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A day in the life of our Family Law Paralegal

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No two days are the same for Emily Gardner who works in the family law department at Pearson Solicitors in Oldham and her hard work is paying off as she now sees a clear career path ahead of her and will soon realise her dream of becoming a solicitor.

Apprentices are a great way for us to introduce young staff to the business and build a talent pipeline.  Emily was a teenager when she joined as an apprentice and has moved from business administration to doing the Solicitor Apprenticeship with a view to eventually becoming a qualified Solicitor.

The transition from answering the telephone, booking clients in for their appointments and dealing with the paper work is quite different from the case load she is now managing. It’s early days but Emily is really enjoying dealing with her own clients, though she does admit to some early day nerves.  Here she talks about her progression and hopes it will help others understand that the route to the law does not have to be a traditional one:

How did you feel taking on that first instruction?

My first instruction was a non-molestation order - that is a type of injunction which can protect a client and any relevant child from violence or harassment. You can obtain a non-molestation order against someone who has been physically violent or against someone who is harassing, intimidating or pestering you.

This meant it was very fast moving but I feel this helped as I really didn’t get time to feel nervous. Of course, the Family Law team helped me throughout and the most important thing was that it was successful and we got the non-molestation order for the client.

How was the transition from assistant to dealing with clients?

I have always wanted to progress from being support staff to a fee earner and although I had been dealing with clients I did not have my own cases, but it’s been great and I’ve had lots of support from my supervisors.

What type of work do you do?

I mainly deal with family law and particularly legal aid matters for victims of domestic abuse. My files are predominantly children matters however I deal with divorces, non-molestation orders and change of name deeds. The majority of my children matters have been issued at court but I also deal with negotiations regarding contact before it has to go to court.

I occasionally support the child care department at Public Law Outline (PLO) meetings where we will look into what needs to be done to protect a child from harm, if a plan can be put in place and if an agreement can be reached without needing to go to Court.

What has been the most surprising thing about your role?

I enjoy having more responsibility and seeing my cases through to the end. I was surprised at how fast-paced some cases can be. This is from issuing an urgent application at Court, to getting the respondent served and then actually attending Court.

What are your long term ambitions?

I am currently undertaking my solicitors apprenticeship at Pearson Solicitors and I am looking forward to being a qualified solicitor at the end of my apprenticeship.

What made you want to work in law?

I have always had an interest in law. When I started at Pearson Solicitors I started working in the family law department and have enjoyed working in families across the UK ever since. I enjoy the fact that every day is different and you are making a difference and help people through difficult times in their life.

How do you think the pandemic has affected clients’ legal issues?

The Court has definitely been affected by the pandemic. They have adapted to a new system when issuing cases which does mean you can be waiting a couple of months for a hearing date. The Court are also moving to an online service for issuing cases which should speed up the process in the next couple of months.

For advice on making a career choice and working at Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers check out our current vacancies. If you need information or an informal chat about any aspect of family law contact the Family Law department on 0161 785 3500 or email family@pearsonlegal.co.uk

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

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