Paralegal

Legal assistant, property assistant, contracts assistant

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Paralegals carry out research, prepare legal documents and give legal advice to clients.

Salary range: £14,000 to £40,000

How to become a paralegal

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

University

You could study for a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in law, legal studies or paralegal practice.

There’s a lot of competition for places on law degrees, so you’ll need good grades in your entry qualifications.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

More information

College

You could take a college course before you look for work. Courses include:

  • Level 2 Diploma in Legal Studies
  • CILEx Level 3 Certificate in Law and Practice
  • Level 3 Legal Secretaries Diploma

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

More information

Apprenticeship

You could take a paralegal advanced apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More information

Work

You may be able to find work with a legal practice as an admin assistant and do training on the job to qualify. This could be done through the Institute of Paralegals or the National Association of Licenced Paralegals

You’ll be expected to have GCSEs or A levels and a good standard of English.

More information

Career tips

You’ll find it useful to have some understanding of how the legal system works.

Further information

You can find out more about paralegal careers from the Institute of Paralegals and the National Association of Licenced Paralegals.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of English language
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • excellent written communication skills
  • administration skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you could be:

  • researching and preparing legal documents
  • handling confidential information
  • interviewing clients and witnesses
  • giving clients legal information
  • going to court
  • handling a caseload of clients
  • following instructions
  • general office tasks

Working environment

You could work in an office, in a court or at a police station.

Career path and progression

With further study, you could qualify as a legal executive or solicitor.

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