JOB DESCRIPTION AND PERSON SPECIFICATION
Post title: Social Care Law Paralegal
Hours: 35 hours per week (9.30 – 5.30)
Salary: £20,000 per annum
Annual Leave: 25 Days plus 1 day p.a. for each completed year of service
Place of work: Vauxhall, London (initially working remotely from home)
Department: Social Care (Community Care and Housing)
Responsible to: Head of Legal Aid Practice
Contact for this application:
Asma Bennani, Head of Legal Aid Practice, firstname.lastname@example.org
Closing date: 07/12/2020
About Disability Law Service
We are a small but growing disabled persons organisation – this means that at least 75% of our trustees are disabled people and over 50% of our paid staff are disabled people. We have charitable status.
We provide free legal advice to disabled people and their carers. Established in 1975 we provide advice covering employment, discrimination, welfare benefits, community care, housing and debt. Our advice service is why we are here and is at the heart of what we do. But it is not all that we do.
Our practical experience with our clients together with our legal expertise means that we are well placed to be involved in advocating for changes in laws and policies, whether at our own initiative or in support of other disability charities. Our policy work is supported in Parliament by our patron, Rt. Hon. Sir Ed Davey MP, and we have academic support from another patron, Professor Luke Clements, Cerebra Professor of Law and Social Justice at the School of Law, Leeds University.
We are also involved in the development of technology to improve access to justice and have received a £114,000 grant to develop an online automated legal advice platform in the area of reasonable adjustments for disabled people under the 2010 Equality Act.
Last, but certainly not least, we are a friendly and sociable team.
If the above interests you, then please read on to find out what how you might be able to contribute to Disability Law Service.
Objectives of the position
To provide the paralegal with the opportunity to develop, practise and gain experience in:
- communication skills
- practice support skills
- legal research
- interviewing and advising
- advocacy and oral presentation skills
- dispute resolution
- case & transaction management
To gain training and experience in housing and community care law, covering both contentious and non-contentious work.
For the paralegal to work efficiently and effectively in the conduct of their responsibilities and duties.
Main Responsibilities and Duties
- To deal with calls from clients to the social care team and, as appropriate: provide initial advice, refer to an appropriate member of the social care team or signpost to an external organisation.
- Ensure that all client contacts and advice provided are recorded on the DLS AdvicePro client database.
- To develop and maintain good client relation skills, gaining clients’ confidence and that of other professionals.
- To work and behave in a professional manner and within the higher standards of the profession.
- Comply with procedures set out in the office manual and all professional standards.
- Carry out duties faithfully and diligently and follow all reasonable instructions.
- Treat all information about DLS and its clients as wholly confidential.
- To anticipate and where appropriate respond to clients’ needs and demands
- To participate in the growth and development of DLS.
- To keep up to date with developments in law and practice so that standards of work are not compromised.
- Work within the provisions of DLS policies, including abiding by and implementing DLS’ equal opportunities, file management, Data Protection and health & safety policies.
- Produce reports, as required to show the level, nature and volume of client contacts
- Develop and maintain professional and supportive relationships with all DLS colleagues and any external stakeholders as required.
- Carry out any other reasonable duties commensurate with the post as required from time.
Legal Aid Agency
- Ensure that the requirements of the Legal Aid Agency, Specialist Quality Mark, the requirements of contractual arrangements with the Legal Aid Agency and DLS internal policy are followed in all work conducted.
- Maintain up to date time recording at all times, using the agreed systems.
- Assist with Legal Aid billing.
- You are a disabled person or care for a disabled person.
- You have a Qualifying Law Degree or GDL.
- The ability to give clear, accurate and jargon-free legal advice.
- Able to communicate effectively with others, face to face, on the telephone and able to produce high quality, accurate written notes and letters.
- The ability to work effectively and efficiently under pressure and able to prioritise workloads.
- The ability to provide an efficient, professional and friendly service to clients and colleagues.
- The ability to show initiative – proactively searching for solutions or presenting proposals / ideas for the benefit of the client.
- You should be approachable with good listening and people skills, and an ability to demonstrate empathy. You need to be able to deal with a wide range of people including distressed people, people of all ages, people for whom English is not their first language and people with varied spoken language skills.
- You need to be able to work consistently to a high standard, ensuring that all risk and compliance procedures are followed.
- You will need to be able to work as part of a team in a friendly but efficient atmosphere.
- You will need to be proficient in Microsoft Word and Excel
One or more of the following would be an advantage:
- Experience of computerised case management systems.
- Experience working in the third sector.
- Experience working in a legal environment.
- Experience in working in the Legal Aid sector.
- Experience in Housing and/or Community Care Law.
- An understanding of the social model of disability