Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Is it possible to work as a Paralegal when you are a Qualified Solicitor

This question comes up all the time and is quite a common query that we imagine the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) are getting better at answering due to the sheer number of people asking the question. Many years ago the advice seemed a bit varied at times, but we have recently had a candidate who wanted to work in a locum role in the short term and waiting to go back on the Roll and get a practising certificate after some time spent outside the profession. She has been given fairly concise advice on whether she could work as a paralegal whilst waiting to be readmitted which we are repeating here.
This article is written as a discussion point and is not intended to be advice in any shape or form. For full advice on your particular set of circumstances please speak to the SRA (or whoever else you like, but please do not depend on the information in this article!). The SRA have a simple online test to determine if you need a practising certificate and this is available here:
The simple test appears to be that if your name is not on the roll of solicitors in England and Wales, either as a practising or non-practising solicitor, then the SRA have no problem with you taking work as a paralegal or non-qualified lawyer, provided you do not hold yourself out as a solicitor. Conversely, if your name is on the roll of solicitors, even if you are classed as a non-practising solicitor, then you cannot work as a paralegal and would have to apply for a practising certificate and have this in place.
We make no comment at all on whether this is a good idea, a bad idea or something that should be prohibited, but we see a number of locum conveyancers, private client lawyers and corporate commercial lawyers working this way for a host of differing reasons. We also repeat that you should speak to the SRA if you have any questions about this issue and not depend on this article..

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database.

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