Defining the Canadian paralegal. Defining the Canadian paralegal. In Canada, being a paralegal is highly determined by the province in which you work. Of course, your general role is the same; offering affordable legal services to the firm’s clients. The distinctions in your role will come into play in such details as the level of education needed and to what level you need supervision.
For instance, in Ontario, Bill 14 of the Access to Justice Act makes provision for an independent paralegal to be licensed through the Law Society of Upper Canada. This enables you to represent individuals and businesses in court without being supervised by an attorney of law.
Defining the Canadian paralegal
Conversely, if you work as a paralegal and are otherwise qualified to be a paralegal but are not licensed, Ontario does not recognize you as a paralegal. This is a major factor to consider when deciding which region to work in as a paralegal. It is expected that a licensed paralegal will earn more than the unlicensed one in Ontario, and would earn more recognition and clients.
Roles of a Canadian paralegal
A paralegal has a list of duties that they are expected to play in any organization they work in, or even when they work independently. These include:
- Legal research: a lot goes into a claim. One of the most important parts of ensuring that the claim works is covering all bases. Paralegals are charged with doing the legal research, going through parts of the law that pertain to the claim and ensuring that the claim adheres to all parts of the law.
- Drafting documents: legal practices go through a lot of paperwork on any given day. Some of these legal documents require little to no attention from the attorneys. Paralegals draft the documents needed and avail them to the clients.
- Client interaction: once the presiding attorney makes initial contact with the client and negotiates the fees, a paralegal is then left in charge of taking care of client communication from then on.
Others roles includes:
- Conducting interviews: paralegals handle witness interviews on behalf of the attorneys. In the case where the paralegal is licensed and works in Ontario, they can handle the clients and the interviews, then go on to represent their client in court.
- Helping with transactions: there are some bills that paralegals can effect on behalf of the attorneys. This is because they are best able to do their work if they can pay for some of the services needed in conducting research, interviews and other meetings.
Where can you be employed as a paralegal?
- Law firms: The most common place for paralegals to be employed is law firms in Canada, more so in regions that are highly populated are riddled with courts.
- Corporations with in-house legal departments: Besides law firms, you can find work as a paralegal in corporations and organizations that find the need for having a legal department with the organization. For the most part, such organizations will have a more in-house definition of the role of the paralegal.
- Government: government offices also make use of paralegals, especially in the law department.
- Others: other sources of employment for paralegals include research firms, community legal clinics, process serving agencies, banks, marketing firms as well as financial institutions.
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- Qualities of a Good Process Server
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- What Do Paralegals Do In A Law Firm?