Paralegal to Solicitor without a Training Contract
So on the 20th April the Law Society Gazette published an article about a paralegal that has become the first to qualify as a solicitor via a somewhat alternative route, so I thought I would share this with you.
Robert Houchill, who was a senior paralegal at Bates Wells Braithwaite, applied to the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) for qualification (he provided enough evidence to show that he had achieved same standards as any person who had qualified via the traditional route of a training contract.
So is this a sign of things to come for the future?
Robert spent four and a half years as a paralegal and has become the first new entrant to the profession as part of the ‘SRA’s Training for Tomorrow’ programme.
The Programme has a number of aims, one of which is that it wants to bring more flexibility into the routes for qualification as a solicitor.
This is going to have mixed opinions as from what I have read most people are still adamant that it should only be via a Training Contract (but these are extremely hard to get), but the SRA require a considerable amount of evidence in order to become a solicitor via this alternative route.
Whilst Robert spent four and a half years as a paralegal, there is no minimum period individuals must have worked in the legal environment for to be able to try and qualify this way, but you have to be able to prove that you have reached the same standards which are covered by the academic and vocational stages.
At the moment 28 other paralegals have applied for this qualification and many awaiting decisions.
So is this the future for when people cannot get Training Contracts but have worked hard and built up a career in which they run their own case load and are efficient and effective lawyers?
It will be interesting to see where this goes over the com in years..