In principle, many applicants as paralegals ask themselves what school leaving certificate is necessary. There is no general rule here. However, it is generally recommended that at least a secondary school leaving certificate has been obtained. However, some law firms, especially those with an international orientation, also require a high school diploma.
More important than leaving school: the skills
As so often in life, the school-leaving certificate plays an important role in overcoming the entry hurdle at all. Ultimately, however, it regularly depends on what an applicant’s actual knowledge and skills are.
It is particularly important for the profession as a paralegal that the German language is very well mastered. In the course of your work as a paralegal, you will mainly write briefs. These are intended for the court, the other party, the own client or other parties involved in proceedings. They must therefore be drafted correctly. So anyone who has written unpleasant dictations at school may not be suited to the profession of legal assistant.
In many law firms, however, it is still standard practice to work predominantly according to dictation. In this respect, it might only hurt if you have written unpleasant dictations, less if you were bad with the essays.
Basic mathematical skills are also necessary in order to work as a legal assistant. It is also important in this respect that the diploma at least reflects the fact that arithmetic is generally mastered.
Soft skills as a paralegal are crucial
Apart from these formal school qualifications, however, it is usually also crucial that you are empathic, can interact well with other people and can work responsibly. Working in a law firm involves numerous deadlines and responsible tasks that must be handled reliably at all times.
Moreover, it is always an advantage if you have computer skills. Most work nowadays takes place on the computer and the use of common programs, such as Microsoft Word, is absolutely required.
Many law firms also use their own programs specially developed for lawyers. Even if no one expects these programs to be fully mastered, a certain basic understanding of computer activities does no harm.
Shortening of training with better school-leaving qualifications possible
Moreover, a higher school leaving certificate can also have a positive effect if training as a legal assistant is to be shortened. In principle, the training period is three years. With an intermediate level education, the training period can only be shortened by six months. However, if you have an Abitur, you can even shorten it by up to 12 months. Even if the advanced technical college entrance qualification has been obtained, a shortening of up to 12 months is possible.
As soon as the training as a legal assistant is successfully completed, the school leaving certificate often fades into the background anyway. Then it often depends more on what relevant professional experience has already been gained, what job references of previous employers have turned out and what the applicant’s overall appearance is. In addition, job advertisements are often designed in such a way that they place greater demands on the applicant than are actually necessary. In this respect, you should never be deterred by information in the job advertisement if you think that you can also convince an employer with your personality and your knowledge.
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