How to start a career as a Paralegal

20th July 2021

A career as a Paralegal can be an interesting pathway to take. You’ll be involved in a range of legal cases and your work will be varied and exciting. Although this career can be busy and challenging, it can also be rewarding. Paralegals provide essential support during legal proceedings by preparing legal documents, getting materials ready for court or organising transcripts of interviews or witness statements.

Paralegals perform a range of administrative tasks and provide support to lawyers and legal professionals at their workplace. This may involve meeting with clients, conducting research relevant to a client’s legal case or interviewing people before court proceedings. You might have to manage correspondence, handle client enquiries or schedule meetings. Paralegals must also keep track of dates of court proceedings and ensure clients are prepared for court sessions.

Working as a Paralegal requires strong organisational skills. You’ll usually be handling multiple clients at one time so you’ll need to be able to multitask. It’s important you can manage your time and complete your work before deadlines. You may have to prioritise your daily tasks and ensure they are completed accurately.

Paralegals need to have excellent attention to detail and good observational skills. Communication skills are crucial and you’ll need to be able to liaise with clients and legal professionals of all backgrounds. A Paralegal should have good administrative skills and be able to work as part of a team. You’ll need a strong understanding of the legal system and may have to work late hours when required.

If a career as a Paralegal interests you, the following courses can help you get started:

Certificate IV in Legal Services
A Certificate IV in Legal Services is a great way to get started in the legal industry. You’ll develop the skills to take on an administrative role at a legal office, law firm or courthouse. This course will improve your knowledge of the Australian legal system and give you skills to complete tasks such as preparing legal documents. You’ll cover topics such as carrying out legal research, communicating in a legal environment and maintaining filing systems.

Diploma of Paralegal Services
A Diploma of Paralegal Services will give you the skills to support legal colleagues in a range of settings. You’ll learn to write complex legal documents and research legal issues for your workplace. You’ll develop your understanding of the Australia legal system and be able to apply it to your work. This course also allows you to specialise in an area of interest such as contract law, criminal law, family law, property law, litigation and evidence or court procedures.

Diploma of Crime and Justice Studies
A Diploma of Crime and Justice Studies can prepare you to work in a range of legal settings. Whether you’d like to work for a law firm, at a courthouse or for a legal organisation such as corrective services, this course can give you the skills and knowledge you need. You’ll learn to conduct interviews, carry out investigations and prepare legal documents. This course covers topics including criminal law, social justice issues and crime and victimology.

Getting started

If you’re interested in studying to become a Paralegal, make sure you find out all relevant information before you choose a course provider. Providers often vary in the way they deliver their courses and it’s important you find the course that best suits your individual needs. Gather information on course duration, costs, any prerequisites and the content the course will cover. Once you have all the details you can compare course providers and find the right fit for you.

Written by Jodie Magrath
Jodie Magrath
Jodie is a freelance writer with a background in communication and journalism. She’s spent almost 20 years working in roles such as Special Projects Writer and Publications Officer.

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