20 February 2024

Reasons To Use A Paralegal

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Reasons To Use A Paralegal

Paralegal vs Solicitor

When you are in a legal predicament your first instinct may be to call a Solicitor – Am I right? Well, this is not always necessary, and it may be easier for you to contact a Paralegal first.

What can a Paralegal do?

Paralegals cannot undertake all the same work as a Solicitor due to the fact they are restricted to “unreserved” legal services. However, this still leaves a lot of other legal services they are qualified to carry out, such as:

  • Will writing;
  • Lasting Power of Attorney drafting;
  • Legal advice on employment law;
  • Providing (most) legal assistance to both individuals and businesses;
  • Document writing and preparation (up to a certain point i.e., if the matter reaches court level); and
  • Acting as McKenzie friend, meaning they can accompany you to court if you are representing yourself, providing you with advice and support (but not to represent you).

As you can see, Paralegals can carry out many of the same services a Solicitor can.

Are they qualified?

There are many ways to be classed as a Paralegal. They do not need to be legally qualified, but they do have to be experienced and knowledgeable within a firm. This means they may be limited in the work they are willing to carry out for you due to the fact they may only be experienced in certain services.

There are other routes for professionals to obtain the level of experience needed to be classed as a Paralegal (including practical experience). For example:

  • A Law Degree;
  • Postgraduate Paralegal Diploma;
  • NALP Paralegal practice award, diploma, or certificate; or
  • Legal Secretary Certificate i.e., from the Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs

At Pro-law, all are staff are qualified. Ian Mason has practiced as a Solicitor for over 40 years, Koren Pitcher has completed the NALP course, and Samantha Hirons has completed the ILSPA course. We strive to stay on top of training, attend regular webinars to boost our knowledge and keep up to date with changes within the law.

Why use a Paralegal?

You may wonder why you should use a Paralegal over a Solicitor. Well, the main reason is pricing! It is well known that using a Solicitor can be expensive. The average hourly rate of a Solicitor is over £200, more senior Solicitors may charge up to £500. This is a high cost, primarily due to the sheer cost of their professional indemnity insurance. However, at Pro-law, as we are purely a professional paralegal practice, the maximum rate from the most senior staff member, Ian, is £135/hr, due to his lengthy experience as a Solicitor. Koren, as a trained paralegal, has a maximum hourly rate of £75/hr, which is reflective of the national averages. Samantha, having completed the ILSPA course and taken on client work, has a maximum hourly rate of £55/hr. With legal aid being scrapped in 2016, and the current financial climate, being able to access a Paralegal over a Solicitor is beneficial and cost effective for many.

Paralegals are often referred to as the glue that holds law firms together. They not only have their own clients, but also assist with the workloads of senior members of staff, and often carry out admin roles within the firm.

Contact us

If you are unsure whether a Paralegal would be able to carry out work for you, then just ask! At Pro-law, we are an experienced Paralegal firm and would be happy to answer any questions you may have. If we can’t help, we can point you into the direction of a Solicitor that can.