This data set contains qualitative data collected on the career and work experiences of paralegals in five UK law firms. It comprises a dataset of 79 interviews with paralegals, lawyers, members of professional bodies and educators across the UK, specifically England and Northern Ireland. The interviews were conducted either in person or on the phone, average around one hour, were audio recorded and transcribed. The interview schedule included questions on their career journeys and critical career moments, how they perceive career mobility and career success as well as the challenges and advantages of their role. In addition, participant drawings from 28 paralegals were collected, where participants were asked to visually express their experience of their role. One of the key developments in professions over the last decade has been the rise of paraprofessional labour. Given the scarcity of research in this area, the aim of this ESRC Future Research Leader's project is to investigate how paraprofessionals experience working and making a career in contemporary professional environments. Specifically, it focuses on how paraprofessionals experience and attempt to reconcile the tensions of being situated in a changing professional world, characterised by technologicalisation and commodification on one hand, and traditional ways of organising, based on professional expertise and privileged status, on the other. The insights generated will be particularly relevant for the understanding of contemporary professional work and professional careers for both, academics and practitioners.
Date made available24 Mar 2020
PublisherUK Data Service
Date of data production1 Feb 2017 - 31 Jul 2019
Geographical coverageUnited Kingdom

Cite this