A look back at 2017 from an accredited paralegal perspective

It has certainly been an exciting year for accredited paralegals, and as the year draws to a close we should look at some of the highlights. 

The most significant event in the paralegal calendar was in August, when we all became Law Society of Scotland accredited paralegals. The reason for this change was down to feedback from members who felt that the term “registered” did not adequately recognise the status of paralegals in the legal community. We supported that view and were happy to push through the new name. The feedback we received has certainly all been positive! 

To commemorate the new identity, we held a launch party, and it was lovely to meet those of you who could come along and join us for some prosecco and nibbles. It also gave us the chance to introduce one of the additional benefits now attached to the status – the Professional Practice helpline. Previously this service, providing advice and guidance on matters of practice and ethical issues, was open only to solicitors. 

A big part of our plan, following the name change, was to spread the word and encourage paralegals to join. Talking to paralegals and the solicitors who employ them, we promoted the benefits to both the individual and the firm. We attended the CLT graduation, where I was honoured to give a speech to the newly graduated paralegals about what it is like to be a paralegal and to be part of the Accredited Paralegal status; the Law Society of Scotland annual conference; the Scots law CLT conferences at Murrayfield; and by the time this article goes to print we will have had two successful mince pie and prosecco drinks parties in conjunction with the Scottish Paralegal Association. We have also published various articles and blogs in the Journal and Lawscot news, and invited you to join in and supply us with a blog about your life as a paralegal. It has certainly been a busy six months. 

So what are our aims for the new year? I would like to hear from more paralegals as to what you want from us, and what articles you would like to see in the Journal and Lawscot news. I would like to meet as many accredited paralegals and firms as possible at upcoming networking events and possible CPD events to talk about the status and what it can do for you and your firm. But most of all I would like you all to help me spread the word about how fantastic the Accredited Paralegal status is to as many of your colleagues as possible. More details of events to follow in the new year! 

For now, it is time to be merry, enjoy the run-up to Christmas and New Year and most of all refresh ourselves for a year which I hope will be full of exciting new things for us all. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from myself and all of my colleagues at the Law Society of Scotland. 

The Author
Janet Rieu-Clarke is accredited paralegal at the Law Society of Scotland
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