My working life as a family law Paralegal

 Hello, my name is Lucy Nield and I joined MSB Solicitors as a Family Paralegal on 16th August 2022.  

Before I begin, I can honestly say that no two days are the same as a Paralegal in Family Law. My role is incredibly exciting because I can get involved in a lot of different work to support our fee earners.  

The Family Law covered at MSB is incredibly diverse. Although I have only worked at the firm for six months, I have already assisted in a wide range of matters including Child Arrangements, Care Proceedings, Divorce, Finances, Non-Molestation, Prohibited Steps and Occupation Orders to name just a few. 

I also support our clients both in private proceedings and by completing their applications to obtain legal aid funding. By working for such a reputable and respectful firm which strives to teach and encourage its employees to develop I have learnt an incredible amount in such a small amount of time.  

I am also inspired to get involved in social activities at the firm. Since I have joined MSB I have completed a 5K Legal Walk to support access to justice, helped organise our Wavertree Christmas party as well as hosted quizzes and a bake sale for Black History Month.  

As such an avid baker, the key ‘ingredients’ that help me achieve in my role as a Paralegal are: 

1. Organisation  

By utilising my Outlook diary, I can anticipate my workload to a certain extent and set myself deadlines to complete my tasks. By thinking forward I can aim to finish my work within a reasonable time. I am then in a position to update clients and provide them with advice over the phone and written advice by email to ensure that they understand what is being done to assist them. This means they feel supported and thought of throughout their legal matter.  

2. Preparation 

In this role I receive new emails and tasks regularly, so I keep a notebook to write down tips and information that I need on a daily basis. For example, I write down phone numbers for the Courts and Barristers Chambers in Liverpool, Manchester, and Chester. I also keep ‘Step by Step Guides’ and save new precedents that I have used during a client matter to ensure my knowledge is up to date and the information is accessible if I need further guidance.  

3. Prioritisation  

I communicate with my team to collectively delegate tasks such as joining the weekly Court Meeting, contacting new clients, opening files, and determining who will be attending Court in person or remotely to back a case. I am also learning how to decide which task is most important to complete first. In Family Law we need to act within tight timescales. For example, booking Counsel for upcoming hearings, ensuring bundles and applications are ready for Court and directions in Court orders are complied with are extremely important. Every case is different, so the ability to prioritise your workload comes with practice.  

4. Adaptability  

As a paralegal I may need to act quickly and assist with other urgent matters. For example, I drafted a statement with a client in support of their application for a Child Arrangements Order. However, I saw that the client had also contacted me asking to make amendments to their statement and the deadline for filing and serving the statement was fast approaching. Therefore, I knew it was important to call the client to make the changes and send this version to them to approve. I have also realised that it is helpful to determine if anything else needs to be done to progress a clients matter. This could include contacting public bodies for documents such as school reports and police disclosure or calling the Court for an update.  

5. Self-development  

I know there is always room for improvement. By reflecting on my work, I can set myself goals to achieve. As a result, I have completed training on Anti-Money Laundering, Legal Aid and Autism Awareness. Not being afraid to ask for help is also very important. This week I was tasked to complete an N260 Summary of Costs in preparation for a First Dispute Resolution Hearing. I tried my best to complete the document and when I was unsure, I contacted my colleague and asked to discuss it with them. This helped me understand further and enabled me to save the document as a precedent to use in the future.  

Overall, each day brings me new experiences to learn from and I am extremely grateful to work in an environment where every individual is always willing to provide their knowledge and encouraging attitude to help me to succeed.   

I encourage anyone seeking to pursue a legal career to work for MSB as my working life as a Paralegal at the firm has enabled me to improve as a professional and help towards providing clients with satisfying results.  

Lucy Nield MSB
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