Baker & McKenzie insists paralegal applicants must be two-year qualified solicitors

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By Alex Aldridge on

Now you have to be a qualified lawyer to get a non-qualified job


The City of London office of Baker & McKenzie has illustrated just how much recruitment bargaining power top law firms have by demanding that paralegal applicants must be two-year qualified solicitors.

In an extraordinary advert spotted today by one of our law student spies, the global firm — which is currently the world’s largest by revenue — seeks a solicitor with a minimum of “two years [sic] post qualification experience or equivalent” to fill a four-month fixed term paralegal contract in its London litigation department.

The advert can be viewed below:


The move follows research released at the end of last year showing increasing numbers of law graduates working as paralegals before doing training contracts.

Indeed, the survey from the Junior Lawyers Division of the Law Society found that 60% of wannabe lawyers went through paralegal purgatory. But the idea of solicitors being effectively relegated to non-qualified roles AFTER QUALIFICATION is a new and worrying development.

Still, with training contract numbers falling to 5,097 last year while the amount of students graduating from the Legal Practice Course rose to 6,171, it’s evident that the rookie lawyer market is saturated. Under such conditions, why not, as an employer, try to bring in the best-qualified paralegals in town?

Last year, Baker & McKenzie announced record global revenues of nearly £1.63 billion. The firm has not yet responded to Legal Cheek‘s request for comment.

UPDATE 14:45 — A spokesperson for Baker & McKenzie told Legal Cheek:

Like all large City law firms, we use paralegals for particular project work based on client and business needs. It has been commonplace for many years for qualified lawyers, particularly internationally qualified lawyers in London, to take on short-term paralegal work such as this.

Hat tip to @JackofKent.