What does a paralegal do?
A paralegal’s work can range from administrative and legal secretarial tasks to research and provision of legal information to clients. The role’s exact duties would depend on the individual level of responsibility.
Junior paralegal duties would typically involve:
- preparing legal documents
- word processing, filing and other general office tasks
Duties for more experienced paralegals would typically involve:
- providing quotes to clients
- interviewing clients and witnesses
- giving clients legal information
- going to court
- handling a caseload of clients
What do I need to do to become a paralegal?
There are no specific rules about what qualifications and training you must have. However, you will be expected to have a good standard of general education, a good understanding of the law and legal system, and good administration skills. In addition, some employers may ask for qualifications such as:
- a paralegal practice award, certificate, diploma or higher diploma
- a legal secretary certificate or diploma
- an award in legal studies
- an HNC/HND or foundation degree in law, legal studies or paralegal practice
- a law degree
Depending on the job you are applying for, these qualifications may not always be necessary. Relevant work experience in a legal setting would also help you when looking for work.
- Level 3 advanced apprenticeship in legal services
- Higher apprenticeship in legal services
Where to find out more
Where could I be working?
You could work for various types of employer, such as:
- law firms, supporting solicitors – you would usually specialise in one area of law, such as probate or family law
- the public or not-for-profit sector – for example, as an advice worker or caseworker at Citizens Advice, a charity or a trade union
- civil and criminal courts
- police forces, and enforcement organisations, such as Trading Standards
- private companies – advising on business law or managing contracts, or dealing with personal injury or road traffic accident claims