How to become a paralegal: Halimah's story

Meet Halimah, 21, from Birmingham, and find out more about life as a paralegal apprentice at Pinsent Masons. Part of our Bitesize world of work series.

I want to practise as a solicitor as I believe that law ensures fairness for everyone.

  • Halimah studied Psychology, Sociology, Religious Studies and Philosophy at A-level and thought she would continue on to university
  • She spoke to a careers advisor at school where she discovered legal apprenticeships. She applied for a paralegal apprenticeship scheme at Pinsent Masons, a commercial law firm, which would allow her to earn a salary whilst learning and gain experience
  • Paralegals carry out a range of legal work: research, preparation of legal documents and legal advice to clients
  • Halimah's role requires good attention to detail and research skills. Her ambition is to qualify as a paralegal, then as a solicitor.

Halimah's career path

What to expect if you want to be a paralegal

  • Paralegal average salary: £15,550 to £40,000 per year
  • Paralegal typical working hours: 37 to 40 hours per week

What qualifications do you need to be a paralegal?

You could get into this role via a university course or a degree apprenticeship. There's a lot of competition for places on law degrees, so you'll need good grades in your entry qualifications. You'll usually need one or two A-levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma and two to three A-levels, or equivalent, for a degree. Alternatively, you could to a T-level in Legal Services (England only, from Sept 2023). A T-level is equivalent to three A-levels. You can also do a college course such as a Level 2 or 3 Diploma or a Level 2 certificate. You could also take a paralegal advanced apprenticeship. This typically takes 24 months to complete as a mix of workplace learning and study. Employers will set their own entry requirements, so do check before applying. You can also work towards the role by finding work with a legal practice as an admin assistant and do training on the job to qualify. This could be done through the Institute of Paralegals or the National Association of Licenced Paralegals. You'll be expected to have GCSEs or A-levels and a good standard of English.

Sources: LMI for All, National Careers Service, GOV.UK.

This information is a guide and is constantly changing. Please check the National Careers Service website for the latest information and all the qualifications needed and the GOV.UK website for more on T-levels.

Find out more on the Prospects website about the role of a paralegal.

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