“The rising profile of the [UK] paralegal”

About 500,000 paralegals work in the U.K. today. Many earn between £50,000 & £80,000 annually ($92,045 to $147,280). And with higher salaries comes a more professional standing:

"Largely unnoticed, the paralegal profession has grown to 500,000 practitioners: 50,000 in the legal profession, the remainder spread throughout every other sector of the economy.

"Paralegals do work that a decade ago solicitors would have done. This change reflects: increased wealth in society; the explosive growth of regulation; the wholesale emigration of solicitors from areas of practice no longer economically viable; and, at the lower end of the scale, the fact that virtually everyone needs the law, encounters it or uses it in the workplace.

"New career opportunities have flowered. Full careers as non-lawyer legal practitioners, or professional paralegals, are possible. Within the legal profession salaries reach £50,000-plus and outside the legal profession paralegals earn up to £80,000. Many run their own businesses giving advice on matters such as employment, divorce and immigration.

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"Within firms, paralegals are now being recognised as important employees and profitable fee-earners. Increasingly, firms give their paralegals professional recognition, offer tailored training and provide real career development. In return, firms are demanding higher standards of professionalism. An indicator of the scale of change is that at the behest of firms, the Institute has introduced a certified paralegal qualification; a new BTEC in Legal Work and national paralegal training framework; national competency standards; a code of conduct; a paralegal continued professional development (CPD) course; career development plans for paralegals and legal secretaries; and annual paralegal awards. All these are employer driven developments, yet four years ago there was virtually no demand for any of these services."

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