As well as being specialist legal recruiters for solicitors looking for legal jobs in the UK, we also offer assistance to law students, graduates and paralegals searching for the elusive training contract or pupillage. This does not mean that we can find anyone a legal job, vacation placement, work experience, a training contract or mini-pupillage, but it does mean we give you the information to enable you to do this yourself.
Paralegal positions are increasing in number in the UK, as more law firms realise that staff do not have to be qualified to undertake certain types of work, which of course saves them money, which always makes solicitors firms quite happy! Most are looking for permanent paralegals with the carrot of a training contract dangling in front of the nose of LPC graduates. We are able to assist you (free of charge) with all enquiries you may have regarding your legal career. Please visit our Legal Careers Forum to send us your query.
What is a paralegal?
Paralegals are classed as non-qualified fee earners, with recent innovations including the National Association of Licensed Paralegals who now operate to license those looking to remain fee earners and perhaps not proceed so quickly to a training contract. It is getting a more popular choice, as the cost of qualifying as a solicitor is slightly prohibitive, although if you have already done the LPC you really should keep trying to get a training contract for as long as you can!
Paralegals do legal work, but are not fully-qualified solicitors or barristers. They could work in many different kinds of organisation, such as:
- law firms, where they support solicitors
- the public and not-for-profit sector, such as in Citizens Advice Bureaux, charities or trade unions, where they are often advice workers or caseworkers
- civil and criminal courts, police forces and enforcement bodies like Trading Standards
- commercial companies, where they may advise on business law or manage contracts.
Their duties vary depending on the area they are working in, but the work often includes:
- preparing legal documents
- interviewing clients and witnesses
- attending court
- keeping up to date with the law
- handling a caseload
- giving legal information to clients
- general clerical work.
Experienced and senior paralegals in law firms may carry out most of the work that a solicitor does. There are no set qualifications for becoming a paralegal, as entry requirements can vary according to the
Some employers may ask for at least a class 2:2 law degree or a postgraduate law qualification. Some may even prefer you to be a Legal Practice Course (LPC) or the BPTC or Bar Vocational Course (BVC) graduate – many law graduates take jobs as paralegals if they have not yet found a solicitor’s training contact or barrister’s pupillage.
If you do not have a law qualification, you will usually start in an administrative role in a legal firm and study
for paralegal qualifications whilst working.
ILEX Paralegal Programme with City and Guilds
Level 2 Certificate in Vocational Paralegal Studies
Level 3 Diploma in Vocational Paralegal Studies.
National Association of Licensed Paralegals
Higher Certificate in Paralegal Studies
Post Graduate Diploma in Paralegal
Practice (PPC) – for law graduates who want to progress as a paralegal and do not wish to qualify as a solicitor or barrister.
You can study for these courses either part-time at local colleges, or by distance learning.
Peterborough Regional College offers a Foundation Degree in Paralegal Studies. This is a three year part-time
course for people already employed in a legal setting. Contact the college or see their website for more details (see Further Information). Some other colleges and universities also offer relevant foundation degrees in law or legal studies.
After completing the ILEX Paralegal Programme, you could take further ILEX training courses to become a legal executive. As a qualified and experienced legal executive, you could then choose to take further training to qualify as a solicitor.
www.ilexpp.co.uk - ILEX Paralegal Programmes
Peterborough Regional College – Foundation Degree in Paralegal Studies
National Association of Licensed Paralegals – Body set up to oversee paralegal work
Scottish Paralegal Association – Body overseeing paralegal work in Scotland.