The Law Society states that an accredited paralegal is “a paralegal who satisfies the entry criteria associated with the Law Society of Scotland Accredited Paralegal Status and thereafter adheres to the requirements of the status."

It is a voluntary accreditation which aims to provide a defined professional status and a career path for paralegals.  It increases awareness of the role of the paralegal in Scotland and gives employers and clients the confidence that the accreditated paralegal  is of a consistent standard and meets the required competency level as set by the Law Society.

 

The accredited paralegal status is open to anyone currently working as a paralegal under the supervision of a Scottish solicitor, either in private practice or inhouse. 

To be eligible to join you must have a minimum of two years experience as a paralegal working under a supervising solicitor and within a specific practice area. You must be able to evidence that you have been continuously working and that you are proficient in all of the  competency areas for your chosen practice area. Your experience should have been within the same practice unit or under the same supervising solicitor but we understand that this is not always always possible.  If you have changed employment during this two year period we are happy to discuss this as it is not a barrier to you joining.

If you do not have the required two years experience then you can still apply to become a trainee accredited paralegal. Trainee accredited paralegals are paralegals who have been working as a paralegal for less than 2 years and who have obtained a formal qualification provided by one of the recognised  providers. The traineeship lasts for one year and during this year you will train in a specific practice area under the supervision of a supervising solicitor

  • BA (Law)
  • LLB / LLB + Diploma in Legal Practice 
  • HNC/HND in legal studies
  • Strathclyde University/Central Law Training paralegal qualifications
  • Stirling University/Scotia Law Training paralegal qualifications
  • Scotia Law Training Modern Apprenticeship
  • Professional Development Award (PDA) in paralegal studies
  • Glasgow Caledonian University/Rewards paralegal qualifications (no longer available, but qualifications held are recognised for entry)

If you have another qualification not on the list and are unsure whether this would be acceptable please contact us to discuss.

The application form to join is the same for both accredited paralegals and trainee accredited paralegals and can be downloaded and emailed to accreditedparalegals@lawscot.org.uk.

The application process is a two part process. Part one is submission of your application form and part two is submission of your provision of evidence form.

Once you have submitted your application form you will be allocated an online account and sent an email with your username and password.  You will use these login details to log onto the members section of the Law Society’s website where you will be able to download the provision of evidence form for completion of part two of the application process. You can also view your personal details, upload trainee quarterly reviews if you are a trainee accredited paralegal and submit CPD.  

You will receive emails throughout your application process advising you of the stage you are presently at and throughout the process you can contact the accredited paralegal account manager with any questions you have.   

Once your application has been approved you will receive an invoice for the membership fee due. Upon payment of this you will receive a certificate from the Law Society.   A copy of this certificate should be passed to your current employer for their records. 

 

Annual membership is currently £110.00 however this is currently under review fo teh upcoming practice year.  If you join partway through the year this fee will be calculated pro rata.

 If you are a graduate of a CLT Specialist Paralegal Qualification then you are entitled to free membership for the remainder of the year in which you graduate. Please contact us direct for more information on this or advise us of this when submitting your application form.

You are now able to call yourself an accredited paralegal and use the accredited paralegal logo on your emails, business cards and company website (see brand guidelines for use).  For Trainee accredited paralegals, whilst you may use the terms trainee accredited paralegal, you are not permitted to use the logo until you have completed your traineeship year.

 The requirement for your 10 hours CPD will also start and you will be required to log this online by January of the current practice year

Each membership year runs from February to February and you will receive notification of this in the month of January by way of a letter advising that payment of your membership fee is due.

 All that is required to renew your accreditation is to pay the membership fee, or have your employer pay this if this is what has been agreed. 

If you do not renew your membership by 1st April of the current practice year you will automatically be marked inactive and your name will not appear on our “find an Accredited Paralegal finder.  You may also require to submit a request to the Committee to have your status renewed after this period. 

Once your membership fee has been received and processed you will receive your certificate for the upcoming practise year by email to the email address we hold on file.

It is important that if you change your contact email address that you advise us as soon as possible in order that your information can be updated.

A supervising solicitor is any Scottish solicitor with an unrestricted practising certificate who is allocated to supervise the work of the accredited paralegal or the trainee accredited paralegal and to ensure compliance with the competencies required, both generally and for the specific area of practice in with the paralegal or trainee works. The supervising solicitor maintains full responsibility for the work carried out by the accredited paralegal or the trainee accredited paralegal .

If supervising a trainee accredited paralegal, the role of the supervising solicitor will be slightly different in that the supervising solicitor will review progress on a quarterly basis and assist the trainee with completing an online assessment demonstrating their achievements.

CPD is any training or learning activity which is designed to improve an individual’s professional knowledge, understanding and skills. It is a fundamental part of being a professional to undertake CPD. Along with 'on the job training' CPD as this helps to ensure competence over the course of your career.

As a trainee accredited paralegal or an accredited paralegal, you will be required to undertake tne hours of CPD every practice year. Of this ten hours a minimum of five hours must be verifiable. By verifiable, the Society means that the CPD activity should meet the following criteria:

 (i) Have educational aims and objectives relevant to your development

(ii) Have clearly anticipated outcomes (e.g. what do you expect to learn from attending the course)

(iii) Have quality controls (e.g. you should be given the opportunity to give feedback or ask questions).

(iv) Be verifiable (e.g. able to be evidenced).

The remaining five hours can be made up of private study.

More information on CPD can be found here.

The Professional Practice team offers free and confidential support and advice on legal practice and procedure to all members of the law Society, be that solicitors or accredited paralegals.  The service is staffed by experienced solicitors and an accredited paralegal, who have access to a range of information sources and specialists across the Society.

 Advice is free and confidential.

  Lines are open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday.  Telephone: 0131 226 8896

 

Lawscot Wellbeing is a dedicated online resource that provides help and guidance for members and employers. We aim to work in collaboration with NHS Scotland, LawCare, SeeMe, SAMH and other mental health charities to:

  •  Equip our members with information and signposting to help manage emotional wellbeing
  • Support our members and others employed in the Scottish legal sector who may be experiencing difficulties to access support services and advice
  • Support colleagues and people managers help those in difficulty or crisis
  • Guide members who are concerned about their client’s emotional wellbeing
  • Challenge the stigma around emotional wellbeing and champion best practice

Janet Rieu-Clarke is the dedicated account manager for all Accredited Paralegals and as such all enquiries can be directed to her and she will be delighted to assist.

Janet can be contacted by email on: janetrieu-clarke@lawscot.org.uk or accreditedparalegals@lawscot.org.uk or telephone on 0131 476 8352

 

Upcoming events

Find out more about our upcoming events including roadshows for newly qualified lawyers and CPD and training.