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 become a paralegal

By the end of Halimah's apprenticeship, she will be a fully-qualified paralegal.

  • Paralegal salary: £14,000 to £40,000 per year
  • paralegal working hours: 37 to 40 hours per week

What qualifications do you need to be a paralegal?

  • Typical entry requirements: A paralegal advanced apprenticeship like Halimah’s will usually require 5 GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), typically including English and Maths. You'll find it useful to have some understanding of how the legal system works. The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) law school has information about apprenticeships and training. You can also become a paralegal by completing a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in Law, Legal Studies or Paralegal Practice. There's a lot of competition for places on law degrees, so you'll need good grades in your entry qualifications.
     
    You could study for a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in law, legal studies or paralegal practice or you could take a college course before you look for work.

This information is a guide (sources: LMI for All, National Careers Service)

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

For careers advice in all parts of the UK visit: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

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