Testimonials

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Michael Silvain A.S.S.P

Paralegal, Kennedys LLP

Completed the Online BTEC Diploma in Civil Litigation

 

 

 

 

 

Why did you decide to become a legal services professional?

 

I fell into it, so to speak. I actually wanted to become an Architect and worked for a firm when I left school. Then I joined a small West End firm where I spent some 16 years working my way from the bottom to the top. I managed my own clients and had over one hundred cases; prior to me leaving the firm offered me a consultancy role but [at the time] it did not suit my personal circumstances.
 


Paralegals and other practitioners play a vital role in the delivery of legal services – how would you describe your role?

 

I see this role as one of the main “cogs” in an ever revolving wheel, at times can be very pressured given you have various deadlines on various matters. You have to be extremely organised and also try to be one step ahead. Being good with people is a bonus as you will be working with a wide range of people. Given my experience in this industry (Pre-Wolf) not many lawyers, newly qualified or even some 2 or 3 qualified solicitors have had the experience of taking a matter to court and rely on your knowledge and experience.
 


What are your ambitions for the future?

 

Manage or Supervise other Paralegals
 


What would you say to anyone who was interested in a career as a legal services professional?

 

Paralegal in a good route to get a real understanding of what it is like to be a Solicitor. But the role of a paralegal is what you make of it the more interest and willing you then the more quality of work you will undertake. You will get to work with a wide variety of people and learn lots of different skill sets which will put you in good position should which to pursue becoming a Solicitor or Manager/Supervisor.
 


What did you enjoy about the BTEC programme?

 

Given that I have not had any previous legal training or even a law degree, I found it relativity straight forward but that because of the length of time I have been in the industry but for someone new, then this course is very good in-depth course for a beginner and I am looking forward to take the next level.
 

 

Sarah Crofts 

Trainer, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water Customer Services

Responsible for Learning & Development at DCCS

 

8 Staff have completed the Online BTEC Diploma in Debt Recovery

 

The general approach to training within DCCS -

                                                                                          

Training needs are identified through a number of different channels for example an individual may identify a training need of their own, their manager may identify a training need through their OPA (appraisal) or the business will identify training needs to maintain business as usual. The business training requirements will be different across the business depending on the individuals’ job role.   

 

The basic role of the staff in the organisation who have undertaken/are undertaking paralegal training -

 

The staff who have undertaken/are undertaking the course are all part of the Dwr Cymru Customers Services Specialist recoveries team.  They Investigate accounts to assess suitability for a claims, initiate the claims process and deal with any correspondence from customer’s or the courts.  They will then attend court where necessary. The team deal with accounts from pre claim through to enforcement. 

 

How many of the team have completed/are completing the programme?

 

The Collections Manager, team manager and the team of 8 are/have completing/completed the course. One team member is now completing the advanced Paralegal Course after passing the Paralegal Debt Recovery programme.

 

The benefits of paralegal training for the organisation -

 

The majority of the team are new to the litigation process, so this has been invaluable to build their knowledge of the court procedures and process

 

The benefits of the distance learning method of training -

 

This was completed in their own time and they could work and complete the course to suit their lifestyles.

 

 

 

Victoria Karthauser

Paralegal, Cozens-Hardy LLP

Completed the Online BTEC Diploma and Specialist Paralegal Qualification in Civil Litigation

 

 

I have been with the firm since November 2007 and qualified the BTEC Paralegal Course in 2010/11. It was when I started studying for my BTEC that I was given some work in the Personal Injury area of the firm (dealing with whiplash cases). I then moved to deal with the firm’s debt recovery work. After qualifying my Specialist Paralegal Course in 2011 I then took on some of the firm’s private debt recovery clients.
 

 
 

What have been the benefits for you, and if applicable, your firm of completing the programme?

 

Now that I have qualified as a Paralegal I have assisted the firm in recovering their own personal debts (as the Solicitors within the firm re always so busy dealing with private clients the firm’s own debts have had to take the backburner). I have successfully recovered some very large debts since taking on the firm’s files and these are debts which otherwise might have had to be dealt with by a Trainee Solicitor. The fact that I can do this work has taken the burden away from the Trainee Solicitors. I also like a challenge and some debtors can be particularly challenging!
 


Did you attend the graduation? If so, did you enjoy the experience?

 

Yes, myself, my fiancé and my mum drove all the way from Norwich to Bristol to attend the ceremony. It was well worth the travel and I now have some fantastic memories as a result. I must confess, I was extremely nervous, but the ceremony went so smoothly there really was nothing to worry about! The reception after the ceremony was also a lovely opportunity to catch up with colleagues who have also passed the course.
 


Why did you decide to become a paralegal?

 

Whilst I thoroughly enjoy being a Secretary I felt that the work simply wasn’t challenging enough. I wanted to be able to challenge myself when it came to doing my job and also wanted to be able to assist my boss more when he was out of the office. Passing this course has helped so much in this respect as I now have the knowledge and confidence to be able to handle queries and progress cases in my boss’ absence from the office. I can also assist other Solicitors in the firm as and when needed.
 


What would you say to anyone who was interested in a career as a paralegal?

 

I would certainly recommend it! Whilst you can pick up a certain aspects of law by working as a Secretary the courses have helped me to clarify points I was unsure about and train me into thinking about and dealing with situations in a different way. It has improved my confidence no end and that confidence continues to grow whilst I continue to do my role. It is extremely hard work and you do have to be very disciplined with yourself whilst studying (as these courses are of course home study courses) but they are definitely worth the time and effort!
 

 

 

Sara Dawes

Paralegal, BMW (UK) Limited

Completed the Specialist Paralegal Qualification in Civil Litigation

 


 

What did you enjoy about the Specialist Paralegal Qualification?

 

It was easy to understand and easy to follow.
 


What have been the benefits for you, and if applicable, your firm of completing the programme?

 

My firm has now gained a junior legal adviser to help alleviate the ever increasing workload.
 


Why did you decide to become a paralegal?

 

I was a legal secretary previously and I became interested in the work that the other lawyers were doing and slowly but surely I was given a few little matters of my own and my passion grew from there. The work is never dull and there is always something new every day.
 


Paralegals and other practitioners play a vital role in the delivery of legal services in the UK – how would you describe your role?

 

My role is very general with a focus on civil litigation. Being an in-house firm we deal with everything from general commercial law to competition law and pensions law. I advise all of our Group companies in respect on employment law queries, data protection queries, landlord and tenant law, marketing and the dealing of litigation cases.
 


What are your ambitions for the future as a paralegal?

 

My ambitions are to qualify as a lawyer by going down the ILEX route. Becoming a paralegal was my first step towards achieving that goal.
 


What would you say to anyone who was interested in a career as a paralegal?

 

To do it! Law is not as boring as some may think. It is interesting and it gives you a huge step up the career ladder. Paralegals are highly respected within the industry. There is always room for more paralegals to help the lawyers.
 

 
 

 

Samantha Marsden

Debt Recovery Paralegal, TWM Solicitors LLP

Completed the Online BTEC Diploma in Debt Recovery and Civil Litigation

 

 

 

 


Why did you decide to become a legal services professional?

 

I actually "fell" into the legal services profession. My Mother was the Finance Manager at a Solicitors Firm and their Debt Recovery Department was in need of another person due to their heavy workload and I was looking to leave my current position in the accounts department of a hotel. I had never worked in Debt Recovery before but I am a fast learner and my background in accounts certainly helped. I enjoyed the work I was doing and when I was made redundant I decided to stay in Debt Recovery and found myself at TWM Solicitors and expanding my knowledge into Civil Litigation.
 


Paralegals and other practitioners play a vital role in the delivery of legal services – how would you describe your role?

 

My role within TWM is to run the Debt Recovery section of the Dispute Resolution department - I pretty much head up my own "mini-department" within DR. As a Paralegal I can offer a high quality service but at a low price for the Client. I deal with all types of Debt Recovery - commercial and private - and as I can offer low fixed fees, I can still assist a Client with small value defended claims.
In our Dispute Resolution department we believe it is necessary to have a range of practitioners from Senior Partner through to Associates and Paralegals in order to offer our Client's the appropriate level of expertise to their matter. A fully qualified Solicitor isn't usually the best option for Debt Recovery services and low value claims which is where a Paralegal can come in handy.

 


What are your ambitions for the future?

 

My ambitions for the future are very simple - to learn more of Civil Litigation and develop my role within the Dispute Resolution Department.
 


What would you say to anyone who was interested in a career as a legal services professional?

 

I would say "give it a go" and don't be afraid if you don't have a University Degree or A-Levels. A Paralegal profession is open to everyone and there are plenty of courses to help you on your way.
 


What did you enjoy about the BTEC programme?

 

I enjoyed learning Civil Litigation in more detail than my experience in Debt Recovery has given me and reading the cases which set the precedents. The course fitted nicely around my work and personal life and the Assignments really made me think about and put into practice what I had learnt.

 

 

Nicky Secrett

Paralegal, AWB Partnership LLP

Completed the Specialist Paralegal Qualification in Civil Litigation

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I work as a Paralegal PA in the Litigation Department.  I have been at Awb for 8 years but started working as a paralegal 6 years ago.

 

I fell into law through a secretarial temping job in the 1990's.  I had always worked in Marketing.  It was a personal injury position which became permanent and I soon became a claims handler. I really enjoyed law, especially when cases went to Court.  As I moved around jobs, I stayed in law and eventually got my job at Awb where I have been for 8 years, this time in Commercial Litigation, including employment, IP, dispute resolution and general litigation.  After the first year, I started collating bundles for Court and Disclosure Bundles. I would often sit behind Counsel at the local Guildford Court and also the Royal Courts of Justice, as well as attending Conference with Counsel to accompany the client. 

 

As my line manager trusts me to know how to collate bundles for Trial, complete a Disclosure and Inspection exercise, put together a disclosure bundle, schedule Directions according to the time scales learnt in my course, I release a lot of the burden from my line manager in having to tell me how to carry out such duties which leaves him time to deal with other pressing matters.  I have learnt a great deal from my Special Paralegal Course and my line manager also noticed a difference in my understanding of legal procedures.

 

Having completed the Specialist Paralegal in Civil Litigation course, it really gave me a thirst to go further and I was looking into an LPC qualification. However, not having a degree of any kind, and lack of A levels from school, I am unable to go further, which is unfortunate.

 

The structure of the Court from CLT was set out very well.  When I was about to start the Course, I phoned and emailed Melanie Morrison several times to ask questions which she would always answer in detail and always had time to answer my queries.

 

I would highly recommend working in the legal background, in particular contentious litigation. It is fast paced, exciting, and interesting.  You never know what challenges are going to appear half way through the Court procedure.  Winning a case and securing your client the highest award is very satisfying!

 

I enjoyed the Paralegal training programme from CLT from start to finish.  At the start, I was a little nervous taking on the commitment of a home course, but when I settled down, I really enjoyed it. Every night I did a few more pages from the exercise book and every night I learnt something new! It was exciting (and again nerve racking) sending off the Assignment each month to the Tutor and equally exciting receiving it back marked with some really helpful feedback.  There were two parts of the Course which I felt especially proud, and they were when I received the mark for the final assignment which decided whether I passed or failed the course and the graduation at Bristol Cathedral. 

 

 

Lynn Whitelaw

Debt Recovery Paralegal, Standard Life

Completed the BTEC Online Diploma in Debt Recovery

 

 

What did you enjoy about the BTEC programme?

 

I enjoyed being able to complete the course in my own time in the comfort of my own home as opposed to sitting in a lecture theatre.  The course was also simple to follow and the support materials were very helpful.
 


What have been the benefits for you, and if applicable, your firm of completing the programme?

 

My knowledge of debt recovery procedure has increased and I have been able to pass this on to my colleagues.  I have learnt model processes and have been able to ensure that our internal processes are legally compliant.  I am the only English qualified Debt Recovery Paralegal in my team.
 


Why did you decide to work in legal services?

 

I was ready for a new challenge as I felt that in my previous role there were fewer opportunities to develop my career path.  Moving to the legal team has given me the opportunity to continue to learn and grow every day, with the prospect of building a great career for myself.  I love the variety of the job - new challenges are presented every day and there is never a dull moment!
 
 

Paralegals and other legal services’ professionals play a vital role in the delivery of legal services in the UK – how would you describe your role?

 

As a paralegal, I am required to know the law relevant to my role.  I provide a specialist legal service to recover the debts of the business.  I have assisted in developing the processes for this service and understand them in depth.  My expertise and training in debt recovery means that Paralegals can be used in the place of more expensive solicitors thereby reducing cost to the business.
 
 

What would you say to anyone who was interested in a career in legal services?

 

Definitely do it, you'll never look back!  It is challenging at times but it is a rewarding job.
 

 

Catherine Aherne

Legal Services Assistant, Weston Area Health NHS Trust

Completed the BTEC Online Diploma in Personal Injury

 

“I am a Legal Services Assistant at Weston Area Health NHS Trust, where I have worked for 6 years.

 

 

Personal Injury Law and Civil Litigation both cover my area of practice (I have just started the BTEC Online Diploma in Civil Litigation).

 

 

I enjoy the BTEC programme because It allows me to organise my studies around my full-time job, and still have free time within the six month schedule.

 

 

Since completing the BTEC Level 3 Advanced Diploma in Personal Injury Law, I have gained more confidence in performing my role as a Legal Services Assistant. I also feel able to offer more support to my manager, the Trust's solicitor.

 

 

Although I have worked as a medical administrator before, I was attracted by the opportunity to combine this with the law, a field which has always interested me.

 

 

At the age of 45, I believe that a career in the law as a Paralegal is ideal for me. My ambition is to obtain the Specialist Paralegal qualification by the age of 50!

 

 

What would you say to anyone who was interested in a career as a paralegal? 

 

My advice would be that it's never too late to start a career in the law. The BTEC programme allows one to achieve this whilst continuing to work concurrently."

 

 

Paul Altoft

Paralegal, Land Law LLP

Completed Specialist Paralegal Qualifications in Commercial Property

 

What did you enjoy about the Specialist Paralegal Qualification?

 

I enjoyed that it gave me the opportunity to do the work in my own time as opposed to university/college when you have set lessons and deadlines

 

 

 What have been the benefits for you, and if applicable, your firm of completing the programme?

 

It has made me more confident in my work and it has given the solicitors more opportunities to give me fee-earning work.

 

 

Philip Nam

Costs Manager, PA to Managing Director, Byrne & Co Solicitors

Completed BTEC Online Diplomas and Specialist Paralegal Qualifications in Civil Litigation and Personal Injury

 

 

"I starting working in the legal sector back in 2001 when I joined a Crime/Family firm as an office junior.  Due to my excellent organisational and typing skills, I then joined a personal injury firm as a legal secretary in 2002.  I spent those years learning the PI sector and of course dealt with the new predictive costs regime.  After spending near 2 years at the firm, I took a break from the legal sector in order to try different options. 

 

I returned to the legal sector in 2008 working as a self-employed administrator at a PI firm in Bolton.  I was at this firm with the sole director who had recently opened his firm in the past 6 months.  I assisted him with his workload, speaking to clients, third party insurers, medical agencies, courts, referrers and Barristers.  I would take initial instructions from clients and also take down detailed witness statements from them also.  I also reviewed expert reports and valued quantum. I also drafted letters, Court documents and, kept my diary in order that I can assist in the smooth running of the files.  In addition to this case handling experience, I also took part in a role in the Accounts department; updating ledgers and creating bills.

 

 

In March 2010, I moved to a bigger PI firm in Southport (current).  I joined as a legal secretary/legal assistant initially where I would not just act as a secretary to a Grade B fee earner but would also assist him in running his files.  Within a month, my role changed to a claims advisor dealing with the (new) Portal claims.  I would run my own case load of portal cases from start to finish in addition to my role as legal assistant in dealing with the non-portal case load of my supervisor. 

 

 

In December 2010, I then progressed to deal with costs files as the current costs clerk left the firm.  I also became the PA to the director.  This was in addition to my role as claims advisor were I continued to deal with portal claims. 

 

 

As I had never been in a costs role before, I had a lot to learn in respect of Parts 44 to 47 of the CPR and also the Part 8 procedure.  I have undertaken a large amount of ‘on the job’ training and also a lot of research to fulfil my role as the sole person in the costs of department.  I am confident in issuing and progressing Part 8 costs only proceedings; drafting Bill of Costs (self-taught) and ‘credit control’ in respect of outstanding costs.  Over the past 2 years, I have settled near 300 Part 8 and Standard Costs files without the need to proceed to Detailed Assessment.  I finished my role as Claims Advisor in October 2011 in order to focus on my primary role of costs manager and secondary role of PA."                  

 

Why did you decide to become a paralegal?

 

I didn’t really know what a paralegal was until joining the Institute of Paralegals in October 2011.  I only found out about the IOP when I saw that a course would count as CPD hours towards their respective annual requirement.  After some initial research, I initially found that by becoming a member you could achieve ‘letters after you name’.  It appeared very simple and I already had attained the required experience to do just have such letters.  I initially enquired about joining in April 2011 but subsequently joined in the October.  I still wasn’t entirely sure what a paralegal was save for the fact that I had seen the title used on numerous Court documentation served by Defendants.  After joining, I undertook further research and found that the ‘paralegal’ was not just a fancy title given to junior staff but in fact, something that could be achieved.  I was quite lucky around the time of joining that I had recently received compensation for an accident that had occurred in March 2010 and therefore, I decided to undertake BTEC and Specialist Paralegal Qualifications in Personal Injury and Civil Litigation using the funds that I had acquired to pay for it.  It was from this point that being a paralegal was not just about having letters after your name, it was about something more important – honour, integrity and credibility in my field.  I always aim to the best at everything that I do and this was certainly a way I could go about proving it.

 

 

Paralegals and other practitioners play a vital role in the delivery of legal services in the UK – how would you describe your role in your firm? 

 

My role is more of a utility role (comparing to football) in that I am able to do a lot of tasks that are not just limited to one single position.  I am currently in a dual position as Costs Manager and PA and therefore my role is a major cog in the functioning of this firm.  My main role as Costs Manager is to manage the costs situation in the firm from those small fixed costs portal files to large final Bills ensuring that costs are maximised and cash flow is maintained.  I have to work with every person in the firm to ensure that the overall aim of bringing in cash is achieved.  My role as PA on the other hand assists with the general understanding of how the company is run, how we make our money, how we market ourselves and how we stay compliant with the laws and regulations set upon us.  Both roles work hand-in-hand.

 

 

What are your ambitions for the future as a paralegal?

 

I didn’t have much ambition when I first started in my current firm in 2010 – it was just a job.  Now having seen the light, my ultimate ambition is to become an authorised person (S.18 Legal Services Act) by way of either a solicitor or barrister.  Obviously, with the changes coming in April, things may change and this will be the year of the paralegal.  It may be the case that Paralegals (senior) may become authorised persons and therefore I do not need to undertake further courses and incur further costs.  However, this still does not prevent me from continuing with my professional development.  As I said before, I aim to the best and just stopping here at this level would mean failure. 

 

 

Why did you undertake practical training in your subject area? 

 

To refine my knowledge.  It was very good finding out that there were some of the course material that was new to me. 

 

 

What would you say to anyone who was interested in a career as a paralegal? 

 

Go for it!  There is nothing stopping you.  It is and can be a career. 

 

 

Samantha Walsh

Subrogated Claims Advisor, SimplyHealth

Completed the Specialist Paralegal Qualification in Personal Injury

 

 

What did you enjoy about the Specialist Paralegal Qualification?

 

 

I thoroughly enjoyed the Specialist Paralegal Qualification; the main benefit for me was being able to complete the course at my own speed within the given 18 month time frame. As I was completing the course in my own time, outside of office hours it was extremely convenient to fit in around me yet still gave me the opportunity to study.

 

 

I also found the format of the study well thought out. As each assignment was based around the same scenario rather than 6 different scenarios and you were able to get involved in a case as such and how it would be handled.

 

 

What have been the benefits for you, and if applicable, your firm of completing the programme?

 

 

Whilst I don't work for a legal firm I work for a small team within a company dealing with their Subrogated claims and therefore deal with solicitors/paralegals on a daily basis. The qualification has given me so much more confidence when dealing with personal injury claims, I now have a much better understanding of how a Personal Injury claim proceeds from beginning to end and the time frames involved. This enables me, within my role to have more realistic time frames when I speak with solicitors and understand at what stage the claim is at. I am also able to discuss the claims in more depth with the solicitors due to the knowledge I have gained.

 

                  

This in turn helps the company I work for as they have competent qualified staff dealing with these types of claims. Also when a solicitor calls the office to discuss a Subrogated claim they want the reassurance that they are discussing the claim with someone that knows the process and understands it and can give the correct advice back and I am now able to provide this reassurance.

 

 

What are your ambitions for the future as a paralegal?

 

 

I hope to continue to study and improve and build on the knowledge I have gained through this qualification.

 

 

What would you say to anyone who was interested in a career as a paralegal?

 

 

I would say to anyone who is interested in a career as a paralegal that this is an excellent way to start - the qualification is extremely informative and well structured, I never thought when the course was recommended to me that I would be able to complete it, but I did and thoroughly enjoyed it at the same time, it has proved invaluable in my role.

 

 

Martine Vear

Subrogated Claims Advisor, SimplyHealth

Completed the Specialist Paralegal Qualification in Personal Injury

 

 

What did you enjoy about the Specialist Paralegal Qualification?

 

 

I enjoyed the freedom and control of being able to work at my own pace. 

 

 

What have been the benefits for you, and if applicable, you’re firm of completing the programme?

 

 

I have a far better understanding of how a personal injury claim works the length of time these types of cases can take to complete and the processes/terminology used by solicitors.

I am one of two newly qualified Paralegals in the entire business dealing solely with all Subrogated Claims so the benefit to the company has been invaluable.

 

 

Did you attend the graduation? If so, did you enjoy the experience?

 

 

I have not yet attended my graduation as this is due to take place in the summer of 2013.

 

 

Why did you decide to become a paralegal?

 

 

I decided to become a Paralegal to gain more confidence in my job role and to support me in day to day decisions.

 

 

What are your ambitions for the future as a paralegal?

 

 

My ambitions are to maximise the potential recoup available for my company.

 

 

What would you say to anyone who was interested in a career as a paralegal?

 

 

At 40 years of age I never thought that I would be studying again but the course is well structured with plenty of information and guidance and is easy to follow.  With a little bit of determination what seem to be impossible becomes possible.

 

 

Katie Horner

Director, Topiary Legal Consultancy

Completed the Specialist Paralegal Qualification in Debt Recovery

 

What did you enjoy about the Specialist Paralegal Qualification?     

 

The clear and concise material provided by CLT, the fact it is distance learning so you can earn and study and the helpfulness of the staff.

 

Whathave been the benefits for you,and if applicable, your firm of completing the programme?   

 

A recognised qualification for experience previously gained and a thorough knowledge of the subject provided within the course materials. The ability to progress with my career.

 

 

Did you attend the graduation? If so, did you enjoy the experience? 

 

Yes I did and thoroughly enjoyed it (together with a proud husband and parents!)

 

 

Why did you decide to become a paralegal?  

 

 

I have been working within the debt recovery field for about 12 years and was pleased to learn that I could get my experience acknowledged through the CLT paralegal qualification.  During the course of studying I have decided to set up my own paralegal firm.

 

 

Paralegals and other practitioners play a vital role in the delivery of legal services in the UK – how would you describe your role? 

 

In setting up my own paralegal firm (with low overheads) I am able to help businesses and individuals improve their cash flow whilst helping them keep existing customers/clients by tackling their debt in a firm but fair manner whilst being proactive in helping them develop their credit management procedures at a cost that is competitive, realistic and proportionate to the job in hand.

 

What are your ambitions for the future as a paralegal? 

 

Having set up my own paralegal business I am now looking forward to seeing it expand, hopefully employing other likeminded paralegals and gaining a good professional reputation along the way

 

What would you say to anyone who was interested in a career as a paralegal? 

 

Go for it!  By gaining my qualification with CLT it has helped me develop my business which hopefully will improve the quality of life for my growing family

 

 

 

Nick Ash

Director, Will and Probate Services

Completed the Specialist Paralegal Qualification in Wills, Probate and Administration

 

 

 

What did you enjoy about the Specialist Paralegal Qualification?

 

The qualification was more appropriate to the real world, than some of the others that I looked at. It’s modular style suited my life as I was able to study and work on the qualification whilst still doing my day job. The more practical nature of the qualification suited the way I learn more than the other theory focussed qualifications that are out there.

 

 

What have been the benefits for you, and if applicable, your firm of completing the programme?

 

In short, credibility, the independent Will Writing sector gets a bad reputation qualified practitioners are few and far between. A formal qualification allows my business to differentiate itself in the market place, and potentially staves off some of the threats posed by upcoming regulation of the sector.

 

 

Why did you decide to become a paralegal?

 

I initially became a will writer, but found that the needs of my clients were much more complex than just writing wills, so I resolved to study and become the best I can be, the paralegal route seemed the right way to go.

 

 

Paralegals and other practitioners play a vital role in the delivery of legal services in the UK – how would you describe your role?

 

The shorthand I use is Probate Lawyer, I help people plan for later life and guide families through the aftermath of a death. I have been lucky enough to serve on the LSB project studying the future regulation of our sector, the Society of Will Writers / Institute of Professional Will Writers regulation steering group and I believe that I can continue to have a small influence of the future direction of the independent Will Writing sector.

 

 

What are your ambitions for the future as a paralegal?

 

To build a successful paralegal law firm that specialises in the Wills and Probate Sector.

 

 

What would you say to anyone who was interested in a career as a paralegal?

 

In my sector I would say go for it, it is endlessly interesting and challenging, you meet and help a huge variety of people and you make a real difference to lives at a difficult time.

 

 

 

 

 

Gillian Christie

Paralegal, Specialist Advice Services

Completed Specialist Paralegal Qualifications in Civil Litigation

 

 

I work for Specialist Advice Services, Shepway Citizens Advice Bureau.

 

My job title is Paralegal and I practice in civil litigation, with the housing team of the bureau.

 

I have worked as a paralegal here for just over one year, but had taken on the role of legal secretary to cover a maternity.  However, it was noted very quickly by the Solicitor that I could provide more and undertook paralegal duties almost immediately.  So for this job, I would actually say 2 years.  I first qualified as a paralegal in 1995 in Scotland and started practicing as a paralegal properly in 2000 after having successfully completed another 2 paralegal qualifications.

 

 

I enjoy studying and particularly like the structure that CLT in their course materials.  It was set out in such a way that it was easy to understand and there was also no need for cross referencing with lots of text books.  Also whilst studying on this civil litigation course, I could relate it back to litigation cases we had running at the time.  The staff at CLT were all very helpful too.

 

 

The benefits from this course have helped me carry out my work in a more professional manner and given me an in-depth knowledge of the civil procedure rules.  On successfully completing this course I was thereafter able to take on additional duties of covering the duty court desk at Thanet County Court.  Every Tuesday the CAB provide help to anyone who is faced with repossession, be it landlord/tenant or mortgage repossessions. There is also applications to stay eviction and charging orders.  I advise people before their cases are called and also assist them in defending their case before the District Judge on the day if they so wish.  If not for successfully passing this qualification and had a clear understanding of court procedures, I would not have successfully been able to take on this additional role.

 

 

I became a paralegal when I was working in Edinburgh.  I was not happy or sufficiently satisfied with working as a legal secretary.  I was undertaking more duties than is expected from a secretary as otherwise I was becoming somewhat bored at work.  It was at this point I realised that to further my career and development I would have undertaken some form of studying.  The paralegal courses offered, at that point, were best suited for me to enable me to make my next career move.

 

 

My role is very busy and pressured, but at the same time very rewarding.  I work for a charity and people come to us as they do not know where to turn.  It gives me great satisfaction to be able to secure their properties when faced with repossession/evictions.  As mentioned above, I cover the duty court desk but back at the office I meet with clients and provide them with legal help and assistance on a whole range of housing issues including disrepair and evictions.  Some cases progress onto litigation.   From this point, I deal with all legal aid applications, additional funding applications and billing the files when completed.  The litigation cases which I do are mostly landlord/tenant.  I negotiate with the landlord, being private or local authority/social housing.  I prepare the Defence, Notices and attend court at the hearings.  

 

 

My ambition for the future is to progress on to having a law degree.  Having worked in the legal sector now for 27 years and having 4 paralegal qualifications, I feel I need to move to a higher level which not only enhance my knowledge but assist me further in my career.

 

Anyone considering being a paralegal should simply go for it.  You will reap the rewards from doing so.  It is not an easy option, it is hard work but also very satisfying and rewarding.  I would recommend this career path to anyone who has an interest in law.

 

 

 

 

Philip Tan Chee Tong

Senior Paralegal, Mid-Sized Legal Firm in Singapore

Completed Specialist Paralegal Qualifications in Residential Conveyancing

 

 

I have practiced conveyancing in Singapore for more than 20 years. Conveyancing in Singapore is similar to England's thought it has been steadily streamlined through the years. The thing I enjoyed about the specialist paralegal practitioner residential conveyancing course is that it offers me a broad perspective of different conveyancing practices and deepen my knowledge of current practices. In short, the course is very hands-on and helps the conveyancer to tackle the practical issues that arise from time to time.

 

 

I attended the graduation ceremony with my wife and it was a wonderful experience. It was also an opportunity to interact with other graduates and exchange ideas and build contacts.

 

 

In Singapore, paralegals play a vital role in the delivery of legal services. Many conveyancing paralegals undertake the day to day running of legal services including interaction with amongst others, government bodies and banks. It's a challenging career and offers opportunity to learn and adapt to current changing practices.

 

 

To an aspiring paralegal, I would say grasp the opportunity to learn and upgrade constantly. Learning is never a full stop and age is never a barrier. I never stop learning even after two decades of practice. Market condition is always changing and a paralegal must always keep abreast and perhaps stay ahead to be relevant in this new age.