run half as smoothly given how much we do in our day-to-day roles. Some of our work is carried out effortlessly in the background and without thought, to the extent our bosses may not always realise. It is important for firms to take notice of how crucial a part we are within their organisations and to recognise the daily and overall difference we make to our bosses and also to the firm as a whole.”

What’s your top tip to Legal Secretaries starting out in the profession?

“My top tip for someone starting out in the profession would be to use your initiative and take risks. Gain as much experience as you can and take whatever opportunities come your way. If possible, try and experience working for a range of departments to help you find the practice area(s) and type of work that you prefer, and if you think a different role or firm would suit you better, and an opportunity arises, take the leap”.

How do you feel about the rise of AI? Do you think your employer should embrace AI within the workplace?

“Yes, I believe my employer should embrace AI within the workplace because it could significantly help with some of my most time-consuming tasks e.g. amending documents. I think AI could be a great aid however, I do not believe that it will take away the need for Legal Secretaries as I think the interpersonal skills and human connection with colleagues and clients is still very important.”

In November you were shortlisted as a finalist in SecsintheCity PA of the Year Awards - what advice would you give to other Legal Secretaries thinking about nominating themselves for the PA of the Year Awards?

“My advice for anyone that is thinking about nominating themselves would be to go for it! It is always a good idea to sing your own praises and recognise your own hard work and achievements. Be proud of yourself and everything that you have done so far.”

ayla hasan


To find out more about the role and responsibilities of a Legal Secretary, discover our ‘Legal Secretary Job Description’ article. Apply for your next Legal Secretary job on site - offering tailored search across a myriad of practice areas and locations.

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LinkedIn: Ayla Hasan