Benefits of Paralegalling before your Training Contract

October 10, 2021

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2 min read

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Gaining paralegal experience can help with not just obtaining a Training Contract (TC) but may also give you an advantage when it comes to starting your TC. This article discusses what benefits paralleling has throughout the TC process with opinions from current trainees and paralegals.

The benefits pre-Training Contract

Paralegalling is a great experience to add to your CV and to discuss during TC applications. Having experience actually working within the legal sector shows recruiters that you have a genuine interest in the legal profession and know what work you may complete as a trainee. Many applicants may genuinely want to enter the legal profession but not all can provide evidence that they understand what it involves. Being able to discuss why you enjoy working as a paralegal within a law firm therefore provides a strong answer for “why law?” and perhaps “why this area of law?”.

Paralegal experience may also help to improve your confidence during the application process. Being interviewed by partners at a firm can be daunting when you have little experience interacting with such senior professionals. However, working as a paralegal often involves directly communicating and building relationships with lawyers at all levels of seniority. Being sat opposite 3 partners on a Zoom call may therefore feel much less intimidating after paralegalling, even more so if they are partners you work with! 

The benefits post-Training Contract

When discussing what a TC is like, the phrase ‘thrown in the deep end’ is often bounced around. However, speaking to those who had paralegal experience prior to starting their TC, the process seems to have been much less overwhelming compared to their fellow trainees. Whilst working as a paralegal, much of the work undertaken is similar, if not the same, as the work undertaken by trainees at the firm. This means that when beginning your TC you will already have an understanding of much of the work you are asked to complete. This can help you make a great first impression with associates and partners at the firm.

Another advantage of paralegalling is that it provides you with a great understanding of office etiquette and how law firms operate as a business. The concept of time keeping and document management software can be difficult to get the hang of when first working at a firm. Getting to grips with such software and etiquette prior to your TC therefore allows you to ‘hit the ground running’, again, making great first impressions. 

Whilst paralegal experience is not an essential requirement of a TC, the benefits of such experience will increase employability and ensure a smooth transition to trainee life.  

Report written by Nell Pringle

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