What Role Will Paralegals Play in the Future of Legal Services?

As the cost of the services of a talented Solicitor or Barrister skyrockets, and a reduction in legal aid continues, fewer consumers are finding that they can afford costly legal services. They are searching for an alternative.

Paralegals are emerging as that alternative, but the profession still remains an unknown quantity to all but the professional Paralegals themselves, particularly in the eyes of qualified lawyers, who believe Paralegals are simply “would-be Solicitors”.

Many individuals are qualifying as Paralegals independently. Without a shadow of a doubt, Paralegals will play a key role in the future of legal services – especially in assisting consumers with everyday matters at an affordable cost. They will sit alongside Solicitors and Barristers within the legal sector – filling a gap and need that is currently being underserved. Paralegals are already an important if not visible profession within the legal services industry. Solicitors and Barristers also have the opportunity to recognise what this addition brings them and the sector as a whole, and to embrace Paralegals as one of the ways consumers can have access to legal advice and support.

Advanced Level Course Discount Open to Members

ILSPA Members are now eligible to receive a 20% discount on our Advanced Single Subject Legal Courses. This was previously available only to our Legal Secretaries Diploma graduates.

Many of ILSPA’s Members work in specific legal departments such as litigation or family law. Being able to advance your knowledge and skills in the area you work in will not only help you perform better in your role, but it will also show your employers that you are dedicated to your job.

If you are working in a certain area of law at the moment and you would like a change, that’s another good reason to study one of our advanced-level courses. You can acquire the knowledge and skills you need to make the move to another department or firm.

We offer a range of subjects:

  • Civil Litigation
  • Corporate and Commercial Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Land Law and Conveyancing
  • Family Law
  • Wills, Probate and Administration

Our advanced level courses will provide you with an in-depth understanding of the area of law you study as well as some Paralegal skills. This means that your employer will be able to give you more responsibility in your role, which could potentially lead to a pay raise or promotion.

Legal Secretary Vacancies February 2020

Here is a selection of vacancies from our Legal Secretary Jobs Board this month:

Corporate Commercial Legal Secretary – Blue Pelican

Location: Kent

Salary: £23,000 - £25,000

Blue Pelican are looking to recruit a Legal Secretary with experience in the corporate or commercial sectors. The firm are really striving to find someone who is forward thinking and who is a problem solver.

View the full job description here:           

https://www.institutelegalsecretaries.com/jobs/candidate/job/168574/

Part Time Legal Secretary – Sacco Mann 

Location: Leeds

Salary: £20,000 - £23,000 FTE

Sacco Mann is currently recruiting for a fantastic international client who are looking for a Legal Secretary to provide support to their Healthcare Regulatory team, based in Leeds. The role is permanent part time working afternoons, 5 days a week. The salary is dependent on experience and based on a full time equivalent salary.

View the full job description here:           

https://www.institutelegalsecretaries.com/jobs/candidate/job/169538/

Graduate PA – McKinlay Law

Disclosure and the Consequences of Not Being Transparent

This month we will review what information a property seller should disclose as part of a conveyancing transaction and consider a recent case where a seller has been accused of misleading a buyer by saying nothing.

The starting point in any sale of land is to apply the contractual principle of caveat emptor or buyer beware. However, in practice it is rarely this simple. As part of a normal conveyancing transaction, a seller would complete a property information form in order to give a buyer detailed information about a property. The form has several versions, which cover sales of freeholds, leaseholds and new build residential properties. All of these forms have been designed by the Law Society as part of the national conveyancing protocol used in the majority of transactions in England and Wales.

Problems can arise when a seller decides not to disclose certain information about a property as they do not want to put a buyer off. In the most common version of the property information form (the TA6), a seller should disclose information about things such as:

•           Boundaries

•           Disputes with neighbours

•           Planned developments

•           Alterations to the property

•           Flooding

•           Occupiers

•           Drainage, sewers and utilities

LegalEx 2020

As announced last year, ILSPA has partnered up with LegalEx as it makes its much-anticipated return to ExCeL London on 18-19 March 2020, hosting the most comprehensive and all-encompassing event dedicated to facilitating business growth and professional development for legal professionals and firms.

This year’s exhibition promises to be the most content-rich to date. Your FREE ticket will give you access to 150 cutting-edge exhibitors and more than 100 CPD accredited educational seminars from some of the world’s top legal experts, innovators and most forward-thinking speakers.

Seminars will include topics such as “Improve Task Management Between Fee Earners and Support Staff”, “Giving Your Client the Red-Carpet Treatment” and “Legal Technology – Hear from the Experts and Ask Them Your Questions”. 

Legal Secretaries who attend will be able to investigate and learn more about programmes and software used within their day-to-day roles from exhibitors such as Clio, Osprey and DPS Software.

An Interview with Charlotte O’Brien – Family Legal Secretary at Birketts LLP

Charlotte O’Brien was an experienced PA working for a Director of multiple companies. When her PA role required her to get involved in a High Court case, she felt she needed a better understanding of law and decided to study ILSPA’s Legal Secretaries Diploma. From there, her interest in law grew and she decided to make the move into working as a Legal Secretary. 

Charlotte is now a Family Legal Secretary at the award-winning law firm Birketts LLP and is studying our Family Law Advanced Diploma. We spoke to Charlotte about her studies, her job search and how ILSPA’s Diploma helped her in both her previous role and her new role as a Legal Secretary.     

1. What were you doing before you studied with ILSPA?

Before I started the Legal Secretary Diploma, I was working as a Personal Assistant to a Director of a number of companies. I was involved in the preparation of a High Court case and liaising with solicitors for the company and, as such, I felt I needed to gain a qualification so that I was able to understand the terminology and improve my work. Before that, I worked at a high school as an Assistant to the Headteacher and office team.

Tips for Your 2020 Legal Job Search

The legal industry is a competitive field to gain work in, therefore it is wise to equip yourself as best as you can before starting your search for a new career in law. But how do you set yourself up for an effective job search?

We spoke to our partner and specialist legal recruiter Simply Law Jobs and asked their advice on starting a job search in the legal industry. These ten simple tips, which perhaps seem obvious but are often forgotten, will help you search for jobs more effectively and submit a stronger application for legal roles in 2020.

Filter your search

What are you looking for within your next position? Are you looking to start your legal career or for a more senior role within a law firm? Or perhaps you want to work in a specific area of law? Then there is little point in sifting through hundreds of general vacancies which have no relevance to you. Use the filtering settings available on sites such as Simply Law Jobs to narrow down your search to only include roles that meet your needs.

Progressing from a Secretary to a Legal Secretary

The role of a Legal Secretary is much sought after among workers who want to pursue a career in law. It’s an ideal starting point at which to absorb knowledge of the industry before progressing through the ranks. There are many perks to working as a Legal Secretary – the salary is high compared to that of a standard Secretary and there is opportunity for generously paid overtime. The larger firms also generally offer health benefits and incentives such as ample holiday. London remains the main hub for legal firms, though there is a big market growing outside of the capital in major cities such as Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham. 

Benchmark Your Salary with TotallyLegal’s 2019 Audience Insight Report

In Autumn 2019, over 2,800 legal professionals responded to TotallyLegal’s annual salary survey, sharing the details of their working lives from job title and practice area to PQE level and salary.

From the data provided by our audience, we crafted the 2019 Audience Insight Report – a free to download overview of the legal profession that also allows you to benchmark your current earnings.

With annual pay rises of 54% and 55% respectively, the report revealed a rewarding year for the majority of Legal Secretaries and Legal PAs. Additionally, 50% of Legal PAs and 39% of Legal Secretaries were awarded a bonus on top of their basic salary.

In terms of the gender pay gap, female Legal Secretaries earned 8% more than their male colleagues, and female Legal PAs were awarded a significant 45% more than men in similar roles.

However, with the gender pay gap remaining at 28% in favour of men and significant salary inequalities across job titles, practice areas and PQE levels, the profession as a whole has made little progress towards parity in the past year.

Another key story in this year’s survey concerns the perceived job security of legal professionals, with 39% expressing anxieties around redundancies, sector-specific challenges and Brexit-related uncertainties.

6 Things Successful People Do on Their First Day at Work

Whether you’re a new graduate or the CEO, starting a new job can be daunting even for the most confident person. As the saying goes, ‘you never get a second chance to make a first impression’ and your first day on the job can potentially have a huge bearing on how you are perceived by your colleagues from then on.

But there’s no need to panic! Here are 6 things you can do to maximise your chances of making a positive first impression:

1. Plan and prepare for your first day

Simple steps such as checking your new journey to work or planning your outfit the night before can greatly benefit the flow of your morning.

Make sure you get a good night’s sleep and set your alarm early enough to give you the time to have a good breakfast to ensure you feel energised! This will help you avoid having to rush which could make you late or affect your mood.

2. Don’t be on time, arrive early (but not too early!)

As you would for any interview, aim to arrive at the company at least 20 minutes early so that you don’t get caught out by any traffic or transport issues you may encounter.