Legal Administrative Assistant College Grad in Philadelphia
Name: Andrea
Career: Legal Administrative Assistant
Company Field: Legal
Located In: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Grew Up In: Scranton, Pennsylvania
Graduated From:
Majored In: Writing for Film and TV
Graduated In: 2011
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After College Lifestyles

Andrea is an Administrative Assistant at a Law Firm in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her job entails supporting attorneys, office work, and office maintenance. Learn about Andrea's journey with a Film/Television Writing Major and how she ended up in her current profession.

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Name: Andrea
Career: Legal Administrative Assistant
Company Field: Legal
Located In: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Grew Up In: Scranton, Pennsylvania
Graduated From:
Majored In: Writing for Film and TV
Graduated In: 2011

Quick Stats on Being an Administrative Assistant at a Law Firm

Work Hours/Week: 40 hours
Work Hour Flexibility: Low
Quality of Lifestyle Outside of Work: Medium
Work Stress Level: High
Level of Routine Work: High
Interaction with Co-Workers: High
Pay Level (out of 5): $$$

Life of a College Grad Administrative Assistant


I am responsible for all legal administrative assistance and litigation support work for a law firm containing about a dozen attorneys. I do everything from data entry and managing e-Discovery to organization of client files and aid in attorney research. In addition to this, I am the receptionist and also in charge of inventory and ordering of office supplies and refreshments.

Administrative Assistant's Daily Routine:

7:00 AM Wake up, albeit slowly

7:30 AM - 8:00 AM Get ready for work (shower, dress, etc.)

8:30 AM Arrive at work, make coffee, empty kitchen dishwashers, restock staff fridges

9:00 AM Check email, check list of things to do

9:30 AM Start on any particular project I might be working on

1:00 PM Go to lunch for an hour

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM Get the mail: open, scan into the computer, name, organize, distribute accordingly

5:15 PM Clean kitchens, load and run dishwashers, restock staff fridges

6:00 PM Arrive home, decide what's for dinner

11:00 PM - 12:00 AM Go to bed and sleep

College Grad Legal Administrative Assistant
How To Get Into The Field
I studied Writing for Film and Television at the University of the Arts in center city Philadelphia and soon realized that with $300 a month in student loans, rent, and other expenses, I couldn't be picky with my job selection- I had to take what I can get. After applying to as many radio/television/creative jobs to no avail, I began looking on Craigslist for basic office work just to get my foot in the door somewhere (and get a paycheck!) I applied to the law firm for a receptionist position in July, went for an interview in August, and was hired on the spot. I would suggest that someone who wants to get in the legal field should try their hand at actually working in a firm as a paralegal/legal assistant for a bit before directly going to law school. You'll need that real-world experience. I know this isn't what I went to school for or where I intended to be, but I view it as really great experience to put on my resume. Office work (no matter what field you're in) teaches you so much about relationships with clients and other employees, meeting deadlines, working under pressure, and solving problems when they arise (and they will arise).

What Do You Really Do?
My job entails being put under a lot of pressure trying to appease all supervisors and attorneys. If a big project with a lot of documents comes in the door, I need to think of the best, quickest, and most cost-effective way to get it done, while also implementing teamwork and navigating around petty office drama. The better I am at starting and finishing a project in an allotted amount of time, the better it looks on the client's bill, and thus, money coming into the firm. Basically, as an administrative assistant, you're expected to do everything and anything at the drop of the hat, with no complaints.
Pros/Cons of Your Job
What attracts me to the job is the fast-paced, challenging environment- it forces me to use my brain and think of the best way to get a project done and get it done RIGHT. It's also great learning something new everyday about the legal field- from dealing with difficult clients to the ways different courts/judges/etc. operate.

The job becomes frustrating due to an overall lack of communication and respect from attorneys. I'm not saying it's like this at every law firm, but the general demeanor a lawyer carries around is ""I want it done, I want it done this way, and I want it now."" There's very little room to communicate your own ideas about what's best- you work for them, not the other way around.

Tour My Philadelphia Apartment:

Quick Stats on Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Job Opportunities: High
Competition for Housing: Low
Housing Cost: Medium
Population of Young People: High
Nightlife: High
Safety: Medium
Biggest Industries: Broadcast, Hospitality, Tourism

The Life of a College Grad In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Living in Philadelphia After College

What's it Like to Live Here?
Philadelphia is great because of its versatility- there's art, theatre, cheesesteaks, and sports, but there's also a great business district and lots of history and tourist attractions (i.e. Constitution Center, Old City, City Hall, the Liberty Bell, Love Park, the Museum of Art, South Street, Fairmount Park, etc.). Sure, there's the bad areas you'd likely avoid at night where the cheap housing is (as is in any major city) and the safe, nice areas with the expensive housing, but all of the city has beauty and is chock-full of nightlife and culture and tons of small businesses: amazing restaurants and bars, clothing boutiques, art galleries, bookstores, cute parks. It's very hot and humid in the summer and absolutely freezing in the winter, but both make you appreciate the other and we're only an hour from the shore for the peak beach season and only an hour or two from the slopes for ski season. The people can range anywhere from nasty to sweet on any given day, but no matter what your niche is, you will definitely always find a place here you can call home.

How Did I End Up Here?
I grew up in Scranton, PA which is only a two-hour drive down the PA Turnpike to get to Philadelphia. I decided to move down here when I got accepted into the University of the Arts and I lived in student housing (apartment-style dorms) for the first year. After the dorms, I lived in four different places and I currently reside in an apartment in the art museum area of the city with my boyfriend. We found this apartment on Craigslist and have lived in it for nearly three years now.
My Set-Up
Our apartment is $1220 a month and about 500 square feet, containing one large bedroom, one very large living room, one small kitchenette area, and a decent-sized bathroom. It has very tall ceilings, bay windows, and is one of four apartments in the building (we're on the second floor above a dry cleaner). My boyfriend and I decided to live on our own after living in a house with two other couples. This location is very loud (there's two different bus routes, heavy traffic all day and night, and two churches right outside our window), but it's also one of the safest, cleanest, and prettiest areas in the city.

Closing Advice


If I could give advice to new college grads, I would say that no matter how much your school might have cost or how much you owe in student loans, it will pay off, whether that means monetarily or otherwise. Don't fret if you have a "useless" degree (which I often say about my BFA in screenwriting from an art school), because there was a reason you chose it and you met a lot of great people and had a lot of great experiences, both socially and academically. You might have said you'd never work a 9 to 5 job or be a waitress at a nightclub, but you might end up doing exactly those things because you need to pay the rent. Don't beat yourself up- every place you end up working is simply more to add to your resume, portfolio, or professional and personal network.

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