If your question isn’t included here, please don’t hesitate to talk to us directly
"Is a Paralegal role a route to a training contract?"
Most firms deal with recruitment of Trainee Solicitors separately to their Paralegal recruitment.
When recruiting for Paralegal roles, firms will expect to interview candidates who wish to join them as Paralegals.
Assuming there are training contracts available, some firms may offer a percentage to their existing non-qualified employees (with the remainder to external applicants).
If an existing Paralegal is a strong performer, gets on well with everyone in the team and works well with clients when required, then there is a prospect of being interviewed alongside external applicants and other Paralegals. This is usually on this basis that the other application criteria (such as academics)are also met.
Paralegals will usually have to prove themselves for a minimum of 12 months before they would be eligible for consideration for a training contract.f your question isn’t included here, please don’t hesitate to talk to us directly.
"What salary can I expect as a Paralegal?"
Salary depends upon experience, region, discipline and the firm that you apply to but benchmarks can be found in our salary information http://www.bcllegal.com/pages/salary-surveys
"Can I apply for defendant Paralegal roles when I only have claimant experience - and vice versa?"
Yes. Firms are happy to take candidates from either background - providing they have experience within that particular area of law.
"Can I apply for family and crime Paralegal roles if I only have personal injury experience?"
Most firms will only wish to consider applications from candidates who have experience in the particular area of law that they are recruiting for.
For example, if there is a Paralegal vacancy within a family law practice, candidates without specific family experience will be competing against candidates who may have several years of Paralegal experience working in a family law practice. Consequently, applications will almost certainly be unsuccessful.
"Do I need litigation experience to become a Paralegal?"
No. Some Paralegal opportunities may be for non-contentious practice areas.
With respect to roles in contentious practice areas, even then it may not be a necessity. For instance, in some Paralegal positions the focus may be upon settling claims in advance of court proceedings.
There are, however, some roles which do require litigation experience.
BCL Legal will always be clear as to whether or not litigation experience is required.
"Will my experience working at the Citizens Advice Bureau support my application?"
Whilst it may represent useful life experience and demonstrate commitment, unfortunately, experience gained from volunteering at the CAB will ultimately not be determinative of the success of your application.
To be of value, work experience must be gained at:
- •a law firm
- •an insurance company
- •an accident management or claims company
- •an investigations company
- •the Police force
- •costs companies or draughtsmen
- •an in-house legal team
"Do I need to have done the LPC to work as a Paralegal?"
No. The Diploma in Legal Practice or other legal qualifications are not required for all roles.
However many law firms do prefer Paralegals to have undertaken the LPC, since it is perceived as providing candidates with useful transferable skills.
"What is the difference between a "Claims Handler", "Paralegal" and "Fee Earner?"
In practice, nothing. These terms are often interchangeable.
Most non-Solicitors or non-Trainee Solicitors who are required to handle or contribute to cases in legal teams are referred to as Paralegals.
Any role in a private practice law firm, in respect of which time is recorded for the purpose of billing a client, is often referred to as a Fee Earner. This generic name captures the roles of Partner, Associate, Solicitor, Trainee Solicitor, Legal Executive and Paralegal. Hence, fee earners may be legally qualified or not, as the case may be.
Roles involving the handling or management of claims - especially at the early stages of litigation or pre-litigation - sometimes fall to be managed by those in the role of Claims Handler.
What is a Legal Executive?
A Legal Executive is another form of qualified lawyer. The title of Legal Executive should only be used by Fellows of the Institute of Legal Executives (FILEX), who have completed one of the prescribed routes to qualification.
Since a Legal Executive is a qualified lawyer, regulated by a professional body, they have rights to partnership in law firms and to judicial appointment. The main difference between FILEXs and Solicitors is that the training to become a Legal Executive is narrower than the training route to become a Solicitor. This means that Legal Executives study to the same level as Solicitors in their chosen practice area. However, they study fewer subjects overall.
For more information please visit the CILEx Law School website.
"How do I register with BCL Legal?"
Following your initial contact, we will ask you to send us a copy of your CV so that we may register you.
Once we have received your CV , we will telephone you to discuss your aspirations.
Following this conversation, our administration team will contact you by your chosen email address, requesting various documents which we are legally obliged to obtain from you. Upon receipt, we'll register you fully.
"Will BCL Legal send out my CV without my consent?"
BCL Legal will not send your details or CV for any position without your express prior permission.
"I am already registered with another agency. Can I also register with BCL Legal?"
BCL Legal is likely to have different relationships to the agency with whom you are already registered.
Providing you are candid about any other agencies you are registered with, and your are clear with each agency about which has your permission to approach each firm, this ought to be entirely manageable.
We recommend that you keep a record about who has done what for you, so as to avoid any problems or conflicts.
"If you find a vacancy that's right for me, what happens next?"
When we receive instructions regarding a relevant vacancy that we think may be of interest to you, we will contact you to discuss it.
If you are content to apply for the position, we will forward your details and CV to the prospective employer.
We will then take any feedback and liaise with the firm to arrange any interviews - keeping you updated throughout the process.
"The last job I applied for was my training contract. My CV is out of date. Can you help?"
We are always happy to advise registered candidates on the content of their CV By sending us your CV at the start of the process, BCL Legal has the opportunity to review the information and make constructive comments, which will help you to improve it.
You should concentrate on the areas of law you are most interested in pursuing, and ensure that your CV contains as comprehensive a review of your skills as possible.
See our advice about how to prepare a great CV
"Should I tailor my CV for each application?"
Yes - if you are applying for positions in different areas of law you should highlight the areas of your training relevant to each position.
However, we would not expect NQ experience to be specialised enough to warrant different content for different applications in the same practice area of law.
NQ candidates are likely to register with us whilst undertaking their 4th seat (or 5th/6th seats – depending on the firm's training contract format). If you are currently training (or yet to train) in your preferred discipline, you should update your CV regularly to reflect your growing experience.
"I have not had an interview since my training contract. I do not know what to expect. Can you help?"
At BCL Legal, we work hard to ensure we get as much information about the interview process as possible. We will advise you on the format, what to expect and how to prepare.
Refer to our interview advice to make sure you prepare thoroughly.
Generally, the interview will include a discussion about your CV and the information contained therein.
It is also quite common for firms to run some form of technical legal test. The content of these tests is often closely guarded by our clients. However, we will be able to give some advice on how you might prepare.
"Can I apply for more than one location/ practice area of law with the same firm?"
This very much depends upon the firm in question. Some firms are very pragmatic and happy to consider that candidates may have several choices regarding areas of law and/or locations.
Speak to your BCL recruitment consultant who will be happy to advise.
"What salary can I expect to earn?"
This varies wildly from firm to firm, and location to location.
Some firms decide upon their NQ salary quite late in the NQ recruitment process.
BCL Legal will be able to give some advice when you register. This will take into account location, firm and your preferred practice area.
"If I accept a role in a discipline that isn't my preferred choice, will it be possible for me to change discipline later in my career?"
Generally speaking it is possible to move disciplines later on in your career.
Obviously some moves are easier than others to make. Moving from personal injury to clinical negligence is potentially more realistic than moving from criminal to employment law. It is, however, not impossible.
Much will depend upon your strength as a candidate, the market, the recruiting firm's needs and the sacrifices you are prepared to make with regard to your salary.
"I have been offered a position by my existing firm. However, it is not in my chosen practice area. What should I do?"
Many candidates find that they feel loyalty towards their existing firm. In this situation, our advice is to remain pragmatic, but to give your career priority.
Do your best to find out why you have not been offered a position in your preferred practice area. If it transpires that there are no roles available, or that they have been offered to other candidates, you need to carefully weigh your options.
Most firms are understanding of trainees who have a particular desire to qualify in a certain specialism. It may be that your firm's HR team can advise you as to how long you can consider the position you have been offered before making a decision.
BCL Legal will be on hand to advise you as to the current state of the NQ market in your desired practice area, together with your likely prospects given your strength as a candidate.
Our recruitment consultants have expert knowledge of the markets in which they operate together with access to an enviable client base. Give them a call today to discuss your aspirations and receive advice tailored to you.