Level 4 Diploma in Paralegal Studies (formerly the Higher Certificate in Paralegal Studies)
Tia Whittaker, a litigation clerk, is the first student from the Cayman Islands to gain the Level 4 Diploma. "It takes commitment and determination to get through, but it's worth it in the end," she says. "I studied as a distance learner because of my location. I would recommend the course to others, mainly because you don't have to be seated in a classroom to obtain this qualification: most people here [Cayman Islands] do not really have the time to attend classes, and most companies prefer to support a student in the area they work in."
Level 7 Diploma in Paralegal Practice (Post Graduate Diploma in Paralegal Practice)
Kelly Millington, who studied the Level 7 Diploma in Paralegal Practice, works for children's social services in Surrey.
"I definitely think that taking the course has helped my career. It gave me an edge when compared to other applicants and it was also easier to picture myself working in a legal context once I had an understanding of the procedures involved in standard business practice," she says."By being a qualified paralegal, I am showing any employer that not only am I capable of understanding the law, but also I have been trained to link that knowledge in with working practices."
Higher Diploma in Paralegal Practice
Steve Oliver, a law undergraduate at Sunderland University, chose to do the paralegal diploma alongside his law degree because "you get two qualifications for one". He recommends students do the university course because it reduces the qualification period for the granting of a paralegal licence by the Association from five years to two, so you can gain a much quicker entry to independence in the workplace. Once Steve graduates, he hopes to pursue his interest in human rights. He would also like to take his bar exams and practise either in the UK or the US, where there have been paralegal qualifications for years. Having the Higher Diploma can help him keep his career options open.
Sue Stedman was working as a legal secretary when she first enrolled on a NALP course. Since then, she has completed the Associate and Fellowship courses and has been a Licensed Paralegal for several years, specialising in divorce and child contact matters.
"The courses have helped me gain experience and confidence to ask questions.The clients also trust me because they know I am qualified," she says."You also get a little more equality with barristers when you attend court as a licensed paralegal." She would recommend NALP courses because "if people want to get on, these courses are a good first step.They give you a good grounding in law".