Paralegal

Protect

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You’d provide legal services and advice in a specific area of the law and help solicitors with their work.You would work under the supervision of a solicitor.

You would not be qualified as a solicitor but your work could be similar. It would range from administrative and legal secretarial tasks to doing research and providing legal information to clients. You would usually specialise in one area of law such as employment law, residential conveyancing, family law or executries.

As well as joining a law firm there are a variety of other places you could work, including:

  • In the public or not-for-profit sector, for example as an adviser at Citizens Advice, a charity or a trade union
  • In the civil and criminal courts, police forces and enforcement organisations like trading standards departments
  • In a private company where you might advise on business law or managing contracts, or deal with personal injury or road traffic accident claims

Your exact duties would depend on where you work and your level of responsibility.

As a junior paralegal you would:

  • Prepare legal documents
  • Do research
  • Do typing, filing and other general office tasks.

As a more experienced paralegal you would:

  • Provide quotes to clients
  • Interview clients and witnesses
  • Give legal information to clients
  • Go to court
  • Manage different cases at the same time

Patience and tact are important as you would work with a variety of clients, some of whom may be anxious about their legal situation.

Working conditions

Hours

In a full-time job you may work standard office hours, Monday to Friday, but many jobs require you to work longer, especially at busy times. Part-time, job sharing and temporary work may be available.

Environment

You would mainly be based in an office. A high standard of personal presentation would be required.

Travel

You may travel to go to court or to meetings.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

People behind the job

Meet real people who’ve done this job – hear their stories and the path they took to get there.

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Working as part of a team
  • Persuading people
  • Communicating ideas through writing
  • Accuracy
  • Using computers
  • Researching and investigating
  • Planning and organising
  • Time management
  • Paying attention to detail

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

Keep track of your skills in your account and find the jobs, opportunities and courses that suit you.

Click here to view / add your skills

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

There are no set qualifications, but an understanding of the law and a good general education would be valuable. 

You could gain entry with one of the following:

  • An HNC/HND in Legal Services (SCQF Level 7/8). Entry requirements include a relevant NC/NQ qualification, National 5 qualifications or one to two Highers including English. 
  • A degree in Law or Legal Services (SCQF Level 9/10). Entry requirements include a minimum of four Highers at BBBC or above. Some courses require this in one sitting.
  • A Modern Apprenticeship in Paralegal Practice (SCQF Level 7). 

You could work towards being a paralegal in the job. Some employers may support you to complete an SVQ in Paralegal Practices (SCQF Level 7).

You can also gain a qualification through part-time or distance learning such as a Paralegal Scots Law Diplomas (modules at SCQF level 9).

Useful subjects

  • English (required by most courses or employers)
  • English-based subjects (required by most courses or employers)
  • Maths
  • Administrative subjects
  • Finance subjects
  • Business 
  • ICT-based subjects

Helpful to have

You might need approved membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme run by Disclosure Scotland.

Once in work/qualified you may want to join the Registered Paralegal Scheme.