What is a Paralegal?
A Paralegal is trained and educated to perform legal tasks and offer legal assistance but is not a qualified solicitor, barrister or chartered legal executive. However, Paralegals can do virtually everything that a solicitor can do except activities that are referred to as: ‘Reserved Activities’.
What Qualifications do Paralegals need?
As a paralegal you’ll be expected to have a good understanding of the law and legal systems along with practical skills needed to perform legal tasks.
Whilst some paralegals are trained on the job, many employers look for recognised paralegal qualifications. Paralegal training courses are specially developed to give you the skills and knowledge to work effectively as a paralegal. Paralegal qualifications demonstrate your commitment and professionalism to your legal career.
NALP Training is the only Paralegal Training provider which is accredited and regulated by Ofqual, offering the highest standard of distance learning courses for paralegals.
What Skills do Paralegals need?
Knowledge of Law and Legal Procedures
It’s difficult to enter the legal sector without some provisional paralegal training. If you’ve never studied Law, or have no previous experience, an entry-level paralegal qualification like the Level 3 in Paralegal Practice is a great first step in your legal training.
Good Communication Skills
You’ll need excellent communication skills, on a daily basis you’ll be speaking with clients, lawyers, court staff and Judges. Understanding of legal language and procedure is a great boost to your confidence when working in these environments.
Time management is an essential skill as you will be working to strict deadlines for court hearings. As you progress your career, you’ll be handling your own caseloads.
As a paralegal you’ll be attending court and have important client meetings, always being professional and on time is essential. If you’re late there could be huge adverse consequences.
Understanding Your Limitations as a Paralegal
Whilst paralegals can perform many of the same tasks as a solicitor, there are ‘reserved activities’ that paralegals cannot perform. You’ll need to understand the rules relating to offering legal services as a paralegal.
Excellent Written English
Working as a paralegal requires a lot of written work, you’ll be filling in forms, writing letters and emails on a daily basis. During paralegal training courses, you'll have plenty of practice in using legal language and drafting documents.
As a paralegal you’ll need to have great research skills, you’ll need to know where to find your law! Research skills will be covered in many paralegal training courses.
Multi-tasking and Prioritising
These are essential skills as a paralegal, in this fast-paced and exciting career you’ll be handling more than one case at a time. You’ll need to be flexible and adaptable.
As a paralegal you may be working with clients on sensitive cases, you’ll need to be professional and work ethically in a business-like manner.
Paralegals play a vital role within legal teams, you’ll be working alongside other paralegals, solicitors, barristers, experts and other office staff.
If you’re changing careers, it’s likely you’ll have many of the skills already. A Paralegal training course will help you develop these further to allow you to work effectively as a paralegal.
If you’re fresh out of 6th Form or College, you can develop these skills and knowledge through paralegal qualifications, giving you the confidence and skills required to apply for exciting opportunities in the legal sector.