Working as a paralegal? Good idea or not?

What’s it like to work as a paralegal and study part-time? More and more people are taking this route to qualifying and often find that their work experience supports their studies. I asked Lydia Elvin a recent Warwick law graduate doing just this at Midlands’s solicitors Lodders how she’s finding it.

Being a Paralegal

law-reports300“At Lodders, being a paralegal means that you’re treated like a trainee, it’s just that you don’t swap seats every six months! The variety and calibre of work is excellent. I’ve only recently started but already I’ve assisted on many different high value transactions. I’ve completed bespoke research tasks, drafted tailored terms and conditions for business transactions and drafted shareholder agreements. My team try to give me as much exposure to different work as possible, and the help and support I’ve received so far has been invaluable. I’ve been made to feel so welcome at the firm and I am still excited about coming into work each day. How great is that!

Studying the LPC part-time

studying-at-night300Studying the LPC part-time and working full-time is difficult and certainly should not be a decision taken lightly! I have evening classes twice a week at either 6-8pm or 6-9.15pm and there’s lots of preparation. Generally, it takes approximately 8 hours to prepare for each class per week, (that’s assuming you complete all the materials set and do the tasks in a comprehensive manner), however it’s important to keep in mind that this workload does vary from week to week.

It is definitely feasible to study alongside full-time work providing your employer is willing to support you. Lodders are very supportive of my decision to work and study in this way, and they also allow me to leave work early on class days so that I can travel from Stratford-upon-Avon to Birmingham.

Why study the LPC part-time?

Laptop screen covered by group of yellow adhesive notesLodders are fully funding my LPC which is a huge financial weight off my shoulders. I made the decision to study the LPC part-time, allowing me to gain invaluable “hands on” experience as a paralegal whilst I progress through my professional qualifications. I’ll begin my training contract with the firm in 2018 by which time the LPC will be completed.

I enjoy working at Lodders and I’m so impressed with the attitude of the firm – there is a nice culture of wanting to develop and support younger staff, and there are lots of good opportunities to progress. Working at the firm is rewarding and I feel I made the right decision to continue my studies alongside my work.

What advice would I give?

Personally, I would advise you not to disregard regional firms when considering where to complete your training contract. Despite what is commonly believed, many do fund the LPC.

Finally, based on my experience at Lodders, it’s possible to get the LPC funded and to have the flexibility to study in a way that suits you, whilst giving you a responsible and exciting job. If you’re at Warwick come along on Friday to hear me and a Lodders partner telling you more about all this.

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