5 Traits We Look For in Paralegal Students: Are you a Good Fit?

Paralegal training is a massively popular program for Ontario students who want legal careers—but don't want to spend years at university and law school.

Many paralegal programs can be completed in just 12 months. And paralegals enjoy a special status in Ontario: they're allowed to advise and represent clients in several contexts.

Students are attracted to the idea of running their own legal practices, taking on challenging cases, and truly helping clients who would otherwise struggle to afford representation.

Having a range of employment options is also appealing. Graduates find work in government, private practice, in-house legal teams, law firms, lobby groups, and community organizations.

So, given the benefits of becoming a paralegal, it's no surprise that this field has become quite competitive in recent years.

In order to be successful, students need certain core strengths—a natural skillset that will help them excel in training, and build strong careers over the long term.

What skills and traits do we look for in applicants to our paralegal program? Explore the top 5 and see if you're a good fit.

 

1. True passion for law and justice

Herzing's paralegal program is intensive. Our students study full time, 20 hours a week. From day one of training, they jump right into the Canadian legal system, and don't stop until they've fully covered every area of practice for Ontario paralegals.

The program is challenging, exciting, and immersive. In just 12 months, you'll learn everything paralegals need to know about:

  • legal research and writing
  • torts and contracts
  • statutes and by-laws
  • evidence and litigation
  • tribunal practices and procedures
  • small claims court
  • administrative law
  • alternative dispute resolution (ADR)
  • landlord and tenant law
  • criminal/summary conviction procedure
  • how to start and manage your own paralegal practice

There's a lot to cover, which is why having a true passion for the law is key to your success in this program.

It takes energy and drive to thoroughly grasp this material and complete the work needed to pass your licensing exam with the Law Society of Upper Canada.

If you're truly motivated by a commitment to justice and the law, you'll be ready to jump in and tackle this training with confidence.

Related: 5 Key Facts About the Paralegal Licensing Process in Ontario

 

2. Strong reading, writing, and research skills

Chances are, if you're genuinely interested in law, you're a natural reader and analytical thinker. You'd be totally at home combing through dense documents, researching legal cases, drafting briefs and pleadings, and learning about procedure.

When it comes to law, the devil is always in the details. Candidates for this program should be strong readers and competent writers. They should know how to sift through research to gather information.

You'll definitely get help strengthening these abilities throughout the program—but having a good base to start with is important.

 

3. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills

Clearly, these two skillsets are crucial for paralegals. In order to win cases, you'll need to communicate clearly and confidently, demonstrating your expertise in the legal matter at hand.

Your people skills will be equally important. Paralegals should be excellent listeners and good at putting others at ease. This is especially true if you plan to start your own practice, as you will need to attract and retain clients.

If you genuinely care about helping people, can express ideas well, and aren't afraid of public speaking, you'll do well in this program.

 

4. Organization and time management

These two skills will be tested right from the start, as you strive to balance paralegal training with your other responsibilities.

Many of our students juggle school with work, family—or both. Good organization and time-management skills are definitely key requirements for this balancing act.

Not to mention, once you're a practicing paralegal, you'll be managing multiple clients and cases simultaneously. So you'll need those organizational skills to stay on top of it all.

We look for candidates who've researched the program and understand what paralegal training involves. They're prepared, responsible, and have the potential to sustain a busy paralegal career.

 

5. Strong sense of ethics and professionalism

Paralegals advocate for their clients' rights and best interests. They are trusted to represent clients to the very best of their ability, while staying within the boundaries of the law. Just like lawyers, paralegals are expected to respect and uphold the principles of our justice system.

This work demands a strong sense of ethics and a high degree of professionalism. You will have a direct, and in some cases very significant, impact on the lives of your clients—and with that power comes responsibility.

When interviewing applicants for paralegal training, we consider attributes like integrity, honesty, and maturity. These traits will serve you well during the program, and throughout your entire career as a legal professional.

 

THINK YOU'RE CUT OUT FOR PARALEGAL TRAINING?

Does this profile match well with your interests, natural strengths, and goals?

If you're seriously considering paralegal training, we'd love to hear from you. Chat live with an advisor right now, or click below to explore the program in greater detail.

Explore the Paralegal Program at Herzing

 

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