Law Firm Records Administrator

Claire Dowling – Records Administrator for Anderson Lloyd 2014 to present


BA History and Social Anthropology

Diploma in Information and Records Management

Post-grad Certificate in Information Studies with a specialisation in Archives and Records Management


Previous roles

Archives New Zealand Archives Support Assistant in Auckland: responding to remote reference enquiries; scanning archives; providing on-site retrievals to users in the reading room; arrangement and description of newly accession archives.

Hall’s Transport: storage project moving files from on-site to off-site storage and implementing a retention and disposal schedule.

Present role:  Anderson Lloyd

I was initially hired to work on our off-site storage project then shifted into day to day work. My day to day tasks cover deeds: checking for consistency with internal guidelines, filing and retrieving from storage.

The management of physical files in off-site storage for client matters and internal administrative files including retrievals, lodgements, and annual destruction, and checking matters for consistency with internal guidelines.

I manage the uplifts process when clients move to new firms including retrieval of files and deeds, scanning of matter files, and providing matters and physical original deeds to the new lawyer.

I am the Department of Mysteries, the person you ask to solve your mysteries and find old information or documents, based on being familiar with our practice management system, search techniques, a good understanding of document management, and the history of the firm.

I work in conjunction with the Client Services team on some internal tasks which include the checking of daily death notices to see if any of our clients have died.

I also act as a Privacy Champion in our firm and hope to expand this role in the future.

These records and information management aspects of the role (which are most of my role) lead me to join an Otago based Information and Records Managers group which meets monthly on a variety of topics. I now run the group, we have changed from in-person meetings to Zoom which has enabled us to expand our reach outside Dunedin to all of Otago and Southland. I am trying, for the most part, to keep the group Otago and Southland focused.  As a result of the IRM group I joined the Archives and Records Association of New Zealand (ARANZ) and the Otago/Southland branch committee. I was the 2020 conference committee secretary but unfortunately the conference was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I am currently, as at February 2023, the branch treasurer and co-secretary, and am leading the ARANZ working group for the Incorporated Societies Act 2022.

I am the firm's librarian. I maintain our catalogue, manage our ongoing subscription renewals, take requests for new purchase to the library committee and process the results, manage orders, assist in training new staff, and provide basic research services. This part of role led me to join the NZ Law Libs list-serv and then join the NZLLA in 2019 for the discount to attend the 2019 Christchurch conference. I subsequently joined the 2021 conference committee, and then the National Executive as Treasurer in 2022. Currently, as of, February 2023 I am also the 2023 Conference Convenor and part of the working group for the Incorporated Societies Act 2022.

I hope that by reading this biography you've gained an insight into the different types of legal information professional careers. I don't feel like a proper librarian, my cataloguing isn't to any classification system and is about making our information resources as useful and accessible to our users as possible. In an ideal world they wouldn't need me because everything would be so well managed by everyone but I don't think that's likely to happen any time soon. The depth of knowledge and experience I have, and have intentionally sought out, make me a valuable resource. I am willing to take on new work and expand into new areas as the firm changes and our needs change, and to keep up a degree of variety and diversity in my work. There are some consistencies in my day but for the most part I don’t know what will come my way.


What do you love about working in legal information professions?

I love the variety of tasks I'm asked to complete. Some can be intriguing and some can be tedious but you don't know what's going to be asked. I also really appreciate having a good understanding of the way our various systems work together and how users use them. Everyone thinks about information management and research differently, which isn’t always easy to wrap my ahead around, but I appreciate the challenge.

What kind of skills, experience, attitude and character work well in legal information professions?

•Attention to details
•Curiosity (including a desire to learn)

My LinkedIn profile: Claire Dowling | LinkedIn 


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