There's a whole lot more to law

There's more to law than barristers and solicitors
© Li Tzu Chien | 123RF

When you think of jobs in the legal sector, you may conjure up visions of bewigged barristers addressing judges in court. Alternatively, you may picture a conveyancer trawling through dusty title deeds. The reality is far more diverse than you may initially realise. Solicitors' firms require a wide range of skills to ensure that their clients receive a first-class service. Within a typical solicitors' office, you will find secretaries, receptionists, financial officers, credit controllers, paralegals and marketing managers.

If you’re considering a career in the legal profession, but aren’t quite ready to don a wig and wield a hammer and gavel, then take a look at some of the alternative pathways into this exciting industry.

Administrative and secretarial roles:

From receptionists that greet clients as they arrive at the office, through to legal secretaries that type up important documents, solicitors' offices require a variety of administrative and secretarial skills. In order to secure an administrative or secretarial role in a legal office, you must be able to touch-type, have an eye for detail and highly-developed organisational skills.

Cashiers and financial controllers:

Law firms deal with large amounts of cash, from the fees generated by partners and associates through to the money lodged by clients to buy a house or settle a claim. The governing regulatory bodies impose strict rules on how money must be accounted for, particularly cash belonging to clients. Every law firm will have specialist staff dealing with money received and paid out.

Some clients may drag their heels when it comes to paying their bills. In order to keep cash flowing into the business, many solicitors' firms employ credit controllers to chase outstanding invoices.

Bookkeeping or accounting qualifications are usually necessary if you want to secure a financial role in a legal office.


Many solicitors employ paralegals to assist them in their work. A paralegal is defined by the National Association of Licensed Paralegals as ‘a person qualified through education and training to perform substantive legal work that requires knowledge of the law and procedures and who is not a qualified solicitor or barrister.’

Paralegals carry out a diverse range of functions, including preparing material for presentation in court and compiling legal documents relating to property and trusts. Some paralegals may also appear before tribunals or district judges.

A qualification in legal services is the ideal launch pad for a career in this sector.

IT staff:

Clients increasingly search for solicitors using the Internet. It is, therefore, important for solicitors to have attractive and informative websites. While the content for the website will be provided by the marketing manager or officer, the design, functionality and reliability of the website will be in the hands of the IT staff.

In addition, solicitors require secure, reliable servers to hold and process client data and individual PCs for every member of the team who requires to process information electronically. Mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones, allow solicitors to work remotely when they are away from the office.

While some solicitors outsource IT services, others prefer to employ their own in-house IT team. Get involved by undertaking one of the many available qualifications in the field of information technology.

Marketing officers and managers:

The legal sector is highly competitive. Solicitors must market their services if they are to attract new clients. Many solicitors' offices employ marketing staff to ensure that potential clients are made aware of the services that are on offer.

Author bio: Steven Pearson draws on his experience as a UK-based legal recruitment consultant to offer his expertise and advice on the legal profession to potential jobseekers. You can visit the Essential Personnel website for more ideas and information.

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