Without paralegals, the legal profession would be a very different place. They provide valuable assistance to lawyers and clients alike, carrying out a wide range of tasks from trial preparation to drafting contracts. Given that many paralegals are early career professionals, mentorship is extremely important in helping to enhance their career trajectory. We recently spoke to Andrew Kane from the Paralegal Centre of Excellence to see how he views his role as a mentor to the firm’s paralegals.

What is the Paralegal Centre of Excellence (PCoE)?

Before we get to the interview, it makes sense to summarise what the PCoE actually is. In short, it is a team of more than 120 paralegals based within the Vario group, who can offer support to legal teams across a range of different disciplines and projects. Some of the work the paralegals do will be bespoke tasks, but others (such as licences for alterations) have playbooks which act as step-by-step guides for the work required.

Ultimately, the PCoE benefits all parties involved. Clients are happy because their work can be carried out quickly due to the increased capacity the paralegals provide, but costs are kept at a sensible level because tasks can be carried out at an appropriate level. Fee earners also benefit because their ability to delegate work frees them up to spend more of their time on high-level and/or strategic legal work. Crucially though, the paralegals also win. They get exposure to a range of legal issues, within a system that allows them to be independent whilst still having access to support from more experienced professionals.

Our Interview with Andrew

Do you consider yourself to be a mentor to the paralegals?

Absolutely. I often equate what we do to an old-fashioned saying about apprentices – you bring on a boy and you put out a man. We have a lot of young graduates in the team, a lot of people for whom this is their first “proper” job and there’s a lot more to my role than simply teaching them about the law.

Do you think the paralegals consider you to be a mentor?

I would certainly like to think they do. I believe that a lot of the team look up to me and value my advice and guidance. 

Do you view yourself as a leader and if so, what style of leadership do you think works best with the paralegals?

I do see myself as one of the leaders of the team. With such a large cohort, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to leadership. I have undertaken a lot of training through Pinsent Masons Academy to develop my leadership skills and a lot of that has focussed on managing diverse groups. The key is to be able to recognise and adapt your leadership style to the individuals in your team

To what extent do you encourage/assist paralegals in furthering their legal career?

I have on-going conversations with the team about their ambitions, how they can work towards achieving those and how Pinsent Masons (and I personally) can support them. Whether someone wants to go on to secure a TC and qualify, or whether they want to carve themselves out a career as a paralegal (as I have done), I am committed to helping them. Last year I asked our Future Trainee cohort to arrange some workshops for those applying for the internal TC and we went on to have great success across the team. 

What are 3 tips you would give to a paralegal looking to join the PCoE?

1. Make sure your CV is flawless – we are looking for people with good attention to detail and so CVs that contain typos, rogue bullet points or other formatting issues really put us off. 

2. Make yourself stand out – with the best will in the world, everyone we will see has (broadly) the same qualifications, has been involved in the same societies and clubs and has done their Duke of Edinburgh. You need something that will set you apart from the crowd. 

3. Get yourself some retail work experience – I really value retail experience on a CV. It demonstrates to me that someone has a strong work ethic and knows what hard work is. If you can survive retail, you can survive working in a law firm.

What advice would you give to a paralegal who is looking to get a Training Contract?

Build a positive personal brand around the firm – be known for all the right reasons. You can do this by working hard and delivering a good service to the people you support. You can also do this by going the extra mile, getting involved in extra-curricular activities, such as the firm’s CSR programme or one of the various office committees or network groups. Being part of a committee or network is a fantastic way to get yourself in front of senior leaders within the firm and build relationships outside of your own team.


Mentorship is an invaluable resource to the newer members of the legal profession and the PCoE is a great example of how this can be applied in practice. It falls within our Managed Legal Services offering and if you would like to find out more, you can do so here.



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