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Paralegal work with a caution and Bankruptcy?

(17 Posts)
paralegalnamechange Thu 13-Feb-14 10:30:37

I have name changed as I am a little bit mortified about my past, please could I have some advice?

I have made some appalling decisions when younger and am 8 years post Bankruptcy now - I appreciate this would disbar me from being a solicitor, but would it be the same for Paralegal work?

I also have a caution from 3 years ago for harassment to my ex partner (I was pregnant when he left me for the ow, and I was trying to persuade him to be involved with my child - I know this is no excuse, but it is the surrounding circumstances)

I read that criminal record checks are rarely taken out for paralegals entering a firm, but I am now starting to have doubts as the time comes for me to finish my qualification.

I have loved my course, I want to provide for my child and set an example to him, I so want to pursue this avenue of work - but I'm terrified my past is going to stop me.

Please can anyone offer me some insight?

Thank you in advance

littleredsquirrel Thu 13-Feb-14 10:35:50

I don't know but suspect the answer is that you can't. Call the SRA and they will give you guidance.

Do you appreciate however that most paralegals are paid very poorly?

littleredsquirrel Thu 13-Feb-14 10:36:29

Have you done a law degree and then discovered you can't work as a solicitor?

paralegalnamechange Thu 13-Feb-14 10:42:58

No I am doing a Paralegal qualification not a law degree - I know that I would not be suitable to be a solicitor, but Paralegal work seems/ seemed less stringent. I am already a member of NALP (but not licensed yet) so I maybe need to pluck up the courage and call them.

Oh, where I am in in the deepest, darkest North salaries don't seem too bad, there are some lower paid positions but the majority seemed to be about the £20k mark, which as a foot in the door I would be over the moon with.

Thank you for responding, I have been trying to pluck up courage to ask this for bloody ages!

littleredsquirrel Thu 13-Feb-14 11:58:31

Might be worth asking your college to find out for you if they are running a paralegal qualification. It will certainly limit the type of work you can do since in all likelihood you won't be allowed to do anything where you could have contact with client money.

I would also contact a recruitment agency about salaries. I was an equity partner in a large firm that paid its paralegals around £13-14k. Some made more but they were generally very experienced. There are so many law school graduates around that they don't need to pay more than that.

mumblechum1 Fri 14-Feb-14 07:27:35

I suspect you may have a problem sad. I'm a Member of the Institute of Legal Executives and of the Institute of Professional Willwriters and have to make an annual declaration to both that I haven't been made bankrupt or had any sort of criminal conviction or caution.

Maybe the rules are a little less tight for paralegals because you should be under supervision....

trufflehunterthebadger Tue 18-Feb-14 00:56:49

Paralegal work is very oversubscribed as there are few jobs for law graduates so you are in direct competition as they get plenty of law graduates applying. Ergo firms have their pick of applicants.

munkysea Tue 18-Feb-14 19:46:48

I work as a paralegal and had to declare that I had no convictions and had not been made bankrupt before I was hired. I don't think there is a professional requirement for paralegals not to have been made bankrupt like there is for legal execs, solicitors and barristers, but the firm I work for still applies the requirement to applicants for paralegals. This will vary from firm to firm, of course.

Buddy80 Tue 18-Feb-14 21:00:18

Hi, I would advise you to write to The Solicitors Regulation Authority and enquire directly. I have heard that it can be discretionary. In such you can apply and if you have a professional reference from before you were bankrupt.

babybarrister Wed 19-Feb-14 12:08:49

bankruptcy does not prevent a person being a barrister but you do have to declare it .... - there are loads of bankrupt barristers sadly .....

you could of course go and work for one of the commercial Mackenzie Friends as they are currently completely unregulated ....

MOSagain Thu 20-Feb-14 15:34:18

babybarrister I suspect they only became bankrupt AFTER they became barristers though due to blardy clients not paying their bills! grin

MOSagain Thu 20-Feb-14 15:35:06

PS, we've not 'spoken' for a while and can't remember if I told you DS got a TC with S & S grin

MOSagain Thu 20-Feb-14 15:45:28

OP totally agree with others, it doesn't hurt to ask. I can't believe that a silly mistake can be held against you many years later. Fingers crossed for you

LauraBridges Fri 21-Feb-14 15:18:35

The SRA regulates solicitors not para legals so no point in speaking to them if not a solicitor. Anyone can be a para legal - my cleaner could call herself one tomorrow or call herself a "legal adviser" but whether you can find anyone who will hire you or clients is another matter.

higgle Sat 22-Feb-14 20:12:13

You can be a solicitor if you have been bankrupt - I had a conditional practicing certificate (approved employment) during bankruptcy.

The law society would advise re the caution I suspect it might not be fatal as it does not relate to dishonesty

higgle Sat 22-Feb-14 20:17:39

You can be a solicitor if you have been bankrupt - I had a conditional practicing certificate (approved employment) during bankruptcy.

The caution is spent and for a non solicitor job would not show up on a DBS disclosure. It would only show up on an enhanced check that can only be require for work with vulnerable adults or with children.

EnlightenedOwl Thu 27-Feb-14 20:38:18

Most NQ solicitors are doing paralegal work as they can't get NQ solicitor roles after qualifying.
Most paralegals at my firm are on about £15.5k

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