The Institute of Paralegals is extremely proud of the diversity of the paralegal community
Michael Conroy A.Inst.Pa, Environment Advisor, Aggregate Industries UK LTDHe thought that he didn’t want to be sitting in a JCB for the rest of his life…
Shanice Bulmer Q.Inst.Pa, Paralegal, Cuff & Gough LLPShe started working for Cuff and Gough solicitors as Paralegal, and it soon became clear that it was exactly what she wanted to do.
Virgilio Cervantes F.Inst.Pa, Paralegal, Invicta ParalegalWhilst balancing his studies to become a paralegal Virgilio worked at Heathrow Airport…
MICHAEL CONROYS'S MEMBER PROFILEPromoting, developing and representing the paralegal profession
Following the birth of his first son in 2010, Michael sat in his JCB loading truck. He thought that he didn’t want to be doing this for the rest of his life. Operating machinery had already been a big part of his career up to that point, but he felt it was time for a change and set himself a target of a career change by the time he reached 40.
This kick-started his drive to re-educate himself, which began with a six-year degree in environment and economics. During this first part of his journey he was still working full-time, and he welcomed twins boys into the world whilst managing his job and studying at the same time. Michael remembers night feeds with 2 bottles in 1 hand and a book in the other studying at 4 am before going to work.
Knowing he wanted to progress into an environment-based role, Michael started to make job inquiries before his degree was due to finish but with little initial success. But he never gave up! As each avenue closed, he changed direction and eventually found a role as an Environment Advisor.
Michael soon realised how much influence the legal side of the environment would play in the role and relished it. Wanting to know more he found a distance learning course in Environmental Law and Practice. Michael has considered going on to become a solicitor however has decided not to pursue this option.
Michael commented “I enjoy being at the 'coal face of the profession' dealing with the legal aspects before it all goes wrong or has just gone wrong and a regulator is involved. I’d heard of the role of paralegals and having done some research I found that it covered a myriad of different roles. I contacted the IoP and was pleased to be told that I was eligible for membership”.
Michael is currently an Associate member at IoP, who will be a qualified member on graduation from his LLM, specialising in environmental law. Michael is proud to be a paralegal and he is looking forward to where his paralegal career will take him in the future. The Institute is proud of Michael’s achievements in the profession.
Michael commented “I enjoy being at the 'coal face of the profession' dealing with the legal aspects before it all goes wrong or has just gone wrong and a regulator is involved. I’d heard the role of paralegal and having done some research I found that it covered a myriad of different roles. I contacted the IoP and was pleased to be told that I was eligible for membership."
SHANICE BULMER'S MEMBER PROFILEPromoting, developing and representing the paralegal profession
Mid-way through her GCSE's, Shanice fell pregnant at 16. Although she had always been passionate about law it seemed an almost impossible task to pursue a paralegal career at that point in her life. When Shanice’s daughter turned three, she decided it was time to follow her dreams.
Shanice found that the Open University ran an LLB Honours course and started studying part- time for two years. She started working for Cuff and Gough solicitors as Paralegal, and it soon became clear that it was exactly what she wanted to do…
Shanice spent the next few years balancing working full- time and studying whilst juggling motherhood. Shanice joined the Institute of Paralegals (IOP) to be part of a community for like-minded paralegal professionals. She has now finished her degree and is excited to progress her level of membership to Fellow of the IOP. Shanice commented, “It’s been a difficult and emotional few years, but with hard work and determination, I have proved that anything is possible”.
Shanice is proud to be a paralegal, and we are proud to have her as a member of the Institute.
Shanice commented “It’s been a hard and emotional few years but with hard work and determination anything is possible”.
Trish Coutts' MEMBER PROFILEPromoting, developing and representing the paralegal profession
Hard work and dedication has seen a one-time office junior being admitted as a Fellow of the Institute of Paralegals.
Theresa ‘Trish’ Coutts, who has worked at Phillips Solicitors for 21 years, has gained her credentials to become a paralegal. She started work at Phillips Solicitors when she was 17 and Soon after joining the firm, she did an evening A-level law course at Queen Mary’s College in Basingstoke.
Trish progressed well and eventually became a legal secretary working in the Residential Property team where she found she had a particular aptitude to liaising with clients, while handling administrative tasks in a high-pressure environment.
Reflecting on her time at Phillips, Trish said: “I feel the firm has given me opportunities to progress. The work can be demanding at times, partly because of the high volume of work we deal with in the Residential Property team. The work can be full on while at the same time as dealing with the pressure of deadlines, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Trish commented “I have been a Fellow of the Institute of Paralegals for a year and feel proud to be a member of a well-respected professional body that has helped me progress my career.
In fact, I value very highly the career advice and training I have received through the IOP, which has given me more confidence and knowledge with the work I do. I also appreciate the free webinars, the daily e-news legal updates and the monthly New Law Journal which helps keep me abreast of changes and current thinking in my legal world.
I certainly don’t think I would be where I am now without the IoP”.
Virgilio Cervantes' MEMBER PROFILEPromoting, developing and representing the paralegal profession
Virgilio Cervantes studied law at the Universidade Católica Portuguesa in Porto. Virgilio moved to the UK in 2007 with a background in Civil law and started his paralegal career by providing supervised pro-bono advice. He went on to achieve an LLB (Hons) degree from the Open University and became a Fellow of the Institute of Paralegals (IOP) in 2018.
Whilst balancing his studies to become a paralegal Virgilio worked at Heathrow Airport as a Ticketing and Reservations Officer and was responsible for ensuring compliance with IATA, CAA, ICAO and EASA regulations, standards, and recommended practices. This led him to complete a degree in international tourism at the University of West London which later influenced his passion for business compliance management. This paved the way for his paralegal career specialising in Data Protection law.
Virgilio worked for several organisations in the private, pubic and voluntary sectors specialising in risk and compliance. He gained a Data Protection Officer Professional Certification at the University of Maastricht and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in law at the University of Reading focusing on EU Data Protection and Privacy law.
Virgilio is proud to be a paralegal and commented “the valuable support of the Institute of Paralegals, which I consider to be an amazing institution, is always happy to help their members. The IoP offered me unique personal development opportunities and access to a fantastic network of fellow members. Without it, I would not have got to the position I am in today”. The Institute is proud to have Virgilio as a member and hope to continue to be a support for your future achievements.
Virgilio commented “The valuable support of the Institute of Paralegals, which I consider to be an amazing institution, is always happy to help their members. The IoP offered me unique personal development opportunities and access to a fantastic network of fellow members. Without it, I would not have got to the position I am in today”