How to land a paralegal job without experience (2023)

I still remember the frustration of trying to get my first job in law. Like many graduates, I had no contacts, no relevant experience – and my CV was average at best.

I started by applying to work as a paralegal. My mum, a carer for my family, tried to help, but I had to learn how to write job applications myself. I suffered my fair share of rejections, but after getting my first role, I managed to secure a training contract.

The role of the paralegal has evolved significantly. Many paralegals now have their own legal workload and it is recognised as a career path in its own right. The paralegal route is also popular with aspiring solicitors, who use the experience to increase their chances of landing a training contract. However, securing these roles can be highly competitive.

(Video) How I secured a paralegal role with no previous paralegal experience | The legal diaries

Here are some tips to help you get ahead:

Apply for jobs in areas you have studied

As a law student, there is little point in applying for a role if you can’t convincingly talk about why this area interests you. When I landed my role as a technology, media and telecoms disputes paralegal, although I lacked experience, I had studied advanced litigation and media law. This meant I could explain why I had applied for the job. Make sure you use your studies to explain why you want to become a paralegal in a particular area.

Tailor your CV to the role

(Video) How To Land Your First Job As A Paralegal even with ZERO Experience: Tips from a Lawyer

This sounds obvious, but it’s a common CV mistake. If you are applying for a commercial paralegal role and you have achieved great grades in commercial law, list this first. Ramnish Sharma, commercial property paralegal at EHL Commercial Law, agrees: “Tailoring my CV to the role I was applying for was key to me landing the interview. The hiring team was able to quickly identify that I had the right skills and attributes for this job. I was able to illustrate that I am methodical and diligent, which was key to landing a role.”

On average, recruiters spend seconds reading CVs, so it is important to put the most relevant information at the top of the page.

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Work with a paralegal recruitment agency

Entry-level paralegal roles are not always advertised. Many law firms are increasingly using recruitment agencies to find employees, so make sure you sign up with legal recruiters.

To do this, typically you get in touch with a recruitment agency and send in your CV. When a suitable job becomes available, they will notify you and put you forward for roles.

“I found the use of agencies to be invaluable especially when you are working full-time and don’t necessarily have as much time as you would like to search for roles,” says Yasmin Burton, paralegal at Kilic & Kilic Solicitors. An agency will also have direct links with law firms and dedicate time to finding roles for you.

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Keep an open mind

You may be lucky enough to know what area of law you want to work in. If this is the case, it is essential to keep an open mind when looking at vacancies. The academic study of law is often different in practice. Think of the transferable skills you will build from the role and the advantage it may give you when applying for future positions. Having first-hand experience also provides strong justification for why you do not want to specialise in that area.

My first paralegal role in the City was in real estate and, based on my studies of property and land law during university and LPC, I wasn’t keen on this area. But I knew that this was a foot in the door and would expose me to the legal world – which proved a success.

  • Coleen Mensa is a trainee solicitor at EY and a vlogger


How do paralegals get experience? ›

There are a number of ways to gain experience as a paralegal including pro bono work, internships, and contract based assignments. potential employers can easily get a flavor about you, your education, and your experience. I also encourage paralegals to utilize LinkedIn as a resource to further promote themselves.

Is a paralegal a good job for an introvert? ›

Paralegals help lawyers prepare for cases. They do a lot of research and gather information from various sources. Despite the fact that they do have to interact with lawyers, these jobs are well-suited for introverts because they require a lot of independent work.

Are paralegals in high demand? ›

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that paralegal jobs will grow by 12 percent between 2020 and 2030, which is faster than most jobs. The demand for paralegals is high, especially in urban centers and metropolitan areas.

Can you be a paralegal with no legal experience? ›

It's normal for entry-level paralegals to have little experience but you can help get employers' attention by emphasising your relevant skills, educational qualifications, volunteer work or internship experience.

How hard is it to get a paralegal role? ›

Finding and securing a paralegal role can be hard, but there are still ways you can make your application stand out. Applying to a wide variety of roles, networking, and gaining legal experience will definitely improve your chances.

What are four things that a paralegal Cannot do? ›

Generally, paralegals may not represent clients in court, take depositions, or sign pleadings. Some federal and state administrative agencies, however, do permit nonlawyer practice.

What kind of personality do you need to be a paralegal? ›

An indispensable paralegal has an ability to multitask, a strong attention to detail, a willingness to learn, an expertise in organization, and psychic abilities.

What is difference between paralegal and legal assistant? ›

A legal assistant, or litigation assistant, may perform administrative duties as well as legal tasks. A paralegal focuses more on legal duties and research to assist lawyers. Both positions require an understanding of legal terminology and procedures.

What is the passing mark for paralegal exam? ›

Passing the exam.

We have set the passing score for each exam at 50%.

Can you get paralegal job without LPC? ›

It may be difficult to get a paralegal job at a city firm straight out of uni or without the LPC as many law firms require applicants to have completed the LPC or have previous experience.

Can you be paralegal without LPC? ›

Do I need training/qualifications? As the paralegal profession is an unregulated one, there is - generally speaking - no particular qualification you must have to either join the profession or to progress within it.

Is a paralegal a qualified lawyer? ›

A paralegal is a highly-valued member of a legal team that has extensive knowledge of the law and legal matters, but is not a qualified lawyer. Paralegals undertake a wide variety of administrative and legal work.

Is paralegal diploma hard? ›

Training to Become a Paralegal Is Hard Work, but Well Worth It! Going back to school can seem daunting at first, especially if it has been a few years since the last time you were a student. Fortunately, while it takes hard work and dedication to become a paralegal, it's a career that also comes with many rewards.

How long does it take to qualify as a paralegal? ›

This typically takes 24 months to complete as a mix of workplace learning and study.

Is paralegal prestigious? ›

It truly is a prestigious and significant profession. Simply put, paralegals help people. They help their employers be more efficient in their jobs, they can increase a firm's revenue and productivity, and they also help the clients.

What state pays paralegals the most? ›

Best-Paying States for Paralegals

The states and districts that pay Paralegals the highest mean salary are District of Columbia ($83,420), Washington ($71,900), California ($70,290), Massachusetts ($66,820), and New Jersey ($65,950). How Much Do Paralegals Make in Your City?

Where do the highest paid paralegals work? ›

Corporate Paralegal

Another of the highest-paid paralegal positions is a corporate paralegal. Corporate paralegals usually work in the legal departments of large companies. They help attorneys make sure the organization's business and hiring practices all adhere to the law.

What do attorneys think of paralegals? ›

Attorneys definitely see paralegals as a means to keeping costs under control; saving time by delegating certain work to a competent lower level and the ability to create a profit center.

What are 3 duties of a paralegal? ›

The Paralegal (PL) assists with case planning, development, and management, legal research, interviews clients, gathers facts and retrieves information, drafts and analyzes legal documents and collects, complies and utilizes technical information, to make recommendations to an attorney.

Is becoming a paralegal before law school a good idea? ›

By working as a paralegal, you may gain critical connections that help you secure an internship or summer position in law school and ultimately give you a head start in your legal career.


1. How to get a paralegal job with no experience in 2022
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4. Able to Land Your First Paralegal Position With "0" Experience, "0" Education and "0" Connections?
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5. PARALEGAL Interview Questions And Answers (How To Become A Paralegal or Legal Assistant)
6. Law: 10 minutes with Mary Bonsor and how to get paralegal experience with F-Lex
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