Is there an element of legality involved in running your business? Do you have someone drafting contracts of employment or contracts to provide services, or an individual who looks over contracts received by your business? Are these individuals not qualified solicitors?
If the answer to any of the above questions is 'yes', then the person performing these tasks is a paralegal. Formally recognizing this can encourage loyalty, attract top talent, and boost profits.
What is a paralegal?
Paralegals are defined as 'persons who are trained and educated to perform certain legal tasks, but who are not qualified solicitors, barristers or chartered legal executives'.
They are trained in the same way as solicitors are, studying the same areas of law and procedure, and have the same level of experience.
However, they cannot formally call themselves 'solicitors' or hold themselves out as such.
How paralegals can benefit your business
Having the right legal advice and assistance when required is essential for any business. This is where paralegals, with the appropriate training, can help, and can save on hefty solicitors' fees.
If you are prepared to offer your paralegal personnel formal recognition by encouraging them to join a professional body such as National Association of Licensed Paralegals, and give them the opportunity to gain paralegal qualifications, this will add credibility to your organization and give the right impression to potential customers.
If your paralegals are suitably trained and qualified, there is the opportunity to delegate more work to them. This can free you up to take on more clients, or offer a wider range of services - or perhaps have an afternoon off now and then!
Show your employees they're valued
Attracting and retaining top talent is always a challenge. But, by offering formal recognition for your paralegal staff and supporting their growth, you can attract better applicants and retain your best people. For example, you could offer to pay for their training, or allow them days off, or release time so they can train during work hours.
Offering remuneration for out-of-hours training or offering mentoring, job shadowing or secondment opportunities will all help to boost staff knowledge and their sense of being valued in their position.
People like to be recognized and rewarded for the work they do - this is one way to achieve that. On the other hand, ignoring the status and contribution of these valuable employees may lead to a talent exodus, as staff look for fulfilment elsewhere.
Is there anything a paralegal shouldn't handle?
Certain activities are designated 'reserved activities', and these remain the remit of solicitors. For example: automatically having the right to represent someone in all courts, the conveyancing process (buying and selling property) and some probate activities (sorting out a person's estate after they die) are all reserved activities.
Apart from the above, there remains plenty of scope for a paralegal within your business to perform valuable tasks, without the need to approach a solicitor.
Sponsored post. Copyright © 2018 Amanda Hamilton, Chief Executive of the National Association of Licenced Paralegals