What are paralegals, and how can they help me?

 

Written by on July 13, 2016

This question is more common than I expected when I began practising as a licenced paralegal in 2014. I was genuinely surprised how many people were unsure of what exactly a paralegal is and what legal issues a paralegal can help with.

What is a paralegal?

A paralegal is not a lawyer. A paralegal is a legal professional who is licenced and insured to provide legal services in Ontario, but only in specific legal areas. Paralegals are regulated by The Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC), which is the same regulatory body that regulates lawyers.

In order to be licenced as a paralegal, an individual must complete a paralegal/legal services education program approved by the LSUC, as well as complete the Paralegal Licensing Process which includes a licencing examination. A paralegal is also required to carry liability insurance approved by the Law Society of Upper Canada, as well as complete yearly professional development programs to ensure our knowledge and skills stay current.

What can a paralegal help me with?

While lawyers are able to assist clients in all areas of law, paralegals are restricted to practising only in certain areas. Generally, a paralegal can represent in the following areas:

  • Small Claims Court – civil matters up to $25,000
  • Administrative Tribunals – such as the Landlord and Tenant Board, Human Rights Tribunal, Ontario Labour Relations Board, and Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. (This is not a comprehensive list by any means).
  • Traffic tickets – depending on the charge and penalty sought
  • Criminal charges – depending on the charge and penalty sought

In many cases, paralegals are a cost effective option for clients to receive legal assistance and representation for their matter without having to retain a lawyer. However, care must be taken to consult with the legal professional of your choice to ensure they are able to assist you in the legal area you require.

Thompson Law Professional Corporation’s paralegals are ready, willing, and able to assist you with your legal matter. And, the best part is, we are only a quick communication away from you. Contact us today if you require assistance with a legal issue and allow our team of experienced paralegals and lawyers to handle all of the details of your matter.

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