My Experience in the Student Law Office as an In-House Paralegal

In advance of commencing my year-long module in the Student Law Office (SLO), I was afforded the opportunity to gain employment as an In-House Paralegal Intern at a Global Real Estate Software Company. This allowed me to gain a breadth of practical experience before beginning in the SLO. As a result, I was apprehensive about starting in the SLO. This was because I was not sure whether I would be gaining as much as other students. However, I could not have been any more wrong. My time in the SLO has proven to be an invaluable experience which I believe has prepared me for practice. As a result, this article will discuss the different skills I have gained in the SLO, including how they have helped me in my employment.

We began in September 2021 with Introductory Workshops, helping us prepare for the work we may be expected to conduct once in the SLO. During this period, I was able to gain key skills, particularly in research where we gained an insight into Halsbury’s Laws of England and Practical Law Company. A large majority of the work I conduct in my employment is research for various solicitors and attorneys on issues including, but not limited to, the Gambling Act 2005, China’s privacy laws, the validity of an e-signature, and various other data and contract issues. I have found, thanks to the SLO, my quality of work has increased and is produced in a more time efficient manner.

Furthermore, I found out in early October 2021 that I would be in one of the Business & Commercial firms in the SLO. Despite the insight I thought I had in a commercial world, the SLO has allowed me to carry out research and carry out work I had never previously been exposed to. For example, we have produced work on areas including different business structures, Terms of Use and Conditions of Business, and Cookie Policies. This has afforded us the opportunity to draft documents which we may be required to carry out in practice, receive feedback and in turn produce work to a high-quality standard.

Most significantly, I have found having weekly firm meetings alongside the support of my supervisor one of the most beneficial parts of my experience in the SLO. Each week, it gives everyone the opportunity to contribute to group discussions, something I have struggled with in the past due to a lack of confidence. However, since the regular occurrence of these meetings I have found I am able to confidently contribute to discussions. Not only has this aided my experience in the SLO, but it has particularly helped me in my employment where for the most part I work from home, this has made it easier to sit back in meetings rather than presenting my own thoughts and ideas.

As a result, I recommend anyone who attends Northumbria University and studies Law to utilise the opportunities provided by the SLO, regardless of any previous experience you may have.

This blog post was created by Rebecca Watson, a third year MLaw student at Northumbria University. She is currently working in the Business & Commercial firm within the Student Law Office. After finishing her degree, Rebecca is looking to obtain a training contract and qualify as a solicitor in a commercial firm. Rebecca hopes to take a gap year after completion of her studies and travel!