Over the last 12 months, the Paralegal market has remained stable with clients looking to either build out their Paralegal team or make their first Paralegal hire. Paralegals are a great addition or alternative hire to a Legal Counsel due to their versatility, expert knowledge, flexibility, and lower costs.
Benefits of Hiring a Paralegal:
Expertise – Paralegals tend to specialise in an area of law allowing independent and autonomous working. Most of the talent pool that are looking for in-house roles specialise in areas such as corporate, commercial, employment, litigation and real estate.
Timesaving – tasks can be delegated to Paralegals which allows time for lawyers in the team to focus on more complex legal matters.
Flexibility – Paralegals can be hired on a permanent, FTC or day-rate basis.
Cost Effective – as junior lawyer salaries continue to rise, hiring a paralegal allows businesses to access specialist knowledge at a lower rate.
3 Top Tips for Hiring a Paralegal:
- Clearly define the role – ensure that the Paralegal is aware of all tasks involved in the role and that the job description clearly outlines this
2. Progression – Paralegals are always looking for roles that can offer them the best career growth and development. The most attractive roles on the market are the positions that can offer a training contract or equivalent means to qualification. Therefore, if the business is likely to be able to offer this, be sure to clearly outline the career progression available during the interview process
3. Assess technical skills – it is a good idea to conduct a technical test during the interview process to better assess suitability for the position
Examples of responsibilities:
Junior Paralegals – assisting with legal research, drafting legal documents, organising case files, scheduling meetings, liaising with clients and performing administrative tasks.
Mid-level Paralegals – conducting legal research, drafting legal documents, assisting with discovery, managing and maintaining case files, reviewing contracts, assisting with contract negotiations and liaising with stakeholders.
Senior/Career Paralegals – managing cases, conducting legal research, drafting legal documents and contracts, reviewing contracts, assisting with the negotiation of contracts and agreements, contract management and liaising with stakeholders.
Current trends in the market:
Qualifying – since the introduction of the SQE route to qualification, we are seeing more Paralegals looking for short-term contracts to help them build their experience and for businesses who are willing to support them financially towards the completion of their SQE. Roles that offer support and sponsorship for the SQE route or a training contract are more attractive.
Career Paralegals – due to alternative means of qualifying, we are seeing fewer Career Paralegals. Many of this group are now sponsoring themselves through the SQE route to qualification. This has slowed down senior/career Paralegal movement due to them awaiting qualification and moving into an NQ position and made finding this experienced talent much more difficult.
Greater need for Paralegals – this is due to the ever-changing laws and regulations and businesses need increased support to stay on top of workloads.
Companies with tighter budgets hiring Paralegals for cost-saving purposes – as recruitment budgets tighten due to the economic climate, clients are hiring Paralegals as an alternative to junior-mid level Legal Counsels.
Increase in demand for Paralegals with technical skills – Paralegals who are more proficient with legal software, managing databases and handling e-discovery are becoming increasingly valuable.
For further information, to discuss your career or hiring opportunities, do not hesitate to contact Chanice Voges.