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How the Paralegal Sector can help PI law firms post Covid-19 - Amanda Hamilton, NALP

25/08/20. Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown has affected our personal lives in many ways. Professionally, it has also forced many PI law firms into hardship.

When the lockdown is finally fully lifted, and it will lift eventually, law firms including PI will be looking to get back into business and onto an even keel as swiftly as possible. However, they will also probably be looking to cut costs in order to do so.

This is where outsourcing to a local licenced paralegal may be invaluable. NALP Licenced paralegals specialise in one or two legal areas and will not be as costly to employ on a contractual basis as a qualified solicitor. As many have their own paralegal practice, it’s possible either to outsource or sub-contract the work to them, while keeping the management (and profits) in-house.

Some paralegals may specialise in PI, in which case they are a great fit for you but even if they do not, there is a good chance that you could pass on some of the general legal legwork. This means you can process clients more quickly, allowing you to take on more cases and, therefore, improving your income overall. Also, if your costs are lowered by subcontracting a chunk of your workloads to a paralegal, it could allow you to take on slightly riskier clients or clients where the end pay-out and, therefore, your firm’s fee, is potentially smaller.

Many paralegals may have a very good understanding of the civil court process, even if they do not undertake PI work per se. They may specialise in small claims, some of which may be related to personal injury actions on a small scale. Having such knowledge and utilising their services will cut your firms’ costs dramatically.

Also, why not take on work that you may not have thought about before? By sub-contracting to a paralegal that specialises in say, will writing or probate practice, or matrimonial matters, you could have a steady income to help balance your finances. Using the services of a paralegal is an adaptable method of maintaining the viability of your business.

As a law firm, if you’re looking to use the services of a paralegal there are a few things to look out for:

1) Are they a member of a professional body such as NALP (National Association of Licenced Paralegals) or registered with the PPR (Professional Paralegal Register)?

2) Do they have either a NALP Licence to Practise or a PPR Practising Certificate, and professional indemnity insurance (PII)? The latter is not necessary if you are employing them in-house staff within your practice.

3) It is important to check the training and qualifications of such paralegals which will be dependent on the type of work you require them to do. So, entry level (basic work and assistance) may only require a Level 3 qualification (such as the NALP Level 3 Certificate or Diploma.) Alternatively, work that requires a level of expertise and skill may require an applicant to have either a minimum Level 4 (such as the NALP Level Diploma) or a law degree or above.

4) Ensure that the activity you need help with is something that a Paralegal is allowed to deal with. Essentially, Paralegals can do almost everything a solicitor can do, but certain activities are reserved and cannot be performed by a paralegal.

There is no doubt that paralegals can play a big part in getting the legal sector back on its feet quickly and helping to ensure it’s in a position where they can thrive once more.

To find a paralegal with the qualifications and experience your practice requires visit:

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.


Twitter: @NALP_UK


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