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Time For a Career Change? Here’s How to Become a Paralegal

Written by: Evie Courtier & Amanda Hamilton
Published on: 28 Oct 2022


TotallyLegal; the UK’s leading job site for legal professionals, has teamed up with NALP; the National Association of Licensed Paralegals for the headlines on how to become a paralegal.  

The Financial Element:   

Qualifying as a Solicitor or Barrister requires dedicated time, and financial means. 

It costs around £27,000 to study for a law degree (full-time over three years), as well as an additional £15,000 to undertake the one-year professional course (either the Legal Practice Course (LPC) for solicitors or the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) for barristers.

Alongside the £42,000 and four-year full-time study, you will also require a two-year training contract with a solicitor or firm and a one-year pupillage with a senior barrister.  

Such high statistics may sound alarm bells to those with a yearning to work in law; however, the good news working as a Paralegal offers you all the benefits of working in law, for a fraction of the cost.  

As Amanda Hamilton, the Patron of the National Association of Licensed Paralegals (NALP), clarifies, ‘fully recognised paralegal qualifications are available online. They start at around £350 for a taster and can take you all the way through to Postgraduate.’  

The Timescale:  

The timeframe for becoming a Paralegal depends on how fast you can assimilate information. NALP offers a variety of qualifications, which Amanda explains below:  

  • If you have not studied since school, then the NALP Level 3 Award will give you the time and space to decide whether law is the path you wish to follow. It is two units of study, one mandatory and one optional, and will take no longer than four months to complete. 

  • If you wish to progress further, then you may take the progressive route to a Level 3 Certificate, followed by a Diploma and even further to a Level 4 Diploma. Dip your toe in the water and see how you get on. 

  • For those who have a clear intent on pursuing law, then we would recommend that you embark on the NALP fully-fledged Paralegal Qualification; for a twentieth of the cost of a university degree, you would become a qualified paralegal. 

The Options:  

Training as a Paralegal offers great flexibility, opportunities and variety. Since the withdrawal of Legal Aid, Paralegals are in more demand than ever. 

You can choose from a plethora of employer settings including working for a solicitor within a practice, for a local authority, or for a small or larger corporate company.  

With the guidance of NALP, establishing yourself with a NALP License to Practice, and professional indemnity insurance (PII), you could even set up your own business. 

Entering the legal sector has never been easier – aside from ‘Reserved Activities’, which are conducted purely by Solicitors and Barristers, including the automatic right to represent a client in court; litigation; conveyancing; and signing a grant of probate, Paralegals can conduct a full legal career. 


Keep up to date with further Paralegal insights, via the TotallyLegal blog. Discover our Latest Paralegal jobs today.