Case study

Paralegal — Sophie Holloway

Sophie is currently completing her training to become a qualified solicitor and has found that criminal law is where her interests lie

How did you get your job?

I was lucky enough to be able to do a week's work experience with Richard Nelson LLP during my degree, and loved every minute of it.

When I found out that they were looking for a paralegal I sent in my CV straight away.

How relevant is your degree to your job?

The research and drafting skills that I learnt while studying my law degree are definitely those that I use the most in my role.

However, I feel that completing the Legal Practise Course has been more beneficial to my job as I gained practical skills such as client interviewing.

What are your main work activities?

The majority of my work consists of briefing counsel, attending conferences, drafting witness statements, taking client instructions and attending court hearings.

However, my day could also consist of researching the law ready for a case or a day solely dedicated to admin tasks.

I have recently started managing the social media accounts for the firm and so keeping those up to date has become part of my daily routine.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

I started my role working with the civil litigation department, and then my role developed into working with the criminal team. Since working with them, I've gone from undertaking small tasks to dealing with clients face-to-face and have also become more involved in the legal aid billing.

My ambition at the moment is to gain experience in order to get a training contract and qualify.

What do you enjoy about your job?

The most exciting part of my job is being at court for a trial as you never know which way the case is going to go.

I enjoy the teamwork that is involved in preparing for a case and discussing the law involved.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

The fact that I'm still learning is a challenge. The firm deals with quite complex areas of criminal law and so it would be great if I already had years of experience like the solicitors I work with, but I do really enjoy learning from them.

The role also means dealing with people in difficult and emotional situations and so it can be challenging to extract from them the information that is relevant to the case.

Any words of advice for someone who wants to get into this job?

I'm not the first person to say that it is very difficult to obtain a training contract. But I think that one of the main advantages is having experience of working in law and I would recommend trying out more than one area so that you know which suits you best.

I worked in conveyancing before realising that it was criminal law that I enjoyed the most and where I wanted to be.

Once you get a job in the law, you need to be willing to do all types of tasks and be flexible. One day I can be travelling to London for a court hearing and the next I could be photocopying case papers all day.

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