According to the Institute of Paralegals, a paralegal is "Someone who is not a lawyer who does legal work that would previously have been done by a solicitor or a barrister". Although there are no mandatory qualifications in order to become a paralegal, the standards of education are high due to the growing demand of the profession. More firms are relying on the skills of a paralegal, and placing more significance on paralegal training and accreditation as an associate, certified, or qualified paralegal.
- Skill level:
Find employment experience similar to that of a paralegal. Paralegals assist solicitors in many aspects of their job, including interpreting and advising on the law, filing, and retrieving law documents. Dealing with customers, attention to detail, and high-pressure situations are qualities to look for to help you understand the nuances of the paralegal profession.
Enrol in a college, university, or certificate program to help you get basic skills in organisation, writing and interpreting. Programs that assist with this can include a Bachelor or Master's in Arts, a UK Law Degree, or a Diploma or Certificate in a law course from an endorsed institution.
Obtain a degree or certificate in a paralegal program. The Institute of Paralegals provides low-cost certification programs which will educate you on the legal system and principles necessary to become a paralegal. The Institute provides several different accreditation for paralegals: an affiliate certificate is based on grades and open to all students; an associate is a student engaged in an apprenticeship or training program; a certified paralegal is given to those with proven work experience; and a qualified paralegal accreditation goes to paralegals with a balance of proven work experience and education.
Create a resume highlighting your education, skills, and strengths.
Contact firms, recruitment agencies and the Institute of Paralegals when applying for positions.
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