I think it will end up with paralegals working alongside solicitors and barristers. With the fact that paralegal practitioners can instruct counsel directly means that there will hopefully be a compliment going on between paralegals and solicitors with perhaps paralegals taking on the types of cases, which are not viable for a solicitor to take on thereby offering the consumer a full package. For example, if you have a civil claim and you can’t afford to go to court, you might want to do it yourself but don’t know what to do, a paralegal can step in and charge much less than a solicitor. There is a complimentary career path and offering as far as legal services go.
I see in 5 years, paralegal firms increasing, paralegal practitioners increasing. Paralegals taking on the role that currently litigants in person are doing themselves. Helping the court system run more smoothly because of the eroding of the rights of audience – they will accept the competence of a paralegal coming before them in court to represent a client. At the lower end of the scale, we will have paralegals dealing with that kind of business. Middle and upper-end cases will still have solicitors and barristers dealing with them. That is the way I see it developing over the next 5 years.
I do feel that paralegals are the future of the legal services sector.
Read the full interview with NALP's CEO Amanda Hamilton here