With the legal landscape of the UK changing towards a more globalised economy, it is perhaps a good idea to discuss law opportunities working abroad. In this article, we look at what it’s like to be an English paralegal working in China.
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When talking about an English paralegal, what I am referring to is my experience being a paralegal who has worked in English law firms, having a grounding in legal education but yet to qualify as a lawyer in England and Wales. This could also potentially include current undergraduate law students.
As an English paralegal you get the chance to work on a number of different cases, however the level of involvement and seriousness of the case is limited based on the individual’s own experiences. In general though I was expected to:
In contrast to my above experience in a British law firm, my Chinese regional law firm experience involved the following:
There were other differences to the ones listed above but those mostly related to life outside of the office. With that being said the experience was in some respects similar to working for a UK based legal charity rather than a city or high street law firm.
That being said, some of the top British law firms support their staff in ways that even the best Chinese law firms fail to do. These include:
Having worked now in two continents, I can say the experience is worth having. It was definitely easier to work in China than it is in the UK. The pace of life is more relaxed, the office environment is friendlier on average but on the other hand, there are fewer additional perks and the salaries are much lower.
Similar to the firm I was based in, many Chinese law firms practice internationally. This means that you are able to parlay your experience and education in the British legal system into a different role abroad. If you are struggling to find work that suits you in the UK, then it may be worth looking elsewhere abroad for other interesting opportunities.
Find out more about law work experience here:
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