What Is a Paralegal?


You Will Learn.

  • What a Paralegal is. 
  • What the responsibilities of a Paralegal are.
  • What qualifications a Paralegal needs.
  • Average salary of a Paralegal.
  • What skills a Paralegal needs.  
  • Who employs a Paralegal.
  • Where the latest Paralegal jobs are and how to apply for them.
A legal worker in their office

What Is a Paralegal?

A Paralegal is an important and valued member of the legal team who has knowledge of the law and legal system but not a qualified lawyer. 

It is an extremely varied role, taking on a range of administrative and legal work with a variety of specialisms including family law, corporate law, litigation and real estate law, ultimately a Paralegal’s role is to support lawyers in their work.

Depending on the size of the firm and practice area will determine the intensity and variation of work.

What Are the Responsibilities of a Paralegal?

While working as a Paralegal, you will be required to: 

  • Draft basic legal documents.
  • Legal research.
  • Contact courts to obtain transcripts and evidence when requested.
  • Document management.
  • Attending court when requested.
  • Build and maintain good relationships with clients.
  • Handling a caseload of clients.
  • Administrative support.
  • Conducting interviews with clients and witnesses.
  • Giving clients legal information.
  • Input and analyse legal data.
  • Write reports on cases.
  • Look after diaries.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are no official qualifications needed to be a Paralegal but due to the competitive nature of the career path some employers may ask for a degree related to law or degree unrelated to law with a conversion course, so it is useful to have legal or Paralegal training. 

There are specialist qualifications for Paralegals such as the National Association of Licensed Paralegals (NALP) paralegal practice award, certificate and diploma.

If you do have a law degree, you can study for a post graduate Paralegal diploma and work as a licensed Paralegal.

It is possible to work your way up and start in an entry level role via training on the job.

The average salary for a Paralegal is around £18,000 to £30,000 per year, depending on factors such as location, experience, and the size of the law firm.

However, these figures are just an average, and the salary for a Paralegal can vary significantly based on several factors, such as the type of law firm they work in, their level of experience, and the area of law they specialise in.

For example, Paralegals working in large commercial law firms or in London may earn higher salaries than those working in smaller firms or outside of London.

Additionally, Paralegals who specialise in high-demand areas of law such as corporate law or intellectual property may earn higher salaries than those in other areas of law.

Employers of a Paralegal can vary from large commercial law firms to smaller practices or in-house legal teams in a wide range of industries. 

With 1 in 3 Paralegals working in solicitors’ firms, they are the most common employer but other typical employers include the NHS, commercial companies, national and local government, charities, the military and the public sector. 

What Skills Does a Paralegal Need?

Key skills of a Paralegal include: 

  • Excellent communication skills, written and verbal.
  • Computer literate.
  • Organised.
  • Ability to exercise discretion.
  • Strong research capabilities.
  • Ability to multitask and manage caseloads.
  • Adaptable and flexible approach to work.
  • Work well as part of a team or independently. 
  • Ability to work to deadlines and under pressure.
  • Knowledge of legal database certifications.
  • Attention to detail and analytical nature. 
  • Good administrative skills.
  • Time management skills, often having to work to tight deadlines.

Searching for Your Next Paralegal Job?

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