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Becoming A Paralegal: Advice for Aspiring Graduates

Becoming A Paralegal: Advice for Aspiring Graduates

When you graduate from law school, becoming a solicitor or a barrister might not be the career path that you want to pursue. A paralegal job is an alternative to the traditional route of law and offers graduates the chance to assist with substantive legal work on a daily basis.  Therefore here is some advice to ensure you leave a memorable impression when securing an interview.

Securing an interview

Although most standard paralegal jobs require graduates to attend an interview, or for some law firms two interviews, you can also approach recruiters in your local area for temporary roles. This is a relaxed but professional way to secure a paralegal position and can be a stop gap until you decide where you want to be. However it is still important to show a determination to succeed and  passion for the law.

Preparation.

If you are given an interview date, either a few days or a week before, ensure you prepare to the highest standard. Each paralegal interview will be different and you will be asked different questions and expected to provide different skills each time. For example; a paralegal interview may involve a touch-typing test to ensure you can act quickly and type to the speed required for the job role.  However some law firms might ask what you know about the company, or why you chose a paralegal career over being a solicitor or barrister.

Experience is not always necessary.

Many graduates do not apply for paralegal positions because they are under the impression  that legal experience is needed for this job role. If you are applying for permanent positions, it may be necessary to of gained some experience within a law firm, however most people who enter into the paralegal market, do so straight from undergraduate or LPC/BPTC level.

Advantages and disadvantages of paralegal work.

For those who are wanting experience of law firms, or view a paralegal position as a step forward to their chosen career, then working as a paralegal is a great way to gain this. Many people start working as a paralegal without a training contract or pupillage and then go on to secure one at a later time.

However the term paralegal is broad and can sometimes be misleading.  It can range from administrative work, document reviews, investigations, or important legal work. Whilst there is now a lot of paralegal jobs out there in the market, it may not be what an individual had in mind when they decided to apply for such a position, however working in the legal industry is better than being out of it .

Top tips for becoming a paralegal.

If you are going to work as a paralegal do not go into the position half heartedly. If you have secured a position as a temporary paralegal, employers will see through an attitude that conveys the fact  you only want the job until something better comes along.

Be prepared to work hard and be willing to train as you go. In paralegal work you are expected to hit the ground running and go in with an enthusiastic attitude.  Determination and dedication is the key to success.

If you are wanting to become a career paralegal and there is a market for this, then it will be key to show why you have foregone wanting a career as a practicing solicitor or barrister for one as a career paralegal.  Always be prepared to answer this question as honestly as you can, an employer will see through any attempt to deceive about your true intentions of becoming a paralegal.

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