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 accredited 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 in-house.
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 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 two 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 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 our 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.
Once your application has been approved you will receive an invoice for the membership fee due. On payment of this we will send your a you Law Society certificate. A copy of this certificate should be passed to your current employer for their records.
Annual membership is £125.00. If you are a new member and join partway through the year this fee will be calculated pro rata.
If you are a graduate of a Central Law Training (CLT) Specialist Paralegal Qualification then you are entitled to free membership for the remainder of the practice 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. For trainee accredited paralegals, while you may use the term 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 1 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 need 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 practice year 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, along with 'on the job training', CPD 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 ten hours of CPD every practice year. Of this ten hours a minimum of five hours must be verifiable. By verifiable, we mean 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. clarity about what 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 three main enquiries we receive in regards to CPD are:
(1) How do I upload my CPD to the online portal?
To upload and record your CPD for this practice year:
- log into the members area using the details provided when you joined. Your login is your surname and your 5 digit ID no (will be on your current certificate). Your password is auto generated by us so if you do not have this then please email me and I will resend this – do not try and reset your own password.
- select the paralegal tab from left hand side
- select the CPD tab from below this
- this should open a box on the right hand side, above this box is the word hide and a “+” sign
- click on the “+” sign and this opens a new screen to log the CPD
(2) I joined the status part way through the practice year/I have only worked part of the year due to long term sickness/maternity or adoption leave – how do I calculate the required number of CPD hours?
To calculate the required number of hours, divide the number of weeks worked by 5.2 and round up to the nearest whole number e.g. Accredited Paralegals who work between 37 and 39 weeks in a practice year will require to undertake 8 hours CPD that year.
(3) How can I edit CPD I have already recorded?
- log into the members area using the details provided when you joined. Your login is your surname and your 5 digit ID no (will be on your current certificate). Your password is auto generated by us so if you do not have this then please email me and I will resend this – do not try and reset your own password
- when the CPD page is open you will see the list of what you have uploaded
- under the word 'select' you should see a small pencil icon
- click on this icon and you can then edit that entry
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.