A day in the life of a ParalegalPepperells
Hi, I’m Sam Mackrill and I work as a Paralegal in the Family Law team here at Pepperells Solicitors. I joined the company in November 2020 initially working in our Residential Business team. I subsequently moved to work in the Family team in March 2021.
I hold a 2:1 Law degree from Keele University having graduated in July 2020. I was fortunate to be granted the opportunity to undertake work experience at Pepperells in our Scunthorpe office prior to my employment with them commencing, where I worked in each department and, in essence, received a flavour of the nature of our work here. Rest assured, it was certainly the right environment for me!
I am currently undertaking the Legal Practice Course (LPC) on weekends as a part-time feature of my working week, which I am able to prepare for during my evenings.
In the Family team, I provide support to fee earners across a range of matters, such as Child Care, Divorce and Finance, private law matters and injunctions. I draft letters, court documents, attend client meetings and also attend court hearings, under supervision of the fee earners in the department.
Whilst I have found there is no typical day in the life of a Family Paralegal I try to structure my day so as to get all my tasks completed. This is typically what a day can consist of;
I arrive at the office between 8.40am and 8.50am. Sometimes I may attend earlier if I have a particularly busy day and wish to get on top of things. I work in the office each day. Once I am logged on I review my inbox for any emails that may have come in overnight or over the weekend. It doesn’t take too long to action them, usually around 15 minutes depending on what the emails are of reference to. Naturally, a coffee always helps first thing too, we are fortunate at Pepperells that drinks and snacks are provided to help with the working day.
9:00 – 13:00
Working in Family Law means that each day is never the same, so what I do between these working hours is totally dependent on what’s going on in each case I work on. I could be seeing a client, drafting letters or statements, preparing bundles, essentially assisting the solicitors with whatever needs to be done. For example, in a recent week I was required to assist by taking notes each day in a case that was listed 5-weeks. Myself and 2 Trainee Solicitors had been assisting with that during the week, with the exception of the Thursday morning that week when I sat an LPC exam.
Court Hearings are for the most part still taking place via remote means, either on a video or telephone platform. My role at present during Court Hearings is to notarise everything that is said by all parties present. Prior to Court, the Advocates for the parties will all meet for ‘pre-hearing discussions’, whereupon they will discuss their respective clients’ positions and outline what matters are agreed and what matters are to be litigated on. During these discussions, Advocates can obtain instructions from their clients on points that have been raised.
Post-Court, it is imperative that the client understands what has transpired during the Hearing and what the next steps in the case are. To this end, I often draft a letter to the client outlining the Order made by the Judge and salient points arising.
13:00 – 14:00
Lunch. The Lincoln office where I’m based is perfectly situated if you’re looking for places to eat. As soon as you step out the door, you are met by a tapas restaurant to the left and a café in front. Look to the right, and you have Lincoln Castle, which on a nice day is the perfect spot to wind down with a sandwich; especially if it’s a particularly stressful day. I tend to gravitate towards Greggs…
14:00 – 16:00
When I’m not returning to Court, this time is spent at the desk in the office. Depending on the day, it will be filled with client appointments or working on administrative tasks to progress cases under supervision. I will usually sit in on meetings with the other solicitors and their clients, again to take a detailed account of the discussion and making sure that this is saved to the respective client’s file for future reference. If not this, then I will sort through any post that has come in over the course of the day and then scan this to the relevant fee earner so that they are able to take appropriate action.
I undertake regular training too, set by supervisors or of my own accord and subject to my time, I try to fit in training in the afternoon, whether that be learning further about Pepperells systems and procedures or further developing my knowledge in the Family Law arena.
16:00 – 17:30
This time is usually spent looking over my work for the day, ensuring all my tasks are complete, any emails I have received throughout the day are actioned and added to the relevant cases, and referring to my diary for the rest of the week so I can plan my subsequent days accordingly. If I or any other fee earners in the office need anything posting, then they will ordinarily leave this with me as I frequently walk to and from work and pass by several postboxes on the journey.
Once home, I endeavor to ‘switch-off’ for the evening – this isn’t always possible due to the nature of our work, and as a young person and a big believer in not leaving tasks incomplete, I will sometimes work remotely during that evening. But let’s assume that I’ve managed to give myself a clear evening instead! Once I’m home, usually around 6pm, I will do a bit of exercise for 30 minutes (give or take depending on the stress of the day!) and then crack on with my LPC preparation if I have classes that weekend. Then, depending how I’m feeling, I’ll get to work on a book that I’m writing or catch up with a TV series. I’m a big believer in creative outlets, I believe they aid lifestyle balance (in this profession it can be easy to become ‘consumed’) and allows you to coerce yourself into a more relaxed state of mind. I find it prepares you for the next day and gives your mind the rest it needs! I hope this blog has provided some insight into the nature of the legal profession from a paralegal’s perspective– results reward hard work and at Pepperells the opportunities to stand out are not few and far between!