What is a paralegal?

A paralegal works in private law firms or in the public sector and performs support tasks for attorneys. They might work for law firms, corporations, the government, or in other practice environments, but always under the supervision of a lawyer.

How to become a paralegal?

To become a legal assistant, you could study for a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in law, legal studies or paralegal practice. There’s a lot of competition for places on law degrees, so you’ll need good grades in your entry qualifications.

You also could take a college course before you look for work. Courses include:

  • Level 2 Diploma in Legal Studies
  • CILEx Level 3 Certificate in Law and Practice
  • Level 3 Legal Secretaries Diploma

Paralegal duties

Paralegal duties are diverse and depend on the employer and specialty, but some responsibilities are common to most:

  • Help lawyers during trials
  • Conduct research on laws, legal articles and regulations
  • Organize and present information
  • Arranging mediation or expert psychological evaluations in family law divorce and custody matters
  • Keep information related to cases in computer databases
  • Network with clients and build valuable relationships
  • Negotiate contracts and legal documents
  • Complete official documentation and write reports on cases
  • Take witness statements

Paralegal skills

To be an effective paralegal, you’ll need certain skills and competencies. The following are often cited in job vacancies:

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to manage multiple tasks or caseloads
  • Excellent negotiation skills
  • Good attention to detail
  • General IT skills and knowledge of legal database certifications

How to find a paralegal job

These jobs are advertised online, in local newspapers and at your local jobcentre. To find all the paralegal jobs near you, you need to:

  • Search for paralegal jobs on popular job websites such as; Indeed, Total Jobs and CV Library
  • Use the DWP’s Find A Job Service
  • Check local newspapers and local Facebook groups, especially groups dedicated to local jobs

Paralegal Job Titles

When you search for paralegal jobs online, be aware that the jobs might be advertised using a different job title. Popular job titles for paralegal jobs include;

  • Legal aide
  • Legal assistant
  • Legal secretary
  • Legal clerk

What does a paralegal do?

The job of a paralegal varies depending on the job role and the company you’re working for. Check the duties and responsibilities of paralegal job advertisements to find jobs that best suit your skills and experience. 

The day-to-day tasks of a paralegal include;

  • Researching and preparing legal documents
  • Handling confidential information
  • Interviewing clients and witnesses
  • Giving clients legal information
  • Handling a caseload of clients
  • Handling a caseload of clients
  • Following instructions
  • General office tasks