Offshore firm Ogier is piloting a scheme to use paralegal roles as a potential stepping-stone to qualifying as a lawyer.
For the first time this year the firm has recruited half a dozen paralegals on a 12-month fixed-term contract, with an eye to offering them training contracts should they prove suitable candidates. One of the paralegals has already been offered a place in the firm’s September 2014 intake of trainees.
Ogier is one of a handful of firms headquartered outside England and Wales to offer SRA-accredited training contracts. It runs trainee schemes in its Guernsey and Jersey offices and has a separate articled clerk scheme for the Cayman Islands.
Ogier’s HR director Sue Lincoln said the scheme gave the firm longer to test candidates’ skills and aptitude than just a standard interview. The inaugural intake of paralegals, who started work at the firm within the last few months, came from both the Channel Islands and mainland UK.
Lincoln added that Ogier was looking particularly at candidates who would otherwise not be considered for a training contract, such as students with a 2:2 who had a “credible” reason for not having attained a higher grade but had the potential to stand out.
The firm normally asks potential trainees to have a commendation or distinction in their legal practice course or graduate diploma in law, a 2:1 degree, and two A grades and a B or better at A level.
Lincoln added that the scheme was designed mainly to offer an alternative route to training contracts. “We don’t intend to create career paralegals just yet,” she said.