Knott another blog: A Day in the Life of a Family Law Paralegal (Working from Home Edition!)
By Jesca Knott, Paralegal, Family Law Team
Hi, I am Jesca Knott, I joined Cullimore Dutton as a Paralegal in the Family Law team earlier this year and I’m sharing these brief insights into life as the new girl. Today, in my sixth and final edition, I take you through a day in the life of a Paralegal.
I like to start my day a little earlier to respond to any emails which have come in, I also organise my to-do list for the day ahead. I find that it’s really important to plan out my day and make sure I am prepared for any urgent deadlines which need to be met.
But first, coffee!
My line manager, Brenda Spain and I have our daily training over Zoom, during which we discuss a number of ongoing cases and list any tasks which need completing.
From a training perspective we work through a list of Family law procedures and processes. Specifically, we discuss an application for a Decree Nisi (a certificate granted when the court is satisfied that the legal and procedural requirements to obtain a divorce have been met). The Decree Absolute which finalises a Divorce cannot be granted until at least six weeks and one day after the Decree Nisi. These timings and dates are critical in Family law. As a key part of my training I am keen to take lots of notes during these sessions.
We have a daily Family Law team meeting which also takes place over Zoom. During this meeting, we discuss any upcoming, urgent deadlines and the general workload within the team. It is so important to stay in the loop with everybody and Brenda will use this meeting to share any firm-wide news.
The Consultant Solicitor in our team, Susan Alexander has asked me to sit in on a Zoom Conference with a client and Barrister prior to an upcoming hearing.
My role is to take notes during the conference to ensure we have an accurate record of what has been discussed. Following the conference, Susan and I have a debrief over the phone and she explains the importance of ensuring the client fully understands what is going on during such conferences. It is so important not to overuse legal jargon and to explain things clearly to clients.
I grab some lunch and go for a quick walk as the sun is shining, it’s nice to get some fresh air!
I type up the notes from this morning’s Zoom Conference. It is important to do this with the meeting fresh in my mind, I then ensure that both the client and the Barrister have access to them.
I have been asked to draft a Form C100 – an application to the Court to make arrangements in relation to a child. These arrangements may include where a child is to stay during the week or how holidays will be divided between parents.
I liaise with our client to ensure that the application covers their objectives. I then send a draft copy to the appointed solicitor working on the case for their input, before sending a copy to the client for their approval. Once approved by all parties this application can be sent to the court.
We have a bundle of papers to prepare and share with both the Court and an opposing party’s Solicitor for an upcoming Court Hearing.
An index has been provided so my role is to get the documentation together and paginate it. This is a task which would historically have been completed while stood at the office printer, however, we now have access to software which enables me to put the bundle together electronically, so this can now be completed from home.
I have a few chasing phone calls to make before 5pm.
These include chasing the Court for some outstanding paperwork and following up with several Barrister’s Chambers to appoint Barristers for our clients. It is important to choose the right Barrister for your client and we must ensure that our clients are aware of the Barrister’s fee estimate – which is separate to our fees. As part of these calls I will confirm this estimate to discuss later with our client.
At the end of the day, I take some time to respond to any new emails and check my to-do list to make sure there is nothing outstanding. If necessary, I will also take this time to update the online calendar with any important dates that may have come in from the Court during the day.
As I am sure you can see from this brief insight, my day contains an array of different tasks and I really enjoy how varied the work is. No two days are ever the same!
I hope you have enjoyed these short insights into my life as a paralegal, I have certainly enjoyed creating them. Look out for similar posts from my colleagues over the coming weeks and months.
Get in touch with Cullimore Dutton Solicitors on 01244 356 789 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note: This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.