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How to become a Paralegal

paralegal careers

What does a Paralegal do?

A paralegal works within a legal environment, usually directly supporting one or more solicitors, but is not fully qualified as a barrister, solicitor or legal executive. This can be within a law firm, for a commercial company or in the public sector.

Most paralegals specialise in a particular and narrow area of the law, for example conveyancing, probate or family law. Duties vary depending on the area they are working in. However, most positions involve:

  • document management
  • document and contract drafting and proofreading
  • research
  • attending client meetings
  • attending court
  • keeping up to date with legal developments
  • handling a caseload
  • providing legal advice and customer care
  • general clerical work.
In a commercial company the position may involve some company secretarial work and corporate management.

Experienced and senior paralegals in a law firm may take on a very similar role to that of a solicitor (see Solicitor profile for more details).

What's the working environment like working as a Paralegal?

Paralegals usually work Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, although longer hours may be required in order to meet deadlines. Most of the work is office base, although there may be a need to attend court or external meetings.

Part-time and temporary work is often available.

What does it take to become a Paralegal?

To be a paralegal you should:

  • have a thorough knowledge of law and the legal system
  • have excellent spoken and written communication skills
  • be accurate and pay attention to detail
  • be able to work on your own initiative in a pressurised environment
  • be comfortable organising your own workload in order to meet tight deadlines
  • have numeracy and administration skills
  • be computer literate and able to conduct research.

Paralegal Career Opportunities

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Paralegal that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

National Association of Licensed Paralegals
9 Unity Street
Bristol
BS1 5HH
Tel: 0117 927 7077
www.nationalparalegals.com

ILEX Paralegal Programmes
Kempston Manor
Kempston
Bedfordshire
MK42 7AB
Tel: 01234 841000
www.ilexpp.co.uk

Scottish Paralegal Association
26 Drumsheugh Gardens
Edinburgh
EH3 7YR
www.scottish-paralegal.org.uk

Peterborough Regional College
Park Crescent
Peterborough
PE1 4DZ
Tel: 01733 767366
www.peterborough.ac.uk



Courses to help you become a Paralegal