Our paralegals are an integral part of the Serious Injury Team at Minster Law, helping with everything from preparing claims for court to taking witness statements. We sat down with two of our own, Amina Gokalia and Emrean Kandola, to find out more about their job.
Why did you choose to pursue a legal career?
A – I chose to study law at sixth form, then went on to completing my law degree. I’ve met some amazing tutors along the way who shared their experiences with me. I’ve always known this was the career I would like as I’ve always wanted to help others, and this is a brilliant avenue for me to do so.
E – At 15-years-old, I did work experience at a criminal law firm which did defendant work. I instantly became interested in law and went on to study law at university and I’ve been pursuing a law career ever since graduation.
What challenges do you face in your role as a paralegal?
A – The biggest challenge for me was joining the team remotely during lockdown. I couldn’t meet the people I would be working with face-to-face, so it was very different. I had a lot of support from my colleagues and team managers, so although it was different, I felt welcome.
E – After graduating, the change from education to working life was difficult to adjust to at first. Practising law is very different from learning about it in your lectures! I also find juggling full-time work while undertaking the SQE can be challenging at times. You have to find the right balance between working full-time and further education.
Are there stereotypes of what a paralegal does?
Both – There’s a common misconception that a paralegal carries out the tasks that the solicitor they’re working for doesn’t want to do. That is incorrect. Of course, in every role, there’s going to be the standard chaser tasks, and someone’s got to do them. We’ve had the opportunity to get involved in so much more, including attending some interesting conferences between counsels, medical experts, and clients. It’s safe to say we haven’t experienced a boring day within our role.
What kind of work are you involved in?
Both – I think we both can agree that no working day is the same. In our role, it’s important to prioritise our tasks. For example, I’d look at any urgent work or work involving court deadlines first thing on a morning and then just work through my other tasks in date order.
There is always a range of tasks to do and no two days are ever the same. Of course, the pandemic resulted in lockdown which meant many conferences and face to face meetings moved online but we still have so many opportunities to undertake different tasks within our role. These include instructing medical experts, attending telephone conferences, to taking witness statements, and liaising with clients and the police.
We’re looking forward to meeting some of our clients face to face once the restrictions allow us to. Our clients suffer from life changing injuries which has impacted them and their loved ones. It’s rewarding knowing you have done your best for them during their claim process to get them back on the road to recovery. Once restrictions are lifted, it will also be interesting to attend court and be in the presence of hearings for some of the cases we work on!
What are your future goals?
Both – To eventually qualify as a solicitor.
Do you have advice for anyone pursuing this career?
Both: Do your research! It’s a big commitment and so you want to be sure you are interested in what you are pursuing. Be aware of what you need to do, commercial awareness is key and be willing to learn and obtain as much experience as you can, whatever role you start off in.