Supporter In Focus: Professional Paralegal Register

In a series of Supporters in Focus pieces, we are thrilled to introduce our supporters of The British Wills & Probate Awards 2020.

This year the awards will recognise a sector which has tackled the challenges presented by Covid-19 head on. Alongside headline sponsor Arken.Legal, we look forward to recognising achievement, highlighting progression and championing innovation.

This week, we profile Young Practitioner of the Year sponsors, Professional Paralegal Register.

We’re delighted to have the Professional Paralegal Register on board with the third year of The British Wills & Probate Awards. First of all, tell us who you are and what you do

The Professional Paralegal Register (PPR) is a voluntary register and regulator to promote professional paralegals as a recognised fourth arm of the legal profession and to enhance consumer choice and protection. The PPR was launched at the House of Lords in 2014 and has been developed in direct response to the Legal Education and Training Review (LETR) that recommended a body should come forward to Regulate Paralegals who are working outside of a regulated sector.

Paralegals who are on the Register are regulated in terms of their professional conduct however, Professional Paralegals who hold a Paralegal Practising Certificate (PPC) are fully regulated to offer legal services to consumers. Paralegals on our register have shown their commitment to raising the standards of their profession and providing consumer protection through a voluntary regulator.

With the changing regulatory landscape we are seeing more Will writers seeking regulation, and would encourage Will writers and their professional bodies to contact us.

What have PPR been doing over the past 9 months since The British Wills & Probate Awards 2019?

It is clear that technology and automation will continue to have an impact on the legal services sector. Going forward, we will inevitably see increased investments in technology and AI, which means more automated processes. The so-called “digital revolution” is rapidly changing the world of work and in turn, disrupting professional services. Organisations are being forced to evolve to avoid being negatively impacted by advancements in technology, and firms providing legal services will need to ensure they are constantly adapting, investing in technology, and transforming their processes in order to grow.

Aside from technological developments which are impacting the legal sector, law firms also need to ensure they adopt innovative and entrepreneurial approaches, change their ways of working with flexible working options and remote working, and work towards embracing change in an uncertain landscape.

Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, what do you think is the biggest challenge the sector has faced over the last 12 months?

The Covid-19 challenge is unprecedented, both for the economy and for aspects of the legal sector. It will show that a business needs to be able to assess its legal obligations and strategically align technology, systems and processes to enable simple things like finding and analysing legal contracts quickly and efficiently. It will help drive transformation of the ‘operating model’ for the delivery of legal services – from the way teams are structured, how they operate and the architecture of systems and tools that support the delivery of services. This is the time to be there, truly, for your clients. Their business context has shifted dramatically, presenting unprecedented challenges

Because health, wellness and safety have become top priorities for every firm, the workplace itself looks and feels different in early phases of recovery and into the foreseeable future. As an industry traditionally known to be office-based firms need to be quick to adapt if they have any chance of keeping their head above the water. Technology clearly has a role to play in ensuring law firms’ employees can successfully work from home and keep up with the changing risk landscape. However, what it also comes down to is a change in mindset. Once law firms have the technology and infrastructure in place to support remote working, they must ensure they have the culture to fully embrace it. The legal industry is built upon years of tradition so adapting to this change may take some time. However, as the Covid-19 pandemic has shown, business need to be quick to adapt, and so it is up to the legal sector to take up the baton and put trust in this new way of working.

And what innovations were you seeing in the market?

It is clear that technology and automation will continue to have an impact on the legal services sector. Going forward, we will inevitably see increased investments in technology and AI, which means more automated processes. The so-called “digital revolution” is rapidly changing the world of work and in turn, disrupting professional services. Organisations are being forced to evolve to avoid being negatively impacted by advancements in technology, and firms providing legal services will need to ensure they are constantly adapting, investing in technology, and transforming their processes in order to grow.

Aside from technological developments which are impacting the legal sector, law firms also need to ensure they adopt innovative and entrepreneurial approaches, change their ways of working with flexible working options and remote working, and work towards embracing change in an uncertain landscape.

What has the impact of the Coronavirus meant for PPR?

The PPR was due to hold the National Paralegal Awards ceremony on 27th March in central London. This was the second year for the awards following the success of the inaugural awards in 2019. The popularity of this years event meant that we had to move to a much larger venue to accommodate the 275 attendees.

However following government guidelines in relation to Covid-19 we were left with no other option but to postpone the event. Despite this set back and still unable to run physical events we will be running the virtually. We have the support of a full production team to produce a fantastic event. We may not be able to meet in person to raise a glass of champagne however we were determined not to let Covid-19 prevent us from celebrating a list of outstanding finalists!

We are looking forward to the event which now takes place on Friday 18 September.

Thank you to PPR for their support for The British Wills & Probate Awards 2020.

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