Law Society Awards – Paralegal of the Year 2022

by Edward Malkin

With award season approaching for the Legal Teams in Birmingham, there have been various nominations within our firm for Solicitor of the Year, Pro-bono Work of the Year, Paralegal of the Year and Trainee of the Year. One of the most frequent questions that gets asked when speaking with clients is, what exactly is the role of a paralegal and how do they differ from a solicitor.

The role of a paralegal is very similar to the role of a legal assistant. A Paralegal’s role is to support other legal professionals within the firm. Jobs will typically include preparing applications for court proceedings, organising court documents and client correspondence, liaising with opposing parties to ensure everything is running on track, interacting with clients and obtaining their instructions and supporting barristers and solicitors when they are in court.

When looking for Paralegals, firms will sometimes require the applicant to have experience in a particular area of Law. They may also ask the paralegal to have a degree or other qualification which will provide the applicant with the experience to handle the role efficiently. The benefit of becoming a paralegal is a lot of the time, the role will allow for further progression within the firm and will offer hands on experience in how to handle a case in the correct manner and in line with the regulations from the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

A paralegal can also be the first point of contact with a client so it is important to firms that the person in the role is able to deal with questions and queries from clients in an efficient manner, without giving out specific advice. It is also important for a paralegal to be involved with the outer community and other groups within the legal field which support other legal professionals. They will also look at how there is support given to the public when they are simply seeking initial advice on a matter of law which they have been confronted with.

All these requirements are exactly what the Law Society are looking at when considering the applicants for Paralegal of the Year, so if nominated, it is important to demonstrate exactly how you meet each aspect of these roles.