Paralegal Job Description

| Career Insights

Paralegal Job Description

A paralegal is a key part of any legal establishment and can be a very exciting role to enter. However, due to the competitive nature of this role, it is important to understand a paralegal job description to fully prepare yourself for applications and life as a paralegal!

Paralegals can work in an array of legal establishments. Such as: for barristers in a set of chambers, within a government agency, for a non-profit organisation or charity. However, they are predominantly found in solicitor's law firms. Like lawyers, they often specialise and work in one sector, this can be anything from personal injury law to commercial or business law. There is a wide range of sectors paralegals work in.

What are their duties and responsibilities?

There are many duties most found in a paralegal job description but their overall role as a paralegal is to support solicitors and barristers in their roles. This includes duties such as:

  • Researching cases, acts, and other legal information
  • Taking witness statements
  • Drafting documents for colleagues and clients
  • Networking with clients

Alongside these legal responsibilities, paralegals also hold some more basic duties such as general administrative tasks such as taking calls and answering correspondence.

Furthermore, they are responsible for filing documents, organising diaries, and setting up meetings with colleagues and clients.

What are the working hours like?

The usual work structure for paralegals is the office standard Monday to Friday while working 9 am to 5 pm, however, there may be times where you will have to surpass this time and stay later. This will only be in times when there is a heavy workload such as when a deal is coming to an end. These are the general working hours for a full-time paralegal, the paralegal job description will be different for a part-time paralegal. In this case, the number of hours worked will be dependent on what you decide with your employer.

Those paralegals who work for in-house legal teams and charities/non-profits will face more stable working hours and likely will not have to stay past 5 pm, it is usually paralegals working for law firms and barristers’ chambers who face the higher hours however this is repaid as they are usually paid more.

Salary

The average salary for a paralegal is around £18000 to £22000 however there are many different factors that can influence this amount. The main one being location, those paralegals who work in the city are usually paid more than those who don’t. One main example of this is paralegals in London earn around £40000 which is much more than those who work in Birmingham. Experience is another key factor to be looked at, newly experienced paralegals will usually be paid around the £20000 band, however, paralegals with years of experience can see salaries of around £35000. These two factors combined can see salaries rise quite high for experienced paralegals in London. A third factor that is important is to look at who is the employer, a law firm, or barristers’ chambers will likely pay more than a charity or government employer will.

The Legists salary checker can be used to see the average salary in both your location and your sector and compare it with other sectors and locations.

What qualifications and skills are needed for the role?

A paralegal job description will usually not have any specific requirements or qualifications, however, there will at times be a general requirement of good GCSEs and A-Levels. Furthermore, a lot of employers such as solicitors’ firms often like to employ law graduates as their paralegals due to the knowledge and experience they already hold. Furthermore, law graduates often use this on their road to becoming a solicitor.

However, there are many qualifications that can be undertaken to help stand out from the competition. The National Association of Licensed Paralegals offers qualifications ranging from entry-level to post-graduate level in order to train prospective paralegals and offer them experience. Furthermore, there are also other routes to enter the paralegal profession, a prospective paralegal can enter a paralegal apprenticeship, which is an ‘earn-while-you-learn’ route, in which you are trained a paralegal and while working and are renumerated for your work. More information on paralegal apprenticeships can be found in this article.

The skills needed to be a paralegal are manageable and many prospective paralegals will likely have experience showing these skills already. The main skills required and seen in a paralegal job description are:

  • Good communication and teamwork
  • Attention to detail is a key skill due to the technical nature of law
  • General office administration skills
  • Legal research skills
  • Time and workload management skills

Overall, the role of a paralegal is a challenging and entertaining role that will help candidates grow and improve, they offer a good salary and do not hold many bars to entry. Check out the Opportunities page to see paralegal roles that are currently hiring.

By Elsad Beqiri

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