Ever dreamed of a career in law but are worried about the time it takes and the amount it costs to train? Or are you concerned that perhaps it’s too late for you – just that bit ‘too old’ to change career?


Training to become a Paralegal could be the answer.


It costs around £27,000 to study for a law degree (full-time over three years). Then an extra £15k to undertake the one year professional course (either the Legal Practice Course (LPC) for solicitors or Bar professional Training Course (BPTC) for barristers).


That’s around £42k and you need to be studying full time for four years.


And even then, you are still not qualified. You still have to find a two year training contract with a solicitor or firm, or to be a barrister, to find a pupillage of one year with a senior barrister before you can qualify and practise.


For many people this is way beyond their financial means and time capabilities.


So, what is the alternative if you have a yearning to work in the law?


The good news is that you can now enter the legal sector as a Paralegal. Fully recognised paralegal qualifications are available online. They start at around £350 for a taster, and can take you all the way through to Postgraduate.


How long will this take to complete?

This will vary according to how quickly an individual can assimilate information. If you have not studied since school, then the NALP Level 3 Award is an ideal taster to find out if the subject of studying Law is your thing. It is two units of study, one mandatory and one optional (out of a choice of eight legal subject areas) and should take no longer than four months to complete (although there is an overall period of one year to do so).


If, having completed this you decide that you wish to continue, there is a progressive route to a Level 3 Certificate and then a Diploma and then even further to a Level 4 Diploma.


The beauty of going down this route, is that you can dip your feet in the water without losing too much time or money.


For those about to leave school and who have a clear idea that they wish to study law, don’t be put off if you (or more likely, your parents) cannot afford university fees; there is a qualification, that for just a twentieth of the cost of a university degree, which will, on successful completion, give you a full Paralegal Qualification.


Likewise, if you are on the verge of graduating with a law degree and are hesitating to book your place on the professional course (either for solicitors or barristers) because of cost or career progression looking bleak, then opting for a Paralegal qualification could be the answer.


All in all, entering the legal sector has never been easier – and Paralegals can do almost the same work as a solicitor. There are just a few activities that Paralegals cannot undertake. These are known as ‘Reserved Activities’ and they include: the automatic right to represent a client in court; litigation; conveyancing; signing a grant of probate.


There are plenty of opportunities to work as a Paralegal in a varied number of employer settings. In fact, there is a broader spectrum of jobs available than if you were a solicitor. You can work for a solicitor within their practice, or for a local authority, or a small or larger corporate company. You can even set up your business provided you hold a NALP Licence to Practise and have professional indemnity insurance (PII).


Training as a Paralegal is a great career option with plenty of flexibility, opportunities and variety. And since the withdrawal of Legal Aid, Paralegals are in more demand than ever – so there has never been a better time to choose a career as a Paralegal.


Amanda Hamilton is Chief Executive of NALP, a non-profit Membership Body as well as being the only Paralegal body that is recognised as an awarding organisation by Ofqual (the regulator of qualifications in England). Through its training arm, NALP Training, accredited recognised professional paralegal qualifications are offered for a career as a paralegal professional. 




How to write a winning entry-level legal CV

The number of law graduates continues to rise, with (currently 31,315 in the UK) in the past year alone. If you’re applying for entry-level legal positions, you do not necessarily need a law degree, but you are likely to face stiff competition from...

Why didn’t I get the job?

If your confidence has been knocked after receiving a rejection letter, asking for feedback can help you gain more clarity on the situation. We’re going to walk you through how to ask an employer for feedback, so you can improve and impress at your next job interview....

10 signs it’s time to quit your job

How do you tell the difference between going through a bit of a rough patch at work and when it’s time to call it a day and find yourself a new job? There are lots of things you can do to improve your time at work and boost your happiness in the office,...

How to deal with conflict in the workplace

Conflict is a given in the workplace. With so many different personalities under one roof, you’re bound to clash with someone in the office. The way you deal with though, can affect the environment you and others work in.Conflict can come in many forms. It...

7 easy tips to achieve happiness at work

You spend a lot of your life at work, especially if you work full time, so it’s important that you aren’t unhappy in your job. In particular, many people who have worked in the same place for years feel like they’ve hit a wall and aren’t sure how to move...

Share This