Paralegal interviews Watch

James.Carnell
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Anyone else here have experience of being a paralegal or having sat these interviews?

I have been to quite a few now, I have some prior legal and blue-chip commercial experience but it's been very competitive. It means nothing when they have equally good candidates (even if you have achieved impressive things) all going for the same roles. Eg. For one role I interviewed for there were over 600 applicants, 44 were interviewed, 18 were given an offer. So, 2% acceptance rate and about 7% interview rate.

I often get an interview based on the strength of my application, but the interview for me is the stumbling block. I have not come up with an effective method of being successful more often than not. I have sat quite a few interviews by now.

How many interviews do people usually sit before getting a place? I have heard some horror stories, like 30 interviews before getting a place. It was always told to us in law school that getting a paralegal gig was relatively easy, not been my experience I'm afraid.


The way the interview usually goes is:

1. Firm fit, why the firm (pretty easy to answer if you have done your research)

2. Skills/work history (with skills being a kill driver as to why they reject you over the other person). Now, if the other person being interviewed has more experience one is going to have to sell this part quite hard, i.e. being able to exceed expectations of the job description via efficiencies or whatever metric. For example, some departments really value time efficiency and pride themselves on that.

3. You ask questions. I have learnt that it is better to always ask questions at the end.


Last point, sometimes you know within the first five seconds whether the guy on the other side of the table just does not like the look of you and is disengaged. I have never got a job offer before from someone that has reacted that way within the first few seconds.

Sometimes, it is just down to luck on which interviewer you get, and that really goes for all level of jobs you interview for. So for all that money spent on buying train tickets... I advise buying a railcard.
Last edited by James.Carnell; 4 weeks ago
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harrysbar
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(Original post by James.Carnell)
Anyone else here have experience of being a paralegal or having sat these interviews?

I have been to quite a few now, I have some prior legal and blue-chip commercial experience but it's been very competitive. It means nothing when they have equally good candidates (even if you have achieved impressive things) all going for the same roles. Eg. For one role I interviewed for there were over 600 applicants, 44 were interviewed, 18 were given an offer. So, 2% acceptance rate and about 7% interview rate.

I often get an interview based on the strength of my application, but the interview for me is the stumbling block. I have not come up with an effective method of being successful more often than not. I have sat quite a few interviews by now.

How many interviews do people usually sit before getting a place? I have heard some horror stories, like 30 interviews before getting a place. It was always told to us in law school that getting a paralegal gig was relatively easy, not been my experience I'm afraid.


The way the interview usually goes is:

1. Firm fit, why the firm (pretty easy to answer if you have done your research)

2. Skills/work history (with skills being a kill driver as to why they reject you over the other person). Now, if the other person being interviewed has more experience one is going to have to sell this part quite hard, i.e. being able to exceed expectations of the job description via efficiencies or whatever metric. For example, some departments really value time efficiency and pride themselves on that.

3. You ask questions. I have learnt that it is better to always ask questions at the end.


Last point, sometimes you know within the first five seconds whether the guy on the other side of the table just does not like the look of you and is disengaged. I have never got a job offer before from someone that has reacted that way within the first few seconds.

Sometimes, it is just down to luck on which interviewer you get, and that really goes for all level of jobs you interview for. So for all that money spent on buying train tickets... I advise buying a railcard.
My daughter gave up applying for Training contracts after doing her GDL at the University of Law as the process was so competitive, but some of her friends did the LPC and yes, really struggled to get paralegal jobs, let alone tranining contracts. The few that got paralegal jobs then got stuck in them for years as there are so few TCs...law is a brutally competitive career and so many lies are told about it. Law schools should be ashamed of themselves for telling students that it's relatively easy to get paralegal jobs, and Unis should be ashamed for recruiting so many people onto law degrees that have almost no chance of getting a TC due to poor academics
Last edited by harrysbar; 4 weeks ago
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James.Carnell
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(Original post by harrysbar)
My daughter gave up applying for Training contracts after doing her GDL at the University of Law as the process was so competitive, but some of her friends did the LPC and yes, really struggled to get paralegal jobs, let alone tranining contracts. The few that got paralegal jobs then got stuck in them for years as there are so few TCs...law is a brutally competitive career and so many lies are told about it. Law schools should be ashamed of themselves for telling students that it's relatively easy to get paralegal jobs, and Unis should be ashamed for recruiting so many people onto law degrees that have almost no chance of getting a TC due to poor academics
I was very disillusioned after my degree in 2013. I am not going to lie, I suffered from depression during and after my studies and when I did not have a structure to my daily life my career suffered (ie the times when I have been unemployed).
I wasn't in control of myself, I alienated people, I lost motivation to work or bring myself out of bed during day time. The worst thing was I could not accept I had a mental illness because I just resigned myself to having no direction.

I would not invest £12,000 on an LPC without assurance of a training contract at the end. I have thought about other sectors to go into and the money I saved up from my jobs and side income would be useful. For example, I have thought about learning how to drive a forklift truck, or going into the oil sector as a bolting technician with bolting certs. I have started building networks into these areas.

Yes, it is also easy to get put into a box as a paralegal. Where firms are unwilling to take a risk on you if you have not done enough high calibre work up to the point of the training contract. Hence why if you are offered high calibre commercial work in another field you should take it.
Because in reality, the work in a paralegal role is usually relatively menial, a lot of proofreading, fact checking, admin, but that is also the job that solicitors do so it's about whether you want to do that permanently. You should not go into such roles unless you are willing to read zillions of pages checking for a misplaced comma or typo.

I think we need to invest more into careers services across the whole education system. If you don't have insider information or contacts who know the reality of the situation, then you are going to be missing a lot of information from which to make the best decisions.
Last edited by James.Carnell; 4 weeks ago
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harrysbar
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(Original post by James.Carnell)
I would not invest £12,000 on an LPC without assurance of a training contract at the end. I have thought about other sectors to go into and the money I saved up from my jobs and side income would be useful. For example, I have thought about learning how to drive a forklift truck, or going into the oil sector as a bolting technician with bolting certs. I have started building networks into these areas.

I think we need to invest more into careers services across the whole education system. If you don't have insider information or contacts who know the reality of the situation, then you are going to be missing a lot of information from which to make the best decisions.
So agree with you - 100%
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colours1423
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Have you done the LPC? A lot of firms require this before letting you paralegal. Maybe try applying for high street firms first, get that experience, and then go on to bigger firms?

Have you gotten feedback from your interviews? What do you think is the reason you're not getting the role?

I am paralegaling now and I did not have much legal experience before getting the job. I think I applied to around 40 different positions (paralegal/ law related), interviewed for 3 and got 3 offers, all took me around 3 months. It really also depends on where in the UK you are applying for, I assume London will be a lot harder than cities like Leeds/Manchester.
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