If you are really interested in the law and all things legal, but you do not have a law degree (or pupillage) and you do not wish to undertake a conversion course, then a good option for you may be to become a paralegal. A paralegal is basically the same as being a legal assistant, who undertakes a lot of the work that solicitors do, but who is not a qualified solicitor.
Paralegals will often specialise in one particular area of the law.
So this could be a particular area of the law that interests them or one that they are keen to learn more about.
Other paralegals may work more generically and undertake tasks relating to different aspects of the law. To some degree it depends on what kind of solicitors the paralegal works for.
It is important to note that solicitors really do rely on paralegals because if they did not have paralegals solicitors would not be able to operate efficiently.
The paralegals are actually really important members of the legal team and they play a vital role within the legal process itself. This means that the role of paralegal is actually a very important role and one that is well respected within the legal profession and it is also relatively well remunerated.
Paralegals are not paid the same as solicitors, but they are paid almost the same amount, there is no huge pay gap.
Anyone interested in becoming a paralegal should to undertake paralegal training so that they are able to prove that they know what is involved, what is expected of them and perhaps more importantly how they can deliver.
The role of a paralegal requires someone who has a methodical mind and the ability to analyse information effectively.
The paralegal also needs to be able to communicate effectively, so written and verbal communication skills are imperative. Paralegals will sometimes interview clients or even undertake advocacy on their behalf, so they really need to be able to communicate effectively whether that is in writing or when talking to someone or talking on their behalf. Paralegals also require a certain amount of confidence because they will have to deal with a wide variety of people from barristers and even judges, to people who may be angry or upset and are not willing to co-operate with the legal process.
Graduates in law often assume that they will be able to undertake a paralegal work without any further training, but in fact this is not the case. Law graduates will still need to have further paralegal training. But for many it is an interesting way to start a career in law.
The decision to become a paralegal is one that is quite easy if you are seeking an interesting and rewarding career: if you like legal matters it is certainly worth considering becoming a paralegal!