Paralegals cannot credibly claim to be a distinct professional group without having in place the things that government and business expect of genuine professions. Without these things paralegals will remain legal technicians.
Although written by UK practitioners, the CS can be used in Hong Kong without difficulty/change.
Employers can use the CS to help with risk management; better delegation of work; differentiating between levels of paralegal staff, to reduce PI insurance premiums and to create an internal career path for paralegal staff. The CS can also assist with staff appraisals; the creation of career, training and staff development plans and to undertake more effective recruitment and promotion exercises.
Individual paralegals can use the CS to measure their own progress, to help plan their own career/personal development and to have more useful discussions with employers about training requirements and career development.
1. Download a copy of the standards at the level appropriate for you (see below). Mark it up to show which standards you already meet. Identify those areas where you still need to improve and work on them. Take the document to your employer and use it as the basis of a discussion about your development.
2. If you are job-hunting, make up a copy and send it to prospective employers/recruitment consultants along with your CV. You will find that it is a good way to show your knowledge and skills in detail.
Introductory Level Competency Standards for Paralegals
For Affiliate members and Associate Paralegals of the Institute and non-members who have not yet got any legal practice experience, or who have less than two years' practice experience
Intermediate Level Competency Standards for Paralegals
For Qualified Paralegal members of the Institute and non-members with up to six years' legal practice experience
Advanced Level Competency Standards for Paralegals
For Fellow of the IOP and non-members with more than seven years' legal practice experience
NB: compliance with the standards is not compulsory. They exist to aid employers and employees wanting to have consistent benchmarks for recruitment, appraisal, promotion, staff development and training.
Introductory Level Competency Standards for Legal Secretaries
For legal secretaries at or near the begining of their careers
Intermediate Level Competency Standards for Legal Secretaries
For experienced legal secretaries
Advanced Level Competency Standards for Legal Secretaries
For senior legal secretaries, especially those doing some legal or managerial work