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Reception greets Accredited Paralegal scheme

18 September 17

Move to new status aims to recognise expertise and standards of paralegals

On Friday 1 September, Law Society of Scotland President Graham Matthews addressed around 30 of the Scottish legal community’s “go to” people at a reception in the Society’s Atria One premises.

You might be forgiven for assuming that the event was being held in honour of senior solicitor colleagues, but the guests were in fact accredited paralegals.

Just three weeks previously the Society launched its Accredited Paralegal Status, the new name for what was previously known as the Registered Paralegal scheme. Four hundred legal practitioners automatically achieved the new marque, which was conceived with a view to more accurately reflecting the expertise and quality standards of paralegals accredited by the Society.

The event was a way to celebrate the launch of the new status and to allow the paralegals to meet the people at the Society who deal with the Accredited Paralegal Status, from marketing and promotion through to registration, as well as providing an opportunity to network with fellow paralegals.

Janet Rieu-Clarke, an in-house accredited paralegal who has recently joined the Society, hosted the event and said: “I am thrilled to welcome my paralegal colleagues along to Atria One to celebrate our new status and get to know them better. With over 10 years’ private practice experience, I appreciate the challenges facing the paralegal community, and now in my current role, I am looking forward to promoting the new status and showing how the Society aims to support us.”

Rieu-Clarke’s role will see her working within the Professional Practice team, and also acting as an ambassador to the Accredited Paralegal Status, going out to promote the status and its benefits to paralegals, firms and educational establishments.

As part of the change, the new accredited paralegals will have access to the Society’s Professional Practice support helpline, which provides guidance and advice on ethical and practice matters. Fiona Robb, Director of Professional Practice was keen to make the accredited paralegals aware of this additional service, reminding them that the Prof Prac team are always there to help and that there is no such thing as a stupid question.

As well as being available to take ad hoc calls and emails, Professional Practice now also has a service where you can book an appointment with the member of the team best equipped to provide the relevant advice.

Accredited paralegals will also have access to LawCare, a charity which promotes wellbeing in the legal community. Reminding the delegates of its free, independent and confidential helpline, Trish McLellan, LawCare’s representative for Scotland, was a speaker at the event.

Sandra Reid, an accredited paralegal at Lindsays in Glasgow, and President of the Scottish Paralegal Association, commented: “The Accredited Paralegal scheme has demonstrated that the Society recognise our importance in the legal community, values the work we do and wants to make sure that we receive the help and recognition we deserve. It’s great to be here tonight with Janet and my other accredited paralegal colleagues.”

The benefits of the new status are not reserved for paralegals themselves. Employers and prospective employers have greater clarity of a potential employee’s credentials and will be better able to communicate their services to clients. There is now greater transparency for legal service users in terms of who is working for them and how they are qualified.

In addition to paralegals previously registered with the Society, all paralegals with relevant experience or who hold a relevant qualification are eligible to join the scheme.

Further information is available on the Society’s website at www.lawscot.org.uk, and solicitors employing paralegals who may be interested in becoming accredited, or who might want to talk to the Society about their options, should contact Janet Rieu-Clarke on 0131 476 8352 or janetrieu-clarke@lawscot.org.uk
 
For further information on the application process, please contact Darren Kerr, administrator in the registrar’s department on 0131 476 8128 or darrenkerr@lawscot.org.uk

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