First-ever formal career path for paralegals launched

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  • I think the idea of turning paralegaling into a proper career path is a really good idea. Not everybody will be able to cut it as a barrister or solicitor so the fact that there's now an alternative career path on offer is an encouraging development. What's more why do most of us assume that just because somebody studies law they have to train as a solicitor or barrister?

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  • I think the procedure for becoming a barrister or solicitor is fine for those who like jumping through the hoops of the corresponding courses and on the job training, but for those who simply wish to start working immediately without having to pay out the same again as their university tuition fees it is a good idea to give them a similar level of recognition to their more privileged brethren.

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  • But paralegals are admin people!?

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  • Paralegals often do more work then an associate but do not get remunerated as such. Personally, I have been paralegalling for 5 years at a top city law firm and get treated like I am a lower class citizen. when it comes to redundancy, paralegals with secretaries will get the chop first. I am happy that now paralegalling will be recognised as a career choice although somehow I think the stigma will always remain.

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  • Ok, so I've done the LPC, I need to secure a paralegal role, work for a year, then complete a 12-18 month course to become a qualified paralegal. Well, that's easy enough. I suppose the law firm with which I have completed my year's work will be delighted that I'm swanning off to Bristol for 18 months.

    This is ridiculous. Any paralegal job available requires experience. Not another qualification. It's all well and good everyone jumping on board screaming 'recognise my contribution as a paralegal', or 'I don't want to be a full blown solicitor but I still want the recognition of being a qulified something' but the process outlined above is disastrous and I honestly cannot see law firms allowing you to take a year out to complete the course. This qualifiation is a complete waste of time, not to mention money (which by the way seems to have been forgotten in this article)

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  • Isn't there already a vocational, less academically strenuous route into the legal profession via ILEX?

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  • ILEX is not less acadmically strenuous, it is stil hard work but leads to a right of audience and formal lawyer status as fellows are lawyers whereas paralegals will always only be unregulated admin staff; it is pointless doing a quasi regulatory route to an unqualified unregulated role, whats the point? If you have the talent and skills to become a lwayer, either as a Filex. Solcitor or as a barrister, do it, if not get a job and build real job exprerience, dont waste your time and money doing pointless training. It is like beign a 'qualified' double glazing salesman, what differnce is there betweena qualified and unqualified paralegal-answer, none.

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  • It is just another opportunity for the people fronting this scheme to make more money from law firms and individuals who may even have to pay individuals for the privilege of qualifying in something which in practice makes very little difference. It's all about experience. Why does there have to be a qualification for absolutely every job out there. It makes things more insular and difficult to get into. Every job around requires common sense particularly for paralegal roles which are largely admin. based.

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  • I have recently completed a Specialist Paralegal Qualification at Bristol Law school (which is Distance Learning....so I don't actually have to go to Bristol to do the course!) and have found that my new employer responded very positively to my new qualification. I think it is great news that there is a route out there for paralegals, and I think as a 'profession', we could begin to be recognised as being a valued member of a legal team. I have just started working in a large city firm in the area which my qualification specialised, and have found the course very helpful in adapting to this new environement.

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  • The present environment is such that many LPC graduates can not secure training contracts through no fault of there own. There is simply no opportunities available. I see working as a paralegal as a fantastic way to gain more work experience to improve my cv but I really dont feel the need to increase my debt and qualifications. Paralegals are not admin assistants they do make a valuable contribution and if your firm/company does not respect you, find a different company.

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