Beleaguered law students face paralegal KO

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  • It's not surprising that paralegals are taking the brunt of fee-earner redundancies in firms where they are seen as support staff. This is likely to change in the next seven or so years when the number of paralegal fee-earners in the profession outstrips the number of solicitors.

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  • I am sure the paralegal numbers at CC will be reduced given that they intend to use indian paralegals going forward. Let's hope that CC treats the indian paralegals with some respect and doesn't use and abuse them then bully them out of the firm - which CC is very good at.

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  • How does this make sense? Someone who has been deferred will be with the firm for a year or a few months at best, this means that time and money is spent training somoeone who isn't going to stay. Surely it would make more sense to recruit someone who is actually going to stay with the firm and even progress to a training contract.

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  • Once again recruitment agencies have shown that they are, quite clearly, idiots who know nothing of recruitment. A candidate who has been deferred will be of no use to a firm as they're not going to stay long enough to build up any decent experience and have no commitment to the firm other than a year at maximum.

    Of course let's not forget that 'being a paralegal is detrimental to your career prospects'.

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  • The truth is that a paralegal leaving the firm within a year is likely to be seen as a benefit rather than a detriment to most legal firms. Law firms don't want paralegals acquiring employment rights.

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  • I have the greatest sympathy for those who have done the LPC and require a paralegal postion in order to gain experience,.However one might question why they have not secured a training contract by the time they have finished their LPC.
    Those who have been deferred obviously have the qualities that law firms are looking for, they have proven their merit (mostly without working as a paralegal). I appreciate that competition is intensely tough, but those graduating from the LPC this year should have been applying for graduate roles two years ago, before the job cuts etc. I mean no disrespect to any of the great candidates out there finishing the LPC without a tc, but if you haven't acquired a tc by now and are reliant upon gaining experience as a paralegal to get one, perhaps it is worth asking why you have not been able to get a tc thus far.

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  • This trend only reflects the junior end of the market when candidates have limited experience. A training contract can be a differentiating factor when employers are faced with a barrage of CVs and it is inevitable that employers will rely on these factors in such a challenging economy.

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  • Whilst the news is very disturbing and everyone can pour scorn on the recruitment agencies, they are only representing their clients - the law firms. HR from law firms say what they want and the recruitment agencies abide by it. The recruitment agencies do not look out for candidates!
    If you finish the LPC without a training contract, you do need paralegal work to gain experience and prove your worth. That's how I secured my training contract.
    I see there's no response from BPP or College of Law who are supposed to help candidates who have not secured training contracts.

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  • Most people finishing the LPC don't have training contracts already and many candidates can (gasp) improve over time and so are more attractive prospects after finishing the LPC.
    I know a huge number of people who would have made average candidates two years ago but are not much better due to having gained further qualifications and experience which has improved their ability substantially.
    Not everyone has the money to 'prove their merit' by looking after a horse/backpacking around the world/running from one end of Uganda to the other, which seem to be the way that many trainees prove their supposed worth. That means that a paralegal position can be a great opportunity for someone to show their actual legal ability and make them more marketable.

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  • In response to:
    Anonymous | 26-May-2009 5:08 pm
    I agree this is a fair comment.
    However you should first of all remind yourself of the numbers involved. We are talking 3,000-4,000 applicants for 30 TCs sometimes in London.
    The competition isn't fierce: it's insane.
    Some students (like myself) studied for their undergraduate degree, full time GDL + LPC struggling with constraints of a job, perhaps living (like myself) in expensive London with the job and/or loan for only financial support, etc.
    These people, despite fine time management, simply haven't got as much time and/or peace of mind as others who, still living with their parents in say Hampstead, have got nothing to worry about but their TC applications.
    These people (like myself) have therefore not had the same amount of time to invest in the research, filtering, and application process - let alone having extracurricular activities and or sports to impress firms with.
    They may chose to apply to many firms paying superficial attention to their words, or they may, (again, like myself) chose a smaller sample of firms and make the best applications possible. But they do not -unless by making sleep optional- end up with the same odds of getting a TC.
    Although I do not disagree with your comment in itself, I think it is good to be reminded that students supporting themselves do not only end up with slimmer chances: they prove everyday that they have as much -if not more-motivation, stamina and flexibility as anyone who does have a TC on time.
    Talent and employability are not the only variables! Time is always a huge factor.

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