I am a paralegal practicing public and private family law. I earn £15,000 pa.
My caseload is split quite evenly between legal aid and private family law cases. This means I assist parents where a local authority is involved in the care of their children. I also support clients who are in a dispute with a former partner regarding their children.
In a typical day, I will undertake at least one court hearing and see at least one new client. The nature of the work means that events can happen very quickly and clients often come to me in a very distressed and panicked state. Where a local authority has become involved, for example care proceedings are underway, the clients I see are at a real crisis point.
In providing prompt and definitive advice, as urgently as possible, clients often say that they feel more settled and in control. If I can help them to feel less frightened, I know I’ve done my job well.
Put simply, I’m in £30,000 worth of debt following completion of my bachelors degree, the Graduate Diploma in Law (to convert to law), and the Bar Vocational Course (to study to be a barrister). I had no independent means of funding during my studies and so I funded it all myself. In addition to my job as a paralegal, at the moment I also work a further part time job just to keep going.
I believe the cuts to legal aid will mean that vulnerable people will be exploited, taken advantage of, and won’t have access to any form of justice unless they have money to pay for a lawyer privately.