Paralegal Case Study – Farrer & Co
We caught up with Amy, a paralegal in the dispute resolution department at Farrer & Co, where she is working almost exclusively on preparations for an upcoming trial. In this exclusive interview, Amy openly discusses how she landed the role, her experiences of paralegal work so far and her top tips for success as a paralegal.
How did you secure a paralegal role at Farrer & Co?
I applied for the role through the firm’s website, searching on their vacancies page. I then had an interview with a partner and was successful – they let me know really soon after my interview too, so it was a very fast process.
What do you do on a daily basis in your role as a paralegal?
My day to day routine involves coming in to the office and sorting out any emails I have to tend to. I then get on with any tasks I have for upcoming deadlines, such as sorting out bundles and finding documents for trial.
Often we have team meetings to check on our progress in preparation for trial, sometimes meetings are with counsel (barristers) too. I have also been to court a few times which has been really interesting!
What are the best parts about being a paralegal?
As I am still at law school, studying on the BPTC part-time, I think this role is really useful in terms of learning what I will be doing when I qualify as a lawyer. It’s great to have real responsibilities in the office, and actually contribute to the case we are working on. It’s great that I have the opportunity to work with partners, associates trainees and even barristers, and I feel valued as a part of the team.
What are the most challenging parts to being a paralegal?
The most challenging part is probably making sure myself and the other paralegal on the case communicate to make sure we meet all our deadlines – we have a lot to do in preparation for the upcoming trial. Working as a part of a team is therefore crucial.
How has your role as a paralegal benefited your legal career/legal development?
As this has been my first full-time role in a law firm, I have learnt a lot more about how the law is applied and what lawyers actually have to do in real life. It’s been very different from what I learnt at university during my law degree. You have to be a very quick learner and know how to adapt to resolve problems as the case changes in different ways.
What skills do you need to be a successful paralegal?
I think it is really important to be organised, and make sure you know exactly what task you should be working on. It is also important to be confident and ask the team for help and support if there is something you are unsure of. I think being eager to learn more about how law is applied in the real world, rather than in theory, is important too.
What are your top 5 tips for anyone applying for and undertaking paralegal roles?
- Make sure you make your application and cover letter relevant to the role and the firm.
- Be prepared to work over time and meet lots of deadlines, you will be working under pressure!
- Try to familiarise yourself with the practice area you will be working in and if you are working on a specific case, research around this.
- If you have secured a training contract or hope to, use your experience to learn about what you will be doing as a trainee solicitor!
- Work as part of your team, and do not be scared to ask questions. The people you are working with now might cross paths with you in your future career too.