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Licensed Paralegals

What is a Licensed Paralegal?

A paralegal is not a qualified lawyer but is legally trained and educated to perform legal tasks and offer assistance. The term can refer to a variety of support staff working within a legal practice with differing levels of experience. A legal secretary, for example, may, in addition to secretarial work, undertake paralegal work. Similarly, a law graduate seeking a training contract or obtaining qualifying work experience will carry out this role following some initial training.

A paralegal position can either be a fulfilling career choice in itself or alternatively provide a period of vital training and experience for those wishing to become a qualified lawyer.


What services does a paralegal provide?

Depending on the level of experience, a paralegal can do many of the activities that a qualified lawyer can do.

A paralegal will progress a case from start to finish carrying out tasks such as legal research, preparation of legal documents, interviewing clients and taking instructions and providing general legal advice. The work of a Paralegal is however carried out under the supervision of a qualified lawyer.

A paralegal cannot undertake “Reserved Legal Activities” as provided for by the Legal Services Act 2007 which limits the work a paralegal is permitted to do.


Where does a paralegal work?

Paralegals work in a variety of environments, from private companies, law firms and the police to local government and the courts.


A paralegal is not regulated by statute. A paralegal can, however, be a member of a professional body such as the National Association of Licensed Paralegals (NALP).

Paralegals who work for a regulated legal services provider must follow the rules of that regulator, for example, a paralegal who works for a solicitor’s firm must follow the rules set out by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).


Career progression

A paralegal can choose to continue to build up experience in the particular area of law in which they practise to obtain a senior paralegal role or undertake the necessary qualifications to become a qualified lawyer (solicitor, barrister, chartered legal executive, licensed conveyancer or licensed probate practitioner etc.)

A paralegal can obtain a licence through NALP following which they can offer legal services directly to their clients (except for immigration or conveyancing work).

How to qualify

Paralegal qualifications can be obtained through NALP. Read more about the options by following the links below.

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