UK Legal Recruitment Consultants

Paralegals

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, a training contract or mini-pupillage, but it does mean we give you the information to enable you to do this yourself.

Paralegals in Demand

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! If you are looking for paralegal work and have experience, please search our vacancy database. Most law firms look for permanent paralegals and some dangle a carrot of a training contract in front of the nose of LPC graduates.

We are able to assist you (free of charge) with any enquiries you may have regarding your legal career. Please email your question to cv@ten-percent.co.uk. Please do not telephone us. We will post our reply as an article onto this website and send you the link.

These are the resources on our site that may be of interest to anyone who has a legal qualification but no paid experience yet.

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. Our usual advice for anyone wanting to be a paralegal is to avoid getting any additional qualifications – we are not convinced they assist you to find legal work in most cases. Experience is the key, whether this is starting out as a legal secretary or receptionist and working your way upwards.

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
  • research
  • 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 employer.

Paralegal Qualifications

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 training contact or 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. Please note however that you do not need any qualifications at all to be a paralegal. This is not a qualified position, unlike a legal executive, licensed conveyancer, solicitor or barrister.

Qualifications obtainable: 
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.

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.

ILEX Paralegal Programmes

National Association of Licensed Paralegals – Body set up to oversee paralegal work

Scottish Paralegal Association – Body overseeing paralegal work in Scotland.