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Paralegal

A paralegal is an individual who is qualified through education and training to perform legal work that requires knowledge of the law and the procedures it involves, but who is not a qualified solicitor. Paralegals form an important aspect of the legal system, offering assistance both to their employers and their clients. 

Demand for paralegals is consistently high, with individuals in the profession helping to create access to legal aid for members of the public looking for less costly alternatives. 

Many paralegals are employed by corporations, but others are recruited by government agencies and non-profit organisations. A paralegal working within an organisation may offer a limited spectrum of services, under the responsibility of a solicitor. 

Basic information 
  • Typical salary bracket: £16,000 to £20,000 (junior), £20,000 to £30,000 (experienced)
  • Contract basis: Locum, interim and permanent roles
  • Job location: Across the UK – including Manchester, Midlands, East Midlands, Newcastle, Leeds, Liverpool and London
Key responsibilities 
Day-to-day tasks may include: 
  • Preparing legal documents on behalf of a solicitor, such as bundles
  • Researching cases and any other supportive legal information
  • Interviewing witnesses and clients relaying this information back to solicitors
  • Going to court and conferences
  • Dealing with confidential information
  • Giving legal information to clients
  • Attending relevant meetings
  • Managing a caseload under the supervision of a solicitor
  • Opening and closing case files
  • General administrative duties
  • Upon progression within the role, paralegals may conduct their own caseloads.
You could work for many different types of organisations, including private companies, law firms, local government, the police and the courts. 

What skills do you need to be a paralegal? 

In order to become a paralegal, you will require: 
  • Excellent administrative skills
  • A high level of accuracy
  • Strong attention to details 
  • The ability to read and recall information
  • Excellent research skills
  • Great communication skills to enable them to liaise with clients at varying levels
Experience 
Your level of experience will depend on your employment history. Some solicitors will look for a candidate who has worked as a paralegal for a number of years, whereas others will be willing to take on someone with less experience. This depends entirely on the requirements of the employer. 

Qualifications 
You do not need any qualifications to become a paralegal. You will need a good understanding of the legal system, so it is likely that experience working at a law firm will help you. Qualifications in paralegal practice or a degree in law could also help you start your career, but these are not essential. 

It is also becoming increasingly common to become a paralegal through an apprenticeship programme. 

As a paralegal you are often given the opportunity to train and gain the required qualifications to progress further in the legal profession. Having relevant paralegal experience should put you in a much better position to obtain a training contract, having already gained on-the-job experience. If you choose to qualify via the CLIEX method, you will be required to submit a portfolio demonstrating legal work you have conducted, making hands on working experience a necessity.

Person specification
A paralegal should have the following traits: 
  • Good judgement 
  • A logical mind 
  • Patience 
  • Ingenuity 
  • Adaptability
  • Ambition
  • Motivation
  • A positive can do attitude.
  • Enthusiasm
  • A hard working attitude
Career progression 
There are many opportunities to progress in your career as a paralegal, including the option to undertake a training contract or taking the Legal Practice Course (LPC) to qualify as a solicitor. Our team of recruitment consultants are on hand to discuss your career options, whether you want to explore different avenues or are looking for further experience. 

Working hours/benefits 
The hours you work will depend on the company or body you work for as a paralegal. Paralegals will typically work between 35 and 37.5 hours. Many organisations will allow staff to tailor their hours, and flexible working has become widely adopted across the legal sector. 

The types of benefits paralegals can expect to enjoy are dependent on the company they work for.  But many will offer the opportunity to undertake a training contract, offer flexible working and pensions etc.

Looking for a new role? 
Sellick Partnership has over 15 years’ experience in placing talented legal candidates into rewarding roles. We can provide advice and support throughout the recruitment process, and are happy to discuss your career progression with you. 
If you are seeking a new paralegal role contact one of our specialist consultants today by calling 0161 834 1642 or 0113 243 9775. 

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