was a privilege to attend the Specialist Paralegal Qualification awards ceremony at the Barony Great Hall, University of Strathclyde campus and fly the flag for the Law Society of Scotland’s accredited paralegal status. The Great Hall, once a church, provides an impressive setting for a prestigious event.
Gowned with gold and turquoise sash, more than 70 students attended the ceremony as their loved ones looked on proudly. Awards accepted, the graduates were congratulated by Gerard Sinclair, chief executive and principal solicitor of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission and Professor Claire McDiarmid, head of the School of Law, University of Strathclyde.
The qualification is achieved by flexible distance learning, which allows students to fit their studies around work and family commitments. Awards were given in 11 separate areas of practice: Civil Court Practice, Commercial Conveyancing; Company Law; Criminal Law; Debt Recovery; Employment Law; Family Law; Licensing Law; Reparation Law; Residential Conveyancing, and Wills, Trusts & Executries. These areas of practice (and more) are all recognised by the accredited paralegal scheme.
The graduates and their special guests rounded off proceedings with a champagne and canapé reception in the Winter Garden.
It was a pleasure to meet the graduates and learn a little bit about them. Some were just starting out in their careers and keen to be qualified in their area of specialisation; others, already very experienced in their paralegal role, wanted formally to demonstrate their knowledge and skills.
It was an excellent opportunity to have a chat about the scheme and explain how it aims to provide a defined professional status and career path for paralegals.
As newly qualified paralegals, they can now of course apply to the scheme. We Iook forward to welcoming them to the status and joining other accredited paralegals in setting a consistent standard and raising awareness of their role in Scotland.
Karen Leslie is convener of the Accredited Paralegal Committee