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

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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.



I have recently been pursuing a Paralegal position to gain experience in a firm whilst I decide which career path to follow. I saw this position and was quite shocked by the expectation that there was a requirement to be qualified for at least 2 years. Obviously this is a top firm but what concerns me is if other firms follow suit, making it even more difficult for LLB graduates to find experience whilst pursuing further education and training



Has anyone checked with the firm that this isn’t a mistake? Reads like a copy paste job. Also odd proviso that it doesn’t lead to training contract. Qualified Solicitor wouldn’t need one.



Checked with company and was told it means post graduate experience either LLB or GDL lol what a non story



If this is the case, it’s a classic case of the HR department not doing the kind of thing they savage applicants for forgetting to do. The same people who simply cut-n’-pasted this job ad are the people who simply drop job applications in the bin if they see a single spelling mistake or grammar error, or material that felt too generic.



Your comment did not portray you as one that passed any exams. Didn’t you read the firms’ rejoinder!



Rejoinder? You bell end



If this is a real advert then it appears that large firms are ready to abuse their position of power on a whole new level.

Solicitors (in the early stages of their careers), paralegals and law graduates should perhaps consider emigrating to another common law system, because it is getting completely ridiculous here.


Old solicitor

Solicitors in their later stages should perhaps as well.



It is legit. See the comment from the firm. The advert is here:



FYI Latham is the world’s largest firm by revenue.


Not Amused

This is pretty bad behaviour. The role will just be to handle doc review and disclosure on a big case. That’s always been done by unqualified people before. The fact that they think they *can* get a qualified person to do it is disturbing and obviously to be condemned.


barney law

all down to money and it is a fact of life



This is ridiculous. Who do they think they are honestly ?


barney law

what is to stop them????



The Firm obviously want a fully qualified lawyer on a fixed term contract but don’t want to pay the fees involved in that. Instead they demand the qualifications and experience but are unwilling to pay the salary that should go along with it. They know they can exploit the market when there are many people looking for work and will pay as little as possible. They call it a Paralegal role to get away with what one can only assume is a low salary.


barney law

Over subscribed profession and this is the case in all common law jurisdictions
people really need to be realistic and think before investing a lot of money and time. Also, a lot of routine legal work is being shipped out to India or as it termed
legal process outsourcing (LPO) .



This is bizarre – the SRA rules are that if a person is a qualified solicitor then even if they join a law firm purely as the accounts manager or even as a receptionist or tea boy then they must have a valid practice certificate and complete any required CPD – or they must apply to come off the roll. There is no saving in overheads except for salary levels.



Whether this is a typo or not, the reality is that without the LPC or BPTC, getting a paralegal role is next to impossible. GDL graduates, take note.



Read the article and the quote from Baker & McKenzie. It’s not a typo.



The only thing that is odd is job title. Why call them to paralegal? Why not locum lawyer/associate? The work/pay would be typical for this position



Makes a mockery of the paralegal qualifications too.



And I thought I was beyond paralegal purgatory having got my TC.



…and the child labour that is paralegalling is perpetuated even further. I have been saying for ages. The market is what applicants accept. Law grads and Baby lawyers need to stop accepting position we are overqualified for. Take back control of the market!!



And do what instead? Work in a different profession? Become unemployed? Paralegalling is out necessity. Those who become paralegals do so because that is the best they can do at that particular time



What did you expect from a sweatshop like Baker & McKenzie anyway? Seems like a dodged some bullet by refusing their TC offer a few years ago… The offices looked shite too.



I saw this earlier and was perplexed! Has anyone else noticed that some paralegal posts are reserved only for those lucky ones who already have secured a TC for another firm for 2016/7? What’s that about!? As if those people need to do anymore to secure their career!



So essentially it’s just the waiting game. To score a tc from paragliding days ie.


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