Paralegals are regulated by the Law Society of Upper Canada, the same as lawyers. We are required to follow the same professional code of conduct, operate in an ethical manner, and carry insurance. The difference between a paralegal and a lawyer is their education and scope of practice. Paralegals are required to complete a minimum of 2 years at an accredited college. The college program is strictly monitored by the Law Society with respect to instructors, content and placement hours. After successful completion of the college program the graduate is required to pass the licensing exam conducted by the Law Society. Once licensed and insured, the paralegal can provide legal services within a limited scope. Paralegals can assist their clients in the following types of matters:
- Small Claims Court
- Provincial Offences
- Landlord & Tenant matters
- Summary Convictions in Criminal Court
- Other Administrative Tribunals
Although a lawyer can assist the public in these types of matters as well, it is usually more cost effective to use a Paralegal. Where most lawyers charge by the hour, we at Precision Paralegal Services provide services on a flat fee arrangement (except for Trial preparation and attendance). Further, paralegals are extremely active in these types of matters and generally have a better understanding of the process and expectations in these courts and tribunals. Many lawyers will refer their clients to paralegals when approached for assistance in these practice areas.
Michelle Haigh, owner of Precision Paralegal Services, worked with the Law Society of Upper Canada to create the video below as an overview of Paralegals.