An interview with: A Criminal Law Paralegal

Paul Robinson Brand Ambassador, Maxwell Short (Student), interviewing Paralegal, Madeline Oakley about her experiences in the Criminal Law Department at PRS.

I recently spoke with Madeleine Oakley about her role as a Paralegal in the Crime Department at leading law firm Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP. Madeleine studied law at The University of Reading and graduated in 2016 with a 2:1. She started working as a Paralegal in January 2017. Madeline’s main responsibilities include representing clients at the police station, drafting legal documents and assisting other fee earners in the department. She has aspired to be a solicitor since A-Levels and will be starting her Training Contract with Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP in September 2018. So how did she do it? What advice does she have for you?

What kind of work experience did you have prior to taking this position?

‘I have completed various work experience placements through my A-Level’s and University degree. I have undertaken work experience at a local firm in Chelmsford where I was able to spend time in the Civil Department. In addition, I spent time in a firm in Oxford, assisting fee earners in the Family Department. At University, I volunteered for a charity called IPSEA. IPSEA specialises in special education needs law and my role was to advise parents and students on the law and the responsibility of the local authority to meet their needs’.

What experience can prospective candidates expect in the crime department?

‘In the Crime Department you will be trained to qualify as an Accredited Police Station Representative. This means you will be required to attend police stations across the County to represent clients on a range of different offences. You will also gain first-hand experience with different clients by attending court hearings, sitting in on client meetings and assisting with work on their files.’

What are your typical working hours at a regional firm like Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP?

‘Our normal hours are 9-6 Monday to Friday. However in the Crime Department we always have a representative on call to assist with cases out of hours cases, including weekends.’

What do you enjoy most about your job at Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP?

‘The Crime Department is very varied and no day is the same. I regularly attend different police stations and assist clients in a range of different offences.’

As you know the competition for these jobs is very high, do you have any advice for a student interested in this area of work?

‘Law is a very competitive career which is why is it important to find something that makes you stand out. Training contract applications often focus on your previous work experience, client interaction and extra-curricular activities. It’s important to make sure you have enough information to complete a detailed application and can discuss your experiences in an interview.’

- By Maxwell Short

This article is created by a Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP “Brand Ambassador” who are students and unqualified. The article provides their views on the topic and does not necessarily deal with every important topic or cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not designed to provide legal or other advice and nor does it necessarily reflect the views of this firm.