As a paralegal, you will perform routine tasks requiring some knowledge of the law and procedures. You will be employed by a law firm or you may even choose to be a freelance paralegal working for different lawyers. Either way, paralegal work is an excellent experience to add to your CV on your way to becoming a trainee, boosting your employability.
Paralegal work boosts commercial awareness
As a paralegal, you will be required to handle vast amounts of paperwork related to estates, divorce actions, bankruptcies, and investigations, to name just a few focus areas. Being confronted with these documents will automatically improve your reading and analytical skills, as well as develop your commercial awareness. Demonstrating commercial awareness during your training-contract applications and interviews is crucial, so the chance to develop your commercial awareness in a legal setting is more than welcome and will prove to be beneficial over the course of your career.
Paralegal work helps to create a relationship with a law firm
Working as a paralegal is a perfect chance to build valuable relations with the law firm as a whole and its employees. If your ultimate goal is to secure a training contract, you may even find working as a paralegal is the perfect stepping stone to your desired career. More often than not, law firms will recruit trainees from a pool of previous acquaintances, whether that be past vacation schemers or paralegals. Unlike vacation schemers, paralegals are likely to have worked with the firm for a longer stretch of time, consequently forming a stronger bond with the firm and its employees. Hiring their paralegals is beneficial for both the paralegal and the law firm; the graduate can get valuable legal work experience in a firm environment putting into practice their knowledge and skills such as drafting and legal research, and the firm can assess the credentials of the future trainee based on their work performance rather than in an assessment centre or interview.
Paralegal work increases your understanding of a law firm
Whether you are employed by a law firm or you are a self-employed paralegal, you will be confronted with an invaluable insight into a law firm. Not only will you be working with lawyers on a daily basis, but you will also learn about the inner-workings of a law firm. Your understanding of a law firm will differ depending on the type of firm you choose to work in—a regional law firm is likely to be a very different experience to an international law firm. However, whichever type of law firm you chose to work in will provide an insightful understanding of the industry as a whole and of the practice more generally.
Paralegal work develops your interpersonal skills
An experienced paralegal will not only take on paperwork tasks but may also be required to interview clients and witnesses, give clients legal information and even attend court hearings. In addition to your interactions with your work colleagues, communicating with clients will help develop your interpersonal skills.
Summarising the key points of a legal document for your clients, or constructing coherent resumes of witness statements for lawyers, will drastically improve your verbal and written communication skills.
You will also be held responsible and accountable for the work you produce, so in order to stay on top of any looming deadlines, you will learn to manage your time effectively.
As your experience increases, you will equally grow more confident and assertive in your capabilities and the work you produced.
If you hope to secure a training contract, working as a paralegal could prove to be the ideal means to reach your future career. Paralegal work provides many opportunities to develop key skills and competencies desirable in any trainee. So make sure to consider paralegal work as a potential path to a training contract or as a fulfilling career.