IoP backs Law Soc’s bid to create paralegal qualification

The Institute of Paralegals (IoP) has pledged its support for a new study commissioned by The Law Society into the provision of a qualification for paralegals.

Former senior civil servant within the Ministry of Justice Nick Smedley has been commissioned to undertake a study into whether the Law Society should develop or endorse qualifications for paralegals.

IoP’s chief executive James O’Connell said: “This a very positive step for the future of paralegals in this country. They are often undertrained and underrecognised and being recognised by such a big player as the Law Society is just the type of backing the profession needs.”

Bob Heslett, the former Law Society President who commissioned the study, said the review was particularly important because there were more paralegals in the market than ever before.

“Given the Milburn agenda, people are looking for recognised ways of entering the profession. We want to see whether there’s a demand for this among solicitors,” he added.

The news comes after the IoP launched one of the first-ever national training frameworks for paralegals last year in a bid to turn the “occupation into a profession (6 October 2009).

The new career path, called the Route to Qualification (RTQ), was set up by the institution to give paralegals a nationally recognised status of ‘qualified paralegal’ upon completion.