Survey shows paralegals have it tough

A survey of calls made to the Trainee Solicitors&#39 Group (TSG) helpline over the last six months reveals that around 28 per cent were from worried paralegals, suggesting that they need better protection in the workplace.

Former TSG chair Verity Chase said the proportion highlighted a “lacuna” in the way the Law Society looks after certain members of the profession. “Many paralegals are actually doing the same work as trainees and should therefore be entitled to the same protection in terms of a minimum salary, standards of training and supervision in the workplace,” she said.

Many were also made by trainee solicitors, who complained of workplace bullying, poor supervision, overwork and a lack of constructive feedback and support.
TSG education officer Andrew Holmes said: “Certain firms are using trainees as cheap labour, failing to train them properly and then holding them accountable for their lack of knowledge.” While he acknowledged that trainees “must also take responsibility for their own training and control the direction of their legal careers”, he said rising levels of student debts and the lack of training contracts had helped in creating a difficult climate.

“Many trainees have invested a lot of time, money and hard work into securing contracts, as a result of which they would rather not rock the boat,” concluded Holmes. 28% of calls are from paralegals.