An increasing number of solicitors’ firms like their trainee solicitors to have done a minimum of six months paralegal work prior to commencing their training contracts. It is not usually a pre-requisite, how it does give the individual an advantage over other applicants. Firms like people to have such prior experience because the world of full-time, permanent work in a professional environment is something that most trainee solicitors have not previously experienced. They therefore sometimes need a “settling in” as they adjust to life as a worker and not a student. Paralegals have already had gone through that process .
There is also another advantage to completing paralegal work prior to commencing your training contract. There is the option of applying to the Solicitors Regulation Authority to reduce the duration of your training contract provided that the work you did as a paralegal is compatible to the work that you would be expected to do as a trainee solicitor. Please note, that it is only the organisation that gives you the training contract that has the right to make such an application. They are not obliged to make an application on your behalf, so you may have to persuade them. It is important that you prepare a compelling case for the employer with whom you hold a training contract. In most cases it will be a different employer to the one you did paralegal work with.
The maximum amount of time that you can shorten your training contract by is six months. Paralegal work is accepted on a 2-for-1 basis. This means that two months of qualifying paralegal work will give you one month’s reduction on your training contract. So you will need to spend a year doing work as a paralegal to get a reduction of six months in your training contract.
The best way to upgrade your job from paralegal to trainee solicitor (assuming you are eligible) is to do an excellent job as a paralegal and only broach the subject when you have proven your worth.
If you would like to discuss paralegal opportunities please call the Yorkshire team at BCL Legal . We understand that you’re looking for a specialist legal recruiter who understands your location and requirements thoroughly. We also understand that finding the right job for a paralegal is very different to that of an equity partner. Whatever sort of legal job or lawyer you’re looking for though, one thing will never change: the way BCL delivers.