The National Association of Licensed Paralegals (NALP) celebrated National Paralegal Day on 08th November, recognising the crucial role of paralegals in the legal industry in enabling a law firm to function successfully. With over 25,0001 paralegals in the UK alone, they are often the unsung and unrecognised members of the legal profession, supporting solicitors and their team to deliver high quality services.
Tom Moyes, Joint Head of the Employment team at Blacks Solicitors reflects on National Paralegal Legal Day, discussing how the law can become a more diverse career and the crucial role of paralegals in enabling law firms to function.
The crucial role of a paralegal
Old prejudices of paralegals are slowly breaking down as legislation and the changing face of the legal industry frequently showcases the integral role of paralegals in the success of a lawyer’s practice. Paralegals work to support other legal professionals, working in a variety of law firms and private, public sector and not-for-profit organisations to prepare legal documents, manage cases, research and help lawyers to work efficiently. Paralegals are often the first point of contact for clients, their professionalism and knowledge of the law can greatly impact the client’s experience with the legal system.
Paralegals are an important part of the team and they can be vital to the success of a case. For example, Corporate teams may rely on them for research, document production and contract review and Family lawyers may rely on them for filing paperwork and trial preparation. They work closely with lawyers and clients, providing crucial support and helping them to understand the legal process.
Making careers in law more accessible and diverse
Legal apprenticeships have seen a huge increase as more people become aware of the opportunities that are available to avoid university. They present an alternative route to become a solicitor, paralegal, or chartered legal executive, without having to study law at university.
As a vocational career, many people often have an idea that they want to work within the law, however there can be barriers that are presented by the more traditional routes, such as university. Blacks Solicitors is leading the way in making law more accessible through new pathways such as paralegal and legal apprenticeships. It’s important that more law firms consider implementing apprenticeship schemes in order to give people the chance to start a career in law and create diversity within the industry.
Whilst academia and learning is critical for a job in the legal sector, the workplace requires an additional set of skills which are not currently taught in our education system. The inclusive nature of apprenticeship schemes allows talented individuals to train and qualify as a lawyer even if they aren’t able to access more traditional education routes.
Attracting new talent
Legal apprenticeships have seen a huge increase as more people become aware of the variety of paths into law. There are specific paralegal apprenticeship schemes that the Firm offers, which offers a different route into law, which is quicker than the “Solicitor Apprenticeship Scheme”. Legal apprenticeships are government-backed and employer-designed schemes that involve working and studying. Ultimately a legal apprentice should be able to end up qualifying in whichever legal field they find most interesting.
Our continued commitment to the training and retention of trainees and apprentices helps to nurture the next generation of legal talent from all different backgrounds.
For further information and guidance on issues related to modern slavery and employment, please visit www.lawblacks.com/business/employment-law/.