Advancing as a Paralegal in Three Steps



Advancing in your career is a natural thing to do, but it doesn’t happen by chance. You have to put in a certain amount of effort to get to the next stage. Other people want to advance as well, and it’s up to you to stand out that little bit more. You can go from legal assistant to paralegal if you know what steps to take.


To become a legal assistant in the first place you may have completed a Certificate III in Business Administration (Legal). This qualification teaches the basics of working in a law office. This includes filing procedures, legal terminology and processes, rapid typing and basic etiquette.

There are other qualifications that students may choose to take on that will advance them in their career. These two options are the Certificate IV in Legal Services and the Diploma of Legal services. These qualifications are undertaken by those who want to work as an assistant at a more “executive” level. The Diploma is aimed towards those who want to do more comprehensive work in the legal field but not in a lawyer’s capacity.


You can’t get far without it. A legal assistant learns from their first day and the only way is up. It’s one thing to learn in a classroom but experiencing the ins and outs of the office is a practical education that will set you up for success.  

Generally, the advice for those undergoing training is to find an office that offers work experience opportunities. However, you must look carefully as some workplaces only use trainees as glorified coffee-runners.

Find a mentor

Making friends or networking consistently is a good way to find someone who has experience and is willing to share it.

A good place to start is with the receptionists behind the desks or the assistants to the lawyers in the office. Depending on their attitudes and schedules, they may gladly show an eager student the ropes.


Photo credit: Mays Business School via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND