Life as a Paralegal

Ever wondered about becoming a paralegal? Working as a paralegal is one of the most rewarding jobs that can offer you various career opportunities. It is a career that could give you the chance to help others, primarily when they are suffering through one of the most challenging experiences of their lives. Not to mention, it also enables you to embark on further law studies and opens the door to becoming a lawyer one day.

What exactly is a Paralegal?

A paralegal plays an integral part in any law firm or legal services company. The duties and tasks of a paralegal are very broad, which allows a person to build up a lot of experience. A paralegal can do anything in a law firm, other than representing a person in court and giving direct legal advice.

Reasons to become a Paralegal

There’s high demand- the industry growth for paralegals is on the up and up, which means you have an excellent chance of finding a job (always a good thing!). Thanks to the relatively short education period to qualify as a paralegal, you will find yourself up for grabs in no time.

It’s a good trial run-  pursuing a law degree is a big commitment and can be very expensive.  So deviating slightly from that particular path and training and working as a paralegal will help you test the legal waters and see if it is the career for you.  Or, you might find that being a paralegal is what you were meant to do!  It’s a win-win situation.

It’s challenging and fast-paced-  being a paralegal is hard, but exciting work.  You’ll be tasked with handling a significant workload and juggling multiple cases.  In short, there’ll barely be a dull moment, and you will be kept on your toes and on top of your game.

Helping others-  as a paralegal, you can make a significant difference in people’s lives.  Depending on the department you choose, you will assist with protecting those that cannot protect themselves.  This can range from other people to wildlife even.

The bigger picture-  because you will be analysing and applying the rule of law, you play an essential role in ensuring that justice is served.  The valuable work that you do will be used by lawyers to win cases, impact people and influence the function of government.

Job Opportunities for a Paralegal?

  • In community- based advice offices run by community organisations or NGOs
  • Employment by a government department or a non-government organisation
  • Working in labour law consultancies or for trade unions
  • Employment by a legal practitioner or law firm
  • Self-employed as a paralegal practitioner or legal consultant
  • Employment in a banking, insurance or other corporate environment
  • The Minister of Police has recently indicated that the South African Police Services will be looking to employ Paralegals to assist in police stations throughout the country

How to Become a Paralegal?

To become a paralegal, you have to complete an accredited paralegal diploma or certificate. Always make sure that you register with a reputable training provider and check that the paralegal programme you have enrolled for is registered under SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority).

You can enroll for The Institute of Legal Practice Development and Research’s National Certificate in Paralegal Practice, which offers you updated content that promises to bring you to the forefront of paralegal studies. The Institute of Legal Practice offers a bespoke experience with a special focus on practice. The course is registered with the National Qualification’s Framework at Level 5 (NQF5). The Institute of Legal Practice is accredited by SASSETA to provide training and learner assessment(SAQA ID: 97228).

How Much Does a Paralegal Certificate Cost?

A paralegal certificate can cost you anything from R20 000 – R40 000. Be careful of enrolling at places that offer it for less as the quality might be very low or it might only be a short-course. At The Institute of Legal Practice, the course is R27 000 and includes all study materials. The Institute of Legal Practice also offers the option to pay as you go, which means you pay per module, each module costing R4000.

Part-Time Paralegal studies?

You can do the Paralegal certificate full time or part time. If you do it part-time, it will take you up to 2 years to complete. The important thing to remember about studying at The Institute of Legal Practice is that you study at your own pace with excellent support from knowledgeable instructors and staff. Most students should finish the Certificate within a year if they are committed.

Requirements to Become a Paralegal?

You would need to have completed grade 12 (Matric) or the equivalent thereof. Please contact us as we could assist if you do not have a Matric, but have experience or other competencies.

For more information about The Institute of Legal Practice, Development & Research, or to enroll for one of the innovative law courses or workshops, visit


Here’s what the class of 2017 had to say:


I knew nothing whatsoever about the paralegal world or law field and looking back from where I came from it has been an amazing learning journey as a student in South Africa. Yes, it has not been easy, but I feel very proud of myself as student that I have taken in so much that I had never thought capable of.

I didn’t think twice about applying for the National Paralegal Certificate. I said God’s timing is the best and I guess I have always been destined to be a lawyer or rather to be in the law field/legal industry in South Africa. Here I am today, I am able to assist lawyers when dealing with a matter, they would ask how would I attend to a particular matter let it be labour, divorce, maintenance, etc. And that on its own humbles me. I have had my fair share the pressure, the good times especially when you understand what you doing and what it’s going to benefit you.

In a nutshell it has been a humbling experience having had the opportunity to assist people that have no legal background and no clue on where to start with their legal matters. I am grateful.



I am happy I enrolled for the National Paralegal Certificate at the Institute of Legal Practice, it has definitely opened my eyes, I see law if a totally different perspective in South Africa. Knowledge is Power.

Along with the education we receive, the ILPDR’s Paralegal course really opened my eyes to what is possible and what I can achieve in the future. It has given me the confidence to fulfil my goals and improve my marks with each module, moving forward I have the confidence to take on any challenge placed before me, I can strive for anything I put my mind to.
Thank you ILPDR 🙂


This paralegal course has been an exciting journey, it has changed the way I view my problems and go about navigating through problems I come across. Also I now know how to tackle problems, deal better with clients. There is a lot of knowledge that we have to go through, and may be heavy at times though the rewards are visible when the lawyers I work for are asking me for advice or to weigh in on legal matters as the knowledge is fresh in my mind.

Want to know if you should be a Paralegal in 2018?

Take our online quiz to see if you are the right match for a career in law. Click here for the quiz.


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