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The Institute's Competency Standards for paralegals, conveyancing paralegals, legal secretaries and legal assistants are a professional development tool developed with the help of a large number of law firms.
The standards are free to use and there are optional linked legal qualifications:
LPQ Certificates in Paralegal Practice
LPQ Certificates in Legal Secretarial Practice
LPQ Certificate in Legal Assistant Practice
LPQ Certificate in Conveyancing Practice
For more information on the LPQ qualifications please click here.
The Competency Standards are written in plain English and detail the core skills and knowledge that the legal profession requires of a paralegals and secretaries at the different stages in their respective careers.
The Competency Standards are not transaction checklists; nor are they aspirational best practice guidelines. Instead they reflect daily reality and document in detail the essential skills and knowledge that employers feel they should be able to expect of an experienced and competent member of staff. Therefore not only do the standards work as a competency benchmark, but they also give guidance to employers and employees about the skills and knowledge that staff need to be working towards acquiring at the different stages of their career.
The Competency Standards allow both employers and employees to evaluate, accurately and in detail, an employee's skills and knowledge using an industry agreed, and nationally consistent, range of core competencies.
Until now, paralegals and legal secretaries have suffered because the lack of nationally consistent standards have stopped the creation of a national career path; made formal staff appraisals very difficult; inhibited the development of structured training and made discussions with legal recruiters and training providers less detailed than they ought to be. The Competency Standards assist both employers and employees with all these issues.
The Competency Standards always contain the main professional conduct obligations expected of staff. All Standards are reviewed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority from a compliance perspective.
The Competency Standards are free to download and use (to download go to the appropriate page in the drop down menu above e.g. paralegals and click on the download link for the level that you want e.g. introductory). However you should subscribe to the relevant series of standards for a flat fee of GBP £70 + VAT per year, per series of Competency Standards if you wish to:
For more information visit the subscribe page.
Competency Standards' contents vary, depending upon the series in question. The following four series are currently available or being drafted:
By way of example, the Paralegal Competency Standards cover:
Application of Legal Expertise
Interviewing and Advising
Practical Legal Research
Self Awareness and Development
Working with Others
Writing and Drafting
It couldn't be simpler - just download the relevant Competency Standards free-of-charge and begin using them in any way that you wish (mindful of copyright - see below).
All the following documents are in .PDF format. You can choose another format for free by downloading them and then converting them online for free at www.zamzar.com or similar.
Competency Standards for Paralegals:
Competency Standards for Conveyancing Paralegals:
Competency Standards for Legal Secretaries:
Competency Standards for Legal Assistants:
Paralegals, conveyancing paralegals, legal secretaries and legal assistants who manage to comply with at least 95% of the relevant set of Competency Standards (e.g. Intermediate Level Competency Standard for Paralegals) can be awarded a legal qualification by the Institute.
The paralegal qualification is the LPQ [Introductory] [Intermediate] [Advanced] Certificate in Paralegal Practice.
The legal secretarial qualification is the LPQ [Introductory] [Intermediate] [Advanced] Certificate in Legal Secretarial Practice.
The conveyancing paralegal qualification is the LPQ Certificate in Conveyancing Practice
The legal assistant qualification is the LPQ Certificate in Legal Assistant Practice
These qualifications cost just GBP £195+VAT per employee.
To be eligible for an LPQ qualification, staff must first be registered as candidates by their employers, have proven they can meet 95+% of the relevant Competency Standards and successfully complete an assignment undertaken at home.
The Institute retains and reserves all rights of copyright and other intellectual property rights in the Competency Standards.
Although you are generally free to use the standards as you wish, you are not entitled to:
Pass them off as your own work
To sell or otherwise commercially deal in them
To incorporate them into products or services that you sell
Use them internally or externally without attributing the Institute as the author and copyright owner
We are always happy to speak with you if you have identified other areas of practice or non-lawyer legal professional groups that would benefit from standards being drafted. Please contact office@ theiop.org (Note breaks in address)