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Working as a Paralegal

Can BCL Graduates get me a training contract?

In general, most firms deal with their graduate recruitment (training contract applications) separately to their fee earner recruitment. With paralegal positions, firms expect to interview candidates wishing to join them for that particular role. And, if there are training contracts available, a percentage will be offered to their existing non-qualified employees (plus some external applicants) if they are considered to be strong performers, team players and are good in front of clients. Paralegals should expect to have to prove themselves for at least 12 months before being considered for a training contract.

What salary can I expect as a Paralegal?

Of course, salary depends on experience, but as a rough guide:

  • Starting salary without experience - from £12,000

  • 6 – 12 months' experience -  £14,000 - £16,000

  • 12 months' plus experience - from £16,000

  • 2 years' plus experience - from £18,000

  • 3 years' plus experience - from £20,000

  • 5 years' plus experience - from £25,000

  • 7 years' plus experience - from £35,000

Can I apply for claimant jobs when I only have defendant paralegal experience (and vice versa)?

You’ll be pleased to learn that firms are happy to take candidates from either background if they have technical experience within that particular area of law.

Can I apply for crime and family jobs if I only have personal injury experience?

As a rule, firms only wish to see applications from those with experience in the specific area of law that they are recruiting for. For instance, if there’s a family paralegal vacancy, candidates without specific family experience will be up against tough competition from a wide range of candidates with 12 months' to 3 years' family experience.

Do I need experience in litigation to become a fee earner?

Not necessarily. Some roles require you to settle claims outside of court proceedings, so do not require litigation experience. There are certain roles which do require post litigation experience though.

Does my voluntary Citizens Advice Bureau experience count?

Sorry, although experienced gained at the CAB is useful in building customer relationship skills, it’s not counted as relevant legal experience to work in private practice. Work experience has to be gained either at a law firm, insurance company, costs companies or within any in-house legal teams.

Do I need to have done the LPC to work as a Paralegal?

Although many law firms do prefer paralegals to have completed the LPC as it provides them with useful transferable skills, further legal qualifications such as this aren’t needed for all roles.

What’s the difference between a claims handler, paralegal and fee earner?

They’re most often one and the same thing, so these terms are interchangeable. You’ll find most non-qualified people at law firms who are expected to handle cases are called paralegals. Roles that involve working on matters that generate legal fees for the firm tend to be called fee earners (non-qualified or qualified). Roles that involve the handling of claims at the early stages, pre litigation or that never enter into litigation sometimes fall under the claims handler category.

What is a chartered legal executive?

A chartered legal executive is simply another form of qualified lawyer. Although, strictly speaking, the term should only be used by Fellows of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (Fellow of CILEx), who have completed one of the prescribed routes to qualification.

Legal executives, as qualified lawyers regulated by a professional body, have rights to partnerships in law firms and to judicial appointment. The major difference between solicitors and chartered legal executives is that the training to become a solicitor is broader than the training route to become a legal executive. Legal executives study to the same level as solicitors but, overall, they study fewer subjects. For more information please visit

If you have 6 months or more experience as a legal executive or paralegal please visit for all the latest vacancies.