Written by Amelia Smith – Paralegal
Amelia is a Paralegal sitting in our Family Team. In this blog we hear from her about what you could expect on an average day as a Paralegal within the Family Team:
I arrive early at the office for a full day ahead and turn on my computer to check for any emails that have come in overnight. I get my diary out and scan over the notes that I made the day before in terms of my priorities and tasks that need completing during the day. As I split my time between the Exeter office and the Newton Abbot office, this half an hour is a perfect time to file any documentation I might have from the day before.
The office opens and the day officially begins. Emails are flooding in and my phone starts ringing. Upon answering the phone I find it is a client wishing to organise contact arrangements with their children for the upcoming weekend, as they are currently in the ongoing process of child proceedings. I ask the client for their thoughts on the suggested contact and jot this information down whilst on the phone. After obtaining all the relevant information, I am able to draft an official telephone note on our computer system to log the conversation and add this to their file accordingly.
Following on from my last phone call, I must now draft a letter to the other parent’s solicitors to inform them of the plans. This ensures the other side is aware and gives them time to arrange for the children to be made available for contact. The next task on my list is to arrange indirect contact for another of our clients where I will need to coordinate the delivery of letters to their children. Luckily, once complete they can be hand delivered to the other side’s solicitors as they are located within walking distance. I finish drafting the first letter and ask my supervisor to check it. Fortunately, the letter is accurately written so I am able to hand deliver the letter myself, so I walk over to the other side’s solicitors a few doors down from our office to ensure safe delivery.
Upon my return, I am asked by my supervisor to go and see a client who has come in urgently needing an emergency injunction order against their former partner. I immediately go to see the client and obtain all the information I need in order to give them the best chance possible for a successful application. I politely ask the client if they are prepared to wait for an hour whilst I draft and complete all the documentation required for court. As they are happy to do so, I accompany them to reception, ensuring they are in a comfortable area whilst they wait.
I sit back down at my desk and fill out the required application for the injunction order and complete the draft order for the Judge. I also complete a lengthy statement on behalf of the client explaining what has happened and why they need this specific order granted. Once complete, I head back down to reception to ask the client to read over the draft and confirm the contents are correct. Once confirmed, they sign all of the relevant documents so that the application can be made. I quickly head up back to my desk and take copies of all the signed documents to take to court.
Accompanied by my supervisor who will represent the client at court, we collect our client and head down to court. With little delay, we are called in by the Usher for the Judge to hear our matter. My supervisor does an outstanding job of representing the client and an injunction order is made against their partner. With our client happy, we part ways and head back to the office for lunch.
Although a little delayed today, I am now able to take my lunch hour and reflect on a positive morning. It is rare that I am unable to have lunch at the designated time but it is rewarding to know that I have been part of helping someone who really needed it. For an hour delay, it is 100% worth it.
The afternoon begins and, with the order issued, it is now my job to make sure that their former partner receives all the documents from court and are aware of any restrictions. I contact a regularly used process server company and ask them to urgently deliver the documents to the individual. I scan in all the documents and email them across. The process server informs me that they have safely received the documents and subsequently drives to the appropriate location to carry out delivery. Not long after, the process server informs me that they have successfully been delivered to the intended recipient, allowing me to feed this back to our client.
Now that the emergency injunction is completed for now (at least until the return date), I am able to take another look at my diary to see what other tasks need doing before the end of the day. It is also a good opportunity to look at any emails that have come in during my time at court. I have three emails from my supervisor who has asked me to call a few of their clients who would like to speak to someone today. I call them all individually, write down our conversations and log them officially as telephone notes on their respective files. I always aim to advise clients at the time, however, if I am at all unsure, I inform them that I will liaise with my supervisor and get back to them on the matter.
The end of the day is approaching and I need to make sure I have completed everything that I had set out to do today. I take a look back over my diary and tick off what I have accomplished. On days where I have been unable to complete some tasks, I put at the top of my list for tomorrow. Thankfully, it has been another productive day as I have managed to complete everything on my list and more, even with the trip to court.
After tidying up a few last minute bits and ensuring everything is filed away correctly ready for tomorrow morning, it is the end of another enjoyable and rewarding day as a paralegal in the family department.
For more information on alternative routes into Family law, visit https://www.cilex.org.uk/study/legal_practice_areas/family_law