Today's Family Lawyer Podcast

Paralegals – where would we be without them?

In this latest episode of the Today’s Family Lawyer podcast host David Opie is joined by National Association of Licensed Paralegal’s (NALP) former CEO and now Patron Amanda Hamilton

Starting out running paralegal training programmes in the 90’s, at a time when the term “paralegal” was starting to be used more regularly in the UK following its migration from America, Amanda took on the role as CEO of NALP in the mid 2000’s.

NALP’s objective is to champion the role of the paralegal and better prepare them for the world of legal, with a range of qualification available for members. It has also worked to shape the role of the paralegal in the UK, moving from it being a stepping stone for law graduates, to being a recognised profession in its own right, with an expertise and skillset to match.

Amanda discusses how the challenges presented by the legal aid reforms since 2013 has paved the way for paralegals to play their role in providing access to justice for many people who simply can’t afford alternative legal representation.

And they can play an increasingly important role in many law firms. Amanda calls on firms to take a more diverse view of who can be a paralegal (it’s not just a law graduate looking for their first role), and the positive role they can play in the firm (ensuring the do not cross the line into reserved activities.)

For Amanda there is a commercial opportunity for firms as well where paralegal can undertake matters traditionally done by solicitors, and continue to bill at a reasonable rate, creating the opportunity for solicitors and partners to take on more complex and lucrative work.

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