While lawyers and solicitors tend to make up the bulk of a law firm’s general workforce, firms are not exclusively comprised of lawyers and solicitors. This means there are plenty of opportunities for non-lawyers who wish to pursue a career in the legal sector.
The diverse nature of the work carried out by various law firms and their complex operational needs mean there are lots of different roles that need to be filled in a successful firm.
No matter what sort of skills you have, and how encyclopaedic (or otherwise!) your understanding of the law, a job in a law firm may be perfect for you. Here’s a closer look at some of the top law firm jobs non-lawyers can pursue.
While the work that paralegals and lawyers carry out frequently crosses over, the two jobs are distinct from one another. A paralegal is legally trained and educated to perform specific legal tasks, but they are not a qualified lawyer/solicitor.
It is possible that a paralegal will carry out very similar jobs to colleagues who are lawyers, but they are certain restrictions. Paralegals cannot complete activities which are commonly referred to as ‘Reserved Activities’. This could include providing representation for clients in court or taking responsibility for a conveyancing transaction.
Many people use the position of a paralegal as a stepping stone, with the intention of eventually becoming a qualified lawyer/solicitor, but this is by no means an obligation.
When two parties are involved in a legal dispute (such as a couple who intend to divorce), they will usually be advised to carry out mediation to help sort out their differences and make suitable arrangements. To facilitate mediation, the parties will work with a neutral third-party – a mediator.
While some lawyers are also qualified mediators, many law firms employ dedicated mediators. It’s possible to become a specialist mediator in a number of different areas – including family and commercial law.
For a law firm to be successful, it needs to run like a well-oiled machine. The sheer amount of administrative work that is carried out on a daily basis at any law firm can be hard to keep track of, especially when lawyers have mounting caseloads during busy periods.
That is where legal secretaries and administrators step in. They act at as the engine of the law firm and have a wide range of responsibilities, whether that is acting as a first point of contact for potential clients, managing schedules, drafting legal documents or managing general admin around the office.
The importance of a human resources (HR) department at any organisation should never be underestimated. If you already have experience working in HR, or you fancy turning your hand to it, law firms are always going to be on the lookout for candidates who can help to ensure that they can get the best out of employees.
As a HR professional, you’ll be charged with keeping track of employee discipline, monitoring and supporting the wellbeing of employees and helping with the recruitment process.
In the digital age, law firms need to effectively sell themselves to their target clients. Word of mouth referrals and new matters from existing clients can only go so far, which is why law firms are increasingly investing heavily into marketing campaigns - digital or otherwise – so that they can attract new clients.
Lawyers are multi-talented, but they are rarely going to have the time, resources and knowledge to carry out effective marketing campaigns. That’s why larger firms often have dedicated marketing teams who will be responsible for the firm’s website, social media channels and external communication.
As you might expect, law firms need to carefully balance the books in order to remain profitable. It’s therefore not uncommon for law firms to employee dedicated finance professionals who take on responsibility for company banking, credit control, budget preparations and general business plans.
The increased speed of adoption of technology by law firms since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic has been nothing but stellar. Whether it’s a move ‘to the cloud’ or the implementation of new ways of onboarding a client, everything is changing. Gone are the days of IT jobs in law firms be about fixing printers, nowadays these are highly skilled system implementation and integration roles.
As you can see, there’s a potential job in a law firm for just about anyone. So, if you think you are ready to embark on your career in the legal sector, you will need information and tailored advice to set you on the right path.
Symphony Legal is one of the UK’s leading legal consultancy businesses. We work with law firms around the county on a daily basis and work with legal professionals in a variety of positions. We know exactly what sort of roles are out there and what you would be best suited to with your existing skillset.
There are no limits to the sort of job opportunities on offer – the next step is to go out and find them!