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Celebrating National Secretary's Day 2021

To acknowledge and celebrate our legal admin superstars, we asked our clients to nominate their remarkable paralegal or secretary and tell us how they go the extra mile for their practice, for their chance to spoil them with a luxury hamper valued at $250.

Did you know today is National Secretary’s Day (Friday 7 May)?

Those who work in administration positions play a vital role in keeping law firms organised and moving, handling appointments, speaking with clients, and managing paperwork.

To acknowledge and celebrate our legal admin superstars, we asked our clients to nominate their remarkable paralegal or secretary and tell us how they go the extra mile for their practice, for their chance to spoil them with a luxury hamper valued at $250.

​We were thrilled with the number of heart-warming submissions we received. The Smokeball team would like to thank everyone that took part in our 2021 Secretary's Day celebration and helped make it a huge success.

​Read on to view our winners and runners up:

And the winners are...

Congratulations to our two remarkable winners. You each will receive a luxury hamper valued at $250. We hope you enjoy your prize, you deserve it!

Katherine Schiffmann | All About Conveyancing
Nominated by: Janelle Curtis​​
Tell us how they have been amazing for your practice:
Katherine has lived her working life with us, since 2005 (15 years). We would like to nominate her as she goes the extra mile, examples include: She is the first person our clients meet, so she always has a neat and clutter-free work area and is always greeting clients with a warm welcome. Katherine is so great with people and faces, she remembers current and previous clients names. Her memory and knowledge of locals is outstanding. She takes time to know our clients and engages with clients when they're waiting to see the conveyancer, making it personal and making the client comfortable. She keeps our office immaculately tidy and ordered. She hates clutter and regularly organises a time with each conveyancer to tidy up and archive old matters, destressing everyone. You always know what you get with Katherine, she is consistent with her work, you can rely on her getting the job done, she has a daily plan and allows time for the unexpected. She manages her time very well. Katherine comes up with great ideas all the time, she is always thinking of ways to improve our work-life, whether it's promotions, processes, community involvement or celebration days. Her commitment to our team has proven to be invaluable. She is a well-liked, respected and sometimes under-appreciated team member. This recognition of her efforts would be a huge surprise and give her great delight in achieving this prize.

Rebecca Hawach | Chidiac Legal
Nominated by: Richard Chidiac
Tell us how they have been amazing for your practice:
She has been the engine room for my practice. She ensures that all clients are well informed as to the progress of their matter. Her use of Smokeball to ensure that the file proceeds seamlessly and effortlessly does not go unnoticed. Not sure what I would do without her. She is a gem.

And the 10 runners up...

​We were inundated with so many incredible nominations, we couldn't just highlight two. Here are our 10 runners up who will receive a Smokeball prize pack.  ​

Fiona Harrington |  Foundation Legal
Nominated by: Paul O’Beirne
Tell us how they have been amazing for your practice:
Fiona was the first staff member I ever employed in the early days of my business and has now been with me 19 ½ years.  At least 25 others have come and gone during that time, but Fiona has always been loyal and steadfast, sticking with the business through all its ups and downs.  Fiona has worked in all aspects of the business and is never idle – she sees a need and she attends to it.    I constantly receive positive feedback from clients about Fiona’s friendly manner and exceptional service.  Online reviews left for our business invariably single Fiona out for her excellent service.  If not for Fiona’s input my business would not be what it is today.

Anne-Louise Kimball | John Mackey Solicitors
Nominated by: Katherine Dunbar
Tell us how they have been amazing for your practice:
Annie works tirelessly in our firm. She is a combination of a Conveyancer and Receptionist all in one. She carries the whole of our conveyancing files and gives her utmost to our clients. Her communication is invaluable and our clients also appreciate her hard work and dedication in guiding them through their matter. Annie juggles full-time work with two small children in our family firm, which often entails bringing in the little ones to the office. She always gives her best and it is very much appreciated by all of us in the firm.  

Cherie Koellner | Billie-May Ewings Conveyancing
Nominated by: Billie-May Ewings
Tell us how they have been amazing for your practice:
My awesome secretary is also my sister! She comes in early with me, leaves late with me.  She runs the business like it is her own.  Her dedication is amazing.  The empathy she displays to the clients is outstanding and I simply could not do what I do without her.

Janette Vlahovich ​| Tailored Conveyancing Services
Nominated by: Rebecca Wadelton
​Tell us how they have been amazing for your practice:
Janette has gone above and beyond in her role at Tailored Conveyancing Services. Janette is the most loyal person I have met, is incredibly caring and has exceed all of my expectations!

Marianne Rankin | Allen & Searing Criminal Lawyers
Nominated by: Jodi Allen
​Tell us how they have been amazing for your practice:
Marianne provides secretarial support and is also our office manager, events coordinator, internal IT support, and has been dubbed Marianne the Magician. Running a practice is more than just typing, opening files and client management. Marianne excels at her administration duties, but goes above and beyond that by ensuring when all staff attend work each day, they can accomplish their duties with ease because everything runs so smoothly. We all wish we could sit at our desks and complete our work, but Marianne can never do that. She is interrupted with a multitude of questions from a variety of staff about several different topics each day and is always willing to assist whenever she can. Marianne’s general nature also assists in keeping staff morale high and this is an invaluable resource particularly given all the turmoil many firms have experienced through the COVID pandemic. Without Marianne, our office would not be the same. Although we thank her as often as we can, she deserved to be recognised beyond our four walls.

Sam Botica | Shoalhaven Family Law
Nominated by: Elspeth Finney
Tell us how they have been amazing for your practice:
​Sam has been with our firm for over 18 months and always goes above and beyond to ensure our clients are updated and informed across all aspects of their matter.  Sam particularly deals with our client queries and property settlements and excels in both.  Property settlements are quite difficult at times and as we all know, don’t always go to plan.  Sam ensures that no matter what arises, our clients are well informed and up to date from the time Orders are made and up until and following settlement.  Sam is very knowledgeable in the area of Family Law and is our go to paralegal within the office and is always willing to mentor and train other staff within our firm.  Sam has implemented a number of procedures and workflows within the office which have been a great training resource for current and new staff.  Sam is an asset to our firm, and we would love to spoil her for that reason.

Tina Cirelli | Bullards Barristers & Solicitors    ​
Nominated by: Anthony Bullard
Tell us how they have been amazing for your practice:
Tina is undoubtedly my saviour! Our practice has been very badly affected by COVID with one partner unable to work and two assistants leaving over the last 6 months. She and I are the last two people able to work in the practice and without her amazing ability to do just about anything we would have sunk with all hands. I can’t imagine anyone having a better claim to recognition and thanks for a job sensationally well done.

Anna Rees | Hunter Newns & Holt
Nominated by: Patrick Holt                  
Tell us how they have been amazing for your practice:
Anna came to our firm from another local firm and had never been exposed to Smokeball. She has embraced the software and its capabilities and has become my “go-to” person for many conveyancing features, as well as our precedents, calendar formats, safekeeping documents and smokeball training opportunities. In addition, Anna always brings a smile to work and displays a genuine caring attitude towards all clients and other office staff. It is not unusual for her to take it upon herself to remember a birthday, reach out to a sick friend or staff member or stay a few extra minutes at the end of the day to ensure the task at hand is completed properly. Anna’s attention to detail is excellent and she clearly takes great pride in her work product, as well as constantly striving to ensure that clients are informed at all steps and satisfied with the end result of our work. She has a strong work ethic, coupled with a caring personality and ongoing desire to learn and grow her knowledge and skill base. Anna is a highly valued member of our team and very deserving of this recognition.

Breonie Schultz | Key Conveyancing
Nominated by: Andrea Rickard
Tell us how they have been amazing for your practice:
I nominate Breonie as she is a very valuable member of my team. Due to Covid, we moved her from Melbourne to Drouin working remotely from home. She is my go-to person to quickly and efficiently load paperwork into Smokeball so we can both keep up to date with where files are up to at any given time of the Day. She can quickly generate required documents and liaise with myself or the client direct to do what needs to be done quickly and efficiently with very little fuss. It allows my stress levels to be managed as I know I can rely on her with the help of Smokeball to keep things running smoothly wherever we are, be it Benalla, Melbourne Or Drouin.

Marni Forde-Sloan | Brisbane Family Law Centre
Nominated by: Clarissa Rayward
Tell us how they have been amazing for your practice:
Marni Forde-Sloan who started with us only a few weeks before the Covid lockdown last year, was invaluable during the remote work period, keeping our office running and has fast become the heart of the admin team keeping everything moving.  She is a quiet achiever- just goes about things so I don’t even know they are a thing and is wonderful with our clients.

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