Job roles in law firms – working in civil litigation (contractual disputes)

This article is part of our Job roles in law series which explores some of the legal sector’s practice areas and the associated job roles which may offer a starting point for someone looking to start a career in law.


This area of law is very wide-ranging and covers any possible dispute arising out of a breach of contract affecting both individuals and organisations. An individual may be seeking repayment of money for a car sold under warranty that turns out to be defective, or may wish to withhold payment from a builder about the quality of workmanship. An organisation may have a £ multi-million contractual dispute about the delay to a construction project. Law firms often have separate departments to cover different areas, for example construction litigation, property litigation and projects.

What’s involved?

Cases start by clients seeking advice where something has gone wrong and the first step is to gather all the information so that the client can be advised of the best way forward and try to achieve a successful outcome and settlement. Where a dispute cannot be resolved it is necessary to either raise or defend an action in court. This work involves collecting statements and evidence and ensuring that the case progresses through the process according to rules that are laid down for cases in the civil courts.

What jobs are there for non-qualified staff?

Non-qualified staff will work in support of a qualified principal who will delegate tasks including obtaining witness statements, collating evidence and any tasks to do with tracking the case’s progress through the court system.

What job titles will be advertised by recruitment agencies?

Litigation paralegal, commercial litigation paralegal, property litigation paralegal, construction litigation paralegal, contentious paralegal.

What CILEx units will support my application for these job roles?

We recommend that you enrol on courses leading to the CILEx Level 3 Certificate in Law and Practice (Civil Litigation), selecting Contract as the law unit. You will study an introductory unit as well as Contract and Civil Litigation. Have a look at the tables of contents to see what is involved. You will also study two professional skills units.

If you already have a qualifying law degree: achieve your CILEx Graduate Fast-track Diploma by studying Level 6 Civil Litigation, Level 6 Client Care Skills and one other CILEx Level 6 practice unit of your choice, which we recommend should relate to a law unit studied as part of your degree.

What have other students achieved?

Hayley Gaffney works in Dispute Resolution with Coodes Solicitors, having started her working life as an office junior.

Working in dispute resolution – Hayley Gaffney

I started as an Office Junior at a law firm when I left college at the age of 17 and then progressed to being a legal secretary in the Family Department in the same firm. Following maternity leave a few years later, I came to work at Coodes Solicitors as a PA for the Head of the Dispute Resolution Department before then deciding to undertake my studies with CILEx.

March 11th, 2019|
Go to Top