Despite the recent relaxation of a few lockdown measures, many of us are still working from home. If this applies to you, and you are a paralegal, or a wannabe paralegal, what can you do to tackle the boredom that you may well be fighting off?
What makes an individual interested in studying law?
What makes an individual study law? It is not part of the National Curriculum in schools, and yet, Law may well affect most of us in one way or another as we get older. It could be a vocation and career pathway straight from school, or, and this is more likely, interest has been aroused because of some experience occurring later in life. Many people come to study law at a mature age because they have discovered to their dismay, that they don’t have much knowledge of the law or legal procedures. Such matters do not tend to affect you until they do. Whether this is experiencing a divorce, buying and selling property, or having to defend yourself if another individual makes a claim against you.
It’s a fact that none of us will live out our lives without being involved in some legal matter or another at some point in time. Why not be prepared? Know your legal rights. Remember: forewarned is forearmed.
Studying: Training Programmes v Qualifications?
So you have decided to enrol for a course even if it is only to keep your mind active? There are a number of different training programmes and qualifications out there that are available as home study or distance learning or have a mixture of learning techniques, commonly known as ‘blended learning’. A qualification will only be relevant if you wish to take on something with a bit more of a commitment. Some are more costly than others but it really depends where you want to go with it, and what you already have under your belt.
For example, if you are already a qualified paralegal (maybe graduating with a NALP Level 4 Diploma) and wish to extend your knowledge, then why not undertake a single unit subject, that was not included on your Level 4, such as Employment or Consumer Law, or even Business Structures.
Alternatively, if you have been working within a legal environment but have no formal training what about a level 3 Award which is two units of study, to test the waters?
If you are a legal secretary looking to consolidate your experience and legal secretarial training and wish to give yourself a chance to enhance your career prospects, then have you thought of enrolling for a full paralegal qualification such as either the Level 3 Diploma in Paralegal Practice or the Level 4 Diploma in Paralegal Studies?
If you are edging towards studying law and have never done so before, even if you haven’t studied since school, there is a home study course for you.
Single Unit Courses
These cover a wide range of legal subject areas and at various levels. However, if you are not interested in spending a lot of time and your budget is tight, and you have an interest in a particular area of law or practice, then this may be the answer. You can study academic law subject areas or procedural law and practice areas as single units. The cost ranges from £250 – £475 depending on which Level you choose.
Looking for a CPD Accredited Course?
If you have to gain units of CPD for work or to renew your professional membership, then what about a Practical Paralegal Skills Course or Professional Legal Skills in Drafting or Negotiating? The former will gain you 12 hours CPD and the latter courses 6 units of CPD each.
If cost is a factor
If cost is a definite factor in your decision to enrol for a course then consider this: the courses mentioned above do not cost the earth. For example the Level 3 Award (a fully recognised qualification) is £450. The CPD accredited courses range from £85 – £250.
Enrolling for a full, nationally recognised qualification, such as the NALP Level 4 Diploma in Paralegal Studies may set you back a bit more (£1380) but it is a qualification, after all. Finally, if you already have an English Law Degree but cannot face the cost or time training to be a solicitor or barrister, then why not consider the Level 7 Diploma in Paralegal Practice (£1480).
More details can be found on the NALP website.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amanda Hamilton is Chief Executive of the National Association of Licenced Paralegals (NALP), a non-profit Membership Body and the only Paralegal body that is recognised as an awarding organisation by Ofqual (the regulator of qualifications in England). Through its Centres, accredited recognised professional paralegal qualifications are offered for a career as a paralegal professional.