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Cream of the Crop'' Legal Secretary Sally Jarvis

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                             “Cream of the Crop” Legal Secretary Sally Jarvis
                             [By Robin Salisian]
                             One might think that a professional legal secretary and certified legal secretary specialist would have had aspirations to work
                             in the legal field from day one. After all, law, lawyers, and legal jargon are what would encompass your life the moment you
                             sat down at your desk.




However, Sally Jarvis, a current legal                “I found the law fascinating,” Jarvis added.       an “educational association for legal
secretary in the trial department at Dorsey           “I learned quickly and soon discovered that I      secretaries whose members value ethics,
& Whitney in Seattle, WA, fell into law a             never wanted to do anything else.”                 professionalism, and continuing legal
different way.                                                                                           education,” according to its website. She
                                                      Jarvis worked for several years in                 became a member in 997, just two years
“In school we were told that the legal                Washington, DC, where she said she learned         after the organization was founded. At the
secretaries were the ‘cream of the crop.’             things there she could not have learned            time, Jarvis lived in Northern Virginia and
While I thought it sounded like interesting           anywhere else. One exciting experience             worked in Washington, DC, where she and
work...I wasn’t sure I was good enough,               was watching her attorney argue before the         her friend, Jan Sullivan, came together to
since it was always stressed no mistakes              United States Supreme Court.                       form Legal Secretaries of D.C., Inc., “as a
could be made on legal documents. This, of                                                               local affiliate.”
course, was before there was a computer               “[It] turned out to be a 9-0 victory in a
on every desk. Legal documents were typed             seminal case. It felt good to be a part of it,”    Jarvis was soon holding several board
in multiple copies with carbon paper, so              said Jarvis.                                       positions, including the position of president;
accuracy was very important.”                                                                            she is currently serving her second term in
                                                      Currently, along with working for Dorsey           the post. By the end of the year, however,
Yet despite her doubts, Jarvis pressed on,            & Whitney, Jarvis acts as president of             Jarvis will leave office. Her plans? “I will
taking courses in typing, Gregg shorthand,            Legal Secretaries International, Inc.,             stay active in the association but in a less
English grammar, spelling, bookkeeping,                                                                  prominent role.”
transcribing, office practices, and psychology
                                                        Q. What do you do for fun?
at the Memphis School of Commerce in                    A. I read a lot-detective stories, legal         But Jarvis’s role in the legal field does not
Memphis, TN, figuring office work included              thrillers, and spy novels. I also love           end with Legal Secretaries International,
work outside the legal field.                           computers and spend a lot of time on the         Inc. Recently, Jarvis became a certified
                                                        Internet, and I love to dance.                   legal secretary specialist in civil litigation,
Out of school and several jobs later,                                                                    after passing “a four-hour examination that
                                                        Q. What CD is in your CD player right now?
however, Jarvis was sent by an agency to                                                                 include[d] questions on legal secretarial
                                                        A. I’m not sure, but one of my favorites is
interview with a law firm. Before she knew it,                                                           procedures and in-depth knowledge of
                                                        “Old Time Rock ’n’ Roll” by Bob Seger.
she was hired.                                                                                           specialty procedures in one of six specialty
                                                        Q. What is the last magazine you read?           areas,” she explained. She also works as a
Without any legal experience, Jarvis relied on          A. In Brief, published by Legal Secretaries      legal secretary for Dorsey & Whitney, LLP,
the firm’s attorneys to guide and train her.            International, Inc.                              an international law firm with 8 offices in
                                                                                                         the United States, Canada, Asia, and Europe.
                                                        Q. What is your favorite TV show?
“One of the first attorneys I worked for, a
                                                        A. I loved The West Wing while it was on.
young partner by the name of Stuart, taught                                                              With such esteemed positions held, it is
                                                        I also like Shark, How I Met Your Mother,
me a lot, said Jarvis. “I still had an awful lot        What Not to Wear, and Iron Chef America.         difficult to remember that this secretary
to learn then, but Stu was patient and always           As you can see, I have pretty eclectic taste.    once doubted her ability to succeed in the
took the time to explain the cases and why we                                                            legal field. But overcoming doubts and fears
were doing things—not just what I needed to             Q. Who is your role model?                       gives Jarvis confidence when offering others
do. He would discuss the facts and the legal            A. Della Street and my mother.
                                                                                                         advice.
theories, and it brought the law alive for me.”




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“Pay attention and learn. Never turn down      joining a professional association. It’s a great   Official Tourism Site of Washington, DC
free training, even if it is on your own       way to make new friends and network across         www.washington.org/index.cfm?
time. You are the one who will ultimately      the country.”                                      blnNavView=True&idContentType=36&idCur
benefit. Keep your skills up to date—both                                                         rentPage=7
your technical skills and your knowledge of    ON THE NET
procedures. Read what comes across your
                                               Legal Secretaries International, Inc.
desk. If you don’t understand something, ask
                                               www.legalsecretaries.org
questions. That’s how you learn. Proofread
everything; even a misplaced comma can
                                               Dorsey & Whitney, LLP
make a difference. I would also recommend
                                               www.dorsey.com




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DOCUMENT INFO
Description: Sally Jarvis Is Certified Legal Secretary Specialist At The Department At Dorsey & Whitney nd Now Jarvis Acts As A President Of Legal Secretaries International Inc And Now She Became A Certified Legal Secretary Specialist In Civil Litigation After A Four Hour Examination.
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