During his undergraduate degree at The University of Law (ULaw) Darren secured his job as a paralegal at Farillo, and he'll continue the role while completing his Legal Practice Course (LPC)
What degree did you study and where?
I have just completed my law undergraduate degree at ULaw in Bristol and I will be going on to study the LPC at ULaw campus in Moorgate with the support of the law firm I have secured a training contract with, Clyde & Co.
Alongside my studies, I am a paralegal with Farillio (through Flex Legal), a LexisNexis student associate, and a student ambassador at ULaw.
Why did you decide on a career in law?
From being a teen I had an avid interest in politics and law and so naturally I went on to do A-levels in both politics and law. Throughout college, law became the only subject I really enjoyed, and though it was hard work, it was the only subject I genuinely wanted to go to class for (I must thank my lecturer Pete for that who is one of those teachers you'll never forget).
It was here that I really started considering a law degree, but none of my family had gone into law and so I was still confused about a career in law until I got to university. After first year I decided that being a solicitor was the path for me and I was set on starting out my career in law.
How did you get your job role?
When looking for my paralegal role I was constantly told that part-time paralegal roles didn't really exist, especially ones that are flexible and remote. Despite reaching out to various connections I couldn't find a role that worked for me.
I didn't let this deter me and finally found Flex Legal who help pair you with paralegal roles that suit you and the companies they work with. After a few months the role with Farillio came into my inbox and I replied straight away with my interest to be on the shortlist. After a successful interview I secured the role.
What does your role as a paralegal entail?
My job with is to review the materials that the company provides to ensure it is up to date with the current law. This also incorporates monitoring legal updates and potential pending legislation to ensure Farillio provides material that is accurate and efficient.
As well as tracking legal updates, my role allows me to draft quick updates in the law, such as Covid-19 legislation, that are liable to quickly change. This is a great way to keep users up to date on the most recent changes and allows me to use my skills to summarise what can be complex topics into succinct updates.
What do you enjoy most about being a paralegal?
I enjoy the freedom. Firstly, I am the only paralegal at Farillio and so I get to work independently. While my manager will always support me if I come up against a legal problem it's generally down to me to use my initiative and research skills to find the answer.
In addition, my role is completely remote and the hours I work are down to me. This is really helpful as a busy student to be able to work the role around my studies and other commitments, and to have the trust of the company to allow me to do this.
What are the challenges?
I guess the counter argument to flexibility is ensuring I set my hours for that week and stick to them. This was more of an adjustment than a challenge from working in retail for four years.
The other challenge is of course balancing my paralegal role with my studies and other commitments. I think the key to this is planning your week out in advance and blocking out time for all your commitments so you can visualise that you do have the time. In addition, communication is so important. If I can't commit all my hours that week, or I need time away for exams, the company has been very understanding. Although, I have ensured that I have communicated with them earlier rather than later.
What three qualities are important for your role as a paralegal?
- Time management - especially in a part-time role as a student to ensure no one commitment suffers as a result of the other and to make sure you don't get overly stressed if you can't meet all your deadlines.
- Resilience - to ensure that if you come up against an obstacle you don't let it beat you and you know when to ask for help/time away from work.
- Adaptability - All legal roles will require you to think on your feet and most likely stay a little outside your comfort zone to ensure you grow in the role.
Are there any areas of law you want to focus on in the long term?
Prior to considering a career in law I had always wanted to be a pilot. Clyde & Co have one of the world's leading aviation practices and so I am certainly looking to complete a seat in aviation (finance and/or litigation) during my training contract with the firm. Beyond this I think I am just keeping an open mind.
In my final year of university, I really enjoyed the tax elements of my business law course, something I never expected and so I am just going to explore which areas of law the firm offers and hopefully find an area(s) that I would like to qualify into.
What advice would you give to anyone considering being a paralegal?
My advice would be to not give up and to value your skills and ability. The legal market is tough, even to secure a paralegal role so utilise your careers teams and connections and keep going, you will secure the role you want.
Find out more
- Learn more about the role of a paralegal.
- Gain an insight into the law sector.
- Check out the University of Law.