Committee convener Karen Leslie is an accredited paralegal in Stronachs, practising in the area of debt recovery

What made you pursue a career as a paralegal?

I come from a background of finance and credit control. When a case “went legal” to repossess a vehicle or pursue payment through the courts it would be sent to the solicitors, and usually never seen again. I was always interested to learn what happened next. I wanted to be able to progress a case from the outset to its conclusion. When the opportunity to train as a paralegal in debt recovery came along, I jumped at the chance.

Why did you decide to join the committee and take on the role of convener?

I first worked with the Law Society of Scotland as Joint President of the Scottish Paralegal Association (SPA), to develop and introduce what was then the Registered Paralegal scheme. That was over 10 years ago. I was very passionate about the progression and recognition of paralegals then and remain so now.

What have been the highlights for you personally?

Changing the name of the scheme from Registered to Accredited. Some may say a simple case of rebranding. But for me, it demonstrates the Society’s continued support of the valuable role paralegals play in the Scottish legal market today.

What’s your top tip for accredited paralegals?

Don’t forget to access the support available. Whether that is Professional Practice, Lawscot Wellbeing or the SPA. Oh, and enjoy your job!

If you could change only one thing for accredited paralegals, what would it be?

Good question. I believe the scheme works and does what it sets out to do. As a voluntary scheme, however, the challenge remains to increase awareness of the benefits of becoming accredited. There is increasing political pressure to offer more diverse and cost effective legal services. To meet this challenge with confidence and demonstrate the value and quality of our legal services in Scotland, it simply makes good professional and business sense to ensure that standards remain paramount.

What keeps you busy outside of work?

I love the outdoors, whether on my bike or hiking over the hills. They say there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing, but on a really awful day, the sofa with a good book does the trick!

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