What is a Paralegal?
You may have heard the term “Paralegal” several times, but do you really understand it? If you need more information about a Paralegal’s profession, the qualifications required to be the one and the money you may earn, you’ve come to the right place.
What Is a Paralegal?
A Paralegal is a valuable person in a legal team who understands legal issues and the law but is not a licenced Lawyer. Paralegals are responsible for various administrative and legal tasks. They usually work alongside Lawyers, Barristers or/and Chartered Legal Executives.
When it comes to the tasks performed by Paralegals, they primarily assist Attorneys in their work. Based on their interests and potential prospects, they might choose to specialise in any particular field of law.
What Does a Paralegal Do?
A Paralegal often works in a specific department of a law firm. The job responsibilities may differ based on the department but may include any or all of these:
- Legal research
- Project management
- Drafting basic legal documents
- Document management
- Client support and progression
- Administrative support
What Skills Should a Paralegal Have?
You should possess a diverse set of skills to work as a Paralegal. Here are some skill sets you need to be proficient in:
- A strong desire to practise law
- Communication skills
- Organisation skills
- Team player
- A sharp observational ability
- Analytical skills
- Research competency
- Capacity to perform efficiently amid pressure
What Areas Can a Paralegal Specialise In?
A Paralegal can specialise in various areas. If you’re a beginner, you can start with any of the following:
- Family law
- Corporate law
- Real estate law
- Estate planning and probate law
- Criminal defence law
- Intellectual property law
What Qualifications are Required to be a Paralegal?
There aren’t any official requirements when it comes to the qualifications required for becoming a Paralegal. However, you should attentively choose what to study.
In today’s fast-changing economic environment, it’ll be advantageous if you possess:
- Prior experience in the field of law you want to practise
- Studied these key fields and proven an academic interest in them
Is a Degree Essential to Become a Paralegal?
A degree is not necessary; however, it may be advantageous because of the highly competitive nature of jobs in the service sector.
The increasing demand for Paralegals has led most law firms to ask for a 2.2 (and often even a 2.1) in a qualifying law degree if you have one. An equivalent achievement in a non-legal degree with certification on a law conversion course, like the GDL, is also acceptable.
Most legal firms are nowadays requiring the LPC as a post graduation qualification. An experience in the legal field is a huge plus, so completing it is a great way to move forward.
As a result, this occupation is gaining popularity amongst BPTC and LPC graduates. It is mainly because of an increase in the number of students who have completed their BPTC or LPC courses but have yet to receive a pupillage or training contract.
Individuals who work in this capacity get multiple advantages, including:
- Gaining legal knowledge and experience
- Keeping oneself updated on legal developments
- Boosting their resume/work experience details
- Creating a network of contacts that might lead to more opportunities for training
What Average Salaries do Paralegals Get?
Salaries of Paralegals who are graduates vary from £17,000 to £25,000 per year. Your pay might increase up to £40,000 per year if you have experience. Of course, the pay range varies depending on the legal firm and practice area.