How to Become a Paralegal, like Meghan Markle’s Rachel Zane

Cameron Dennis, played by Gary Cole, is the former New York County District Attorney. Jessica sent Harvey to the Manhattan DA’s office to be mentored by Cameron straight after graduating from Harvard Law. He had a history of altering the evidence in cases to ensure high conviction rates, even at the cost of sending the innocent to jail. In season one he makes a deal with the state attorney general’s office to save himself by selling out Harvey.

Yet this really shouldn’t have been such a long-running issue for the pair, since Mike should have been publicly outed as a fraud by the end of Season 1. The skills you gain from being a paralegal will be invaluable to your career as a solicitor i.e. building client relationships, legal drafting, legal research, working in a legal team etc. Unquestionably, the pursuit of a legal training contract is highly competitive and applicants for paralegal vacancies come from all walks of life, including those who have self-funded the LPC or even self-funded both the GDL and the LPC. In the popular American legal drama Suits, Rachel Zane worked as a paralegal at Pearson Hardman for five years, until she gained admission into Columbia Law School and Stanford Law School to read law. She instead chooses the former to preserve her relationship with her then-boyfriend, now-husband Mike Ross, who is distrusting of long-distance relationships. In Season 4, Rachel kissed Logan Sanderswhile she was still in a relationship with Mike; not wanting to hurt his feelings she remained silent about it for a week.

But her former Suits co-star Rick Hoffman shared a throwback photo to a different era of her life, back when she was starring in the USA legal drama. Whilst the promise of a generous salary is a tempting reason to become a trainee solicitor, the flipside is that qualifying is an expensive business. Working in the mailroom of the firm, Harvey impresses named partner Jessica Person enough to convince her of his potential and is sent to Harvard Law on the firm’s expense. After graduating 5th in his class, Harvey returns to the firm and rises up the ranks until he is promoted to named partner alongside Jessica. To actual legal professionals, though, these scenes look hilariously anachronistic.

Rachel has proven herself invaluable — she has her own office with a view and is regarded as the best researcher at law firm Pearson Hardman. She swoops in to save the day for the lawyers she works with on a regular basis, something that several paralegals told TheWrap they can relate to. Just as nurses are indispensable to a hospital, so are paralegals indispensable to a law firm. Robert Zane, played by Wendell Pierce, is Rachel’s father, a well known Harvard-educated attorney and former classmate of Daniel Hardman, who is a name partner at Rand, Kaldore and Zane, a powerful and respected New York law firm and a Pearson Hardman competitor. Rachel doesn’t like to let people know she is his daughter, choosing instead to prove she can make it in the legal profession without his help. Robert has not been very supportive of Rachel’s endeavors, especially when her test anxiety kept her from passing the LSAT, and he has on more than one occasion suggested that she choose another career path.

Though, unlike Suits, most law firms will not lean towards one law school in particular. Suits is correct in portraying Pearson Spector as paying for their staff to attend law school. Many law firms, such as CMS Cameron McKenna or Dentons, will fund course fees and provide upwards of £5,000 for maintenance. However, not every law orglink shsu firm will pay and even those that do will only select certain candidates for such a program. Rachel Zane, on the other hand has a far tougher time in attending law school. Working as a paralegal for five years due to the fact that she does not test well and has failed the bar, Racheal eventually succeeds and attends Columbia Law.

Edward Darby, played by Conleth Hill, is managing partner of Darby International, a law firm headquartered in London. He is Jessica’s newly named managing partner as of the season 2 finale, following a successful merger of Pearson Hardman and Darby International. This was not only in recognition of Jessica’s contingent having been there originally, but also that Pearson’s staff, clients and influence make up the majority of the combined firm’s presence in New York.

Cornett noted that a paralegal’s salary “can increase to match an attorney’s salary,” and has the bonus of not having years of law school to pay off. “A paralegal’s hourly billing rate can exceed some attorney’s billing rates, depending on experience,” she said. The role of a paralegal varies from law firm to law firm but generally paralegals assist and support qualified fee earners with transactions. However, if is the Pearson Specter Litt to your Rachel Zane, I would suggest applying directly for a vacation scheme or a training contract as the paralegal route is not a ‘back-door’ to selection as a future trainee solicitor. Having taken the employment law elective on the LPC and spoken to graduate recruitment, the same performance metric will need to be applied to all applications for vacation schemes and training contracts.

Mike eventually convinces her, but she declines to answer any questions as she intended. She tries to say that she cannot answer with a simple yes or no, but Louis aggressively pursues a simple answer. When Harvey comes to her defense and ends the questioning, she leaves without a word and is later furious with Mike for not anticipating that Louis would ask such a question. At the end of the episode “High Noon”, when it is revealed that Hardman forged and planted the document that Donna allegedly signed, Harvey resolves to get Donna her job back.