Admin, HR, legal

Paralegal

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

Annual Salary

£14,000 to £40,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 40

What's it all about?

You could work for many kinds of employer, including law firms, private companies, the not-for-profit-sector, local or central government, the police and the courts. You’ll usually specialise in one area of legal work.

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

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.

You'll usually need:

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

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

You may need:

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

Apprenticeship

You could take a paralegal advanced apprenticeship.

You'll usually need:

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

£14,000 to £40,000

Starter salary: £14,000 to £25,000

Experienced salary: £30,000 to £40,000

These figures are a guide.

37 to 40

You'll usually work Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, in an office. At busy times you may need to work longer. You may travel to meet clients or go to court.

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

The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) Law School has details of training while working and earning a salary. It has information about the Trailblazer apprenticeships, which can qualify you as a paralegal, a legal executive or a solicitor.

You'll need a good understanding of the legal system, so experience working at a law firm could help you start your training. Qualifications in paralegal practice or a degree in law could also help you begin your career.

The Institute of Paralegals has more details about careers.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

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
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