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Career Story: Office Manager Of A Non-Profit Legal Services Firm

Office Manager Of A Non-Profit Legal Services Firm

Job Title: Office Manager

Type of Company: My company is a non-profit legal services agency which provides services to low-income persons in civil legal matters.

Education: UMass Lowell - no degree obtained

Previous Experience: I volunteered at a legal services non-profit agency in which I climbed the clerical ranks learning computer management and IT up to office manager.

Job Tasks: I am responsible for the day to day running of a non-profit legal office, including all technology (we employ a local area network and a voice over Internet protocol telephone system). The office is a legal office which represents low-income people in civil matters which means many requests for services.

In addition, I am responsible for client issues, whether there are complaints or questions our front office staff are unable to answer. I will also help with client intakes. I run the case service statistical reporting along with all grant preparation and submissions. I supervise the support and paralegal staff (all non-attorney staff). Part of this is handling case review meetings.

My job also entails fiscal monitoring by reconciling payroll accounts, client trust funds and operating fund accounts. I have assisted clients in restraining orders but I am not an attorney and therefore not able to appear in court in court procedures. Part of my duties also include client referrals to private attorneys who accept cases pro bono (at no charge) to the client.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is that there is never a dull moment, the fast pace of the office makes the days fly by. Also, because of lack of funding therefore lack of staff, there is a diverseness to the duties I am responsible for, nothing gets boring.

In the same token, the worst part of the job is that there is never a dull moment to fully complete tasks.

Job Tips:
1. One must be able to multi-task. Even though there are established job duties, you must be able to adapt to the situations at hand. 2. You need to be very compassionate because the clientele is very needy. 3. Patience is a must, our clients tend to push the limits for a variety of reasons including lack of schooling, disabilities, rough up-bringing. 4. Expect low wages. Legal Services offices are not like typical law firms with high wages. They are non-profit agencies addressing community issues. 5. Love what you do or you'll burn out. Attorneys handling some of the more difficult cases tend to burn out within 3 years. You have to have a passion for what you do.

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