I want to know
where they work
What do they do?
Where do they work?
What do they earn?
How many are there?
What do I need to be one?
What’s the training?
How do I apply?
Paralegals and IP administrators provide administrative back-up to the lawyers, but who provides it to the paralegals? The answer is the legal secretaries and paralegal assistants who do all sorts of jobs such as filing and routine tasks, managing emails and post, keeping records up to date and reminding paralegals and lawyers of what needs to be done and by when.
A paralegal assistant carries a lot of responsibility for the smooth running of the office, so you need to be able to manage your time effectively, hit deadlines every time and have a laser-eyed focus on detail. The rest of the team will look to you to be helping them before they’ve even thought of the help they need. This takes the right attitude and enthusiasm to learn.
The world of IP depends heavily on office work, so office support staff might be in any organisation dealing in IP: a small or large law firm, a government department, the legal division of a multinational company.
Apart from 5 GCSEs (or equivalent), you may not need formal qualifications to become a paralegal assistant, but you will need to be able to show you can handle a busy and professional working environment where attention to detail is critical. You will need to be constantly on the lookout for ways to be useful and you need to be adaptable to the changing demands of each day.
Did you know?
The song ‘White Christmas’ was written by Irving Berlin in 1942. It is thought to be the world’s most valuable music copyright.
Training is mostly done on the job (by a paralegal), but after 6 months to a year, you can take CIPA’s patent administrator’s course, which will help you rise up to become a paralegal yourself and beyond.
You learn the work from the ground up, giving you a truly solid understanding of the profession.
A successful paralegal assistant has to juggle many things and satisfy the various ways that different clients and lawyers like things done.
Look out for vacancies on job websites in the local press or elsewhere or try approaching law firms to ask about vacancies and/or work experience.