Admin, HR, legal

Paralegal

Paralegals carry out research, prepare legal documents and give legal advice to clients.

Annual Salary

£14,000 to £40,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 40 a week

You could work: evenings; occasionally

What's it all about?

Day to day tasks

In this role you could be:

  • researching and preparing legal documents
  • handling confidential information
  • interviewing clients and witnesses
  • giving clients legal information
  • going to court
  • handling a caseload of clients
  • following instructions
  • general office tasks

Working environment

You could work in an office, in a court or at a police station.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
University

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.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information
College

You 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

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
For more information
Apprenticeship

You could take a paralegal advanced apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
For more information
Work

You may be able to find work with a legal practice as an admin assistant and do training on the job to qualify. This could be done through the Institute of Paralegals or the National Association of Licenced Paralegals

You'll be expected to have GCSEs or A levels and a good standard of English.

More information

Career tips

You'll find it useful to have some understanding of how the legal system works.

Further information

You can find out more about paralegal careers from the Institute of Paralegals and the National Association of Licenced Paralegals.

With further study, you could qualify as a legal executive or solicitor.

The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) Law School has details of training while working and earning a salary. It has information about the Trailblazer apprenticeships, which can qualify you as a paralegal, a legal executive or a solicitor.

You'll need a good understanding of the legal system, so experience working at a law firm could help you start your training. Qualifications in paralegal practice or a degree in law could also help you begin your career.

The Institute of Paralegals has more details about careers.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of English language
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • excellent written communication skills
  • administration skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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