Herzing instructor Paula Callaghan has long been a key figure in the Ontario paralegal industry.
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Paralegals in Ontario have a special status that they don’t enjoy anywhere else in Canada.
In this province, paralegals can actually represent clients independently (just like a lawyer does) for certain legal matters.
They can set up a private practice, specialize in a certain area of law, and in some cases, advocate for clients in court.
However, paralegals must operate within certain limits. They can’t do everything a lawyer can...and there are several important differences between these two career paths.
Take a look at how the roles stack up so you can decide which one is best for you.
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.
You may be aware that paralegals have a special status in Ontario.
Unlike their peers in other areas of Canada, paralegals in Ontario can earn a licence and represent clients independently. They have a high degree of autonomy and a broad scope of practice.
But there are still a lot of myths and misconceptions about paralegal training, duties, and career options. Before you head down this path, you need to make sure you understand the facts about the profession.
In this post, we explain the reality behind seven of the biggest myths about paralegals.
Read on to get a true picture of the role and see if it’s right for you.
If you're thinking about becoming a paralegal, you probably have two key questions: what is the job market like and how much money can you expect to earn?
Unlike most regions of Canada, Ontario allows paralegals to become licensed and independently represent clients in certain legal matters.
That opens up a broad range of career opportunities, including starting your own practice.
But before you head down this path, you should know if paralegals are in demand and how much they typically make.
That's what this post is all about. We provide the latest paralegal job outlook and salary information for Ontario.
We also describe different career paths that paralegal program graduates can take in this province.
Here are the facts you need to make an informed decision about your future.
Ontario is the only province in Canada that offers paralegals the chance to become licensed and practice independently in certain areas of law.
That's no minor thing. Being licensed means you can represent clients on your own before tribunals, in small claims court, and in certain criminal matters.
You can also conduct legal research, participate in hearings, prepare legal documents, take depositions and affidavits, and give legal advice.
To earn a paralegal license from the Law Society of Ontario, you have to graduate from an accredited paralegal studies program and pass the licensing exam.
There are different types of programs, including diplomas, certificates, and bachelor's degrees. Lengths vary from 1-4 years.
In this post, we focus on the fastest route to becoming a licensed paralegal—a paralegal diploma program.
So what exactly will you learn in a paralegal studies diploma? What specific knowledge and skills can you expect to gain?
Let's check out the details.
Photo: Ilya Medovikov, Paralegal program instructor at Herzing College Ottawa
Considering becoming a paralegal and have questions about training and careers? You've come to the right place.
This week, we interviewed Ilya Medovikov, Crown attorney for the government of Canada and Paralegal instructor at Herzing College.
We asked Ilya to give us a tour of the program, and answer some of the frequently asked questions we get from applicants.
He shared some excellent career advice, plus a detailed inside-look at the classroom experience at Herzing.
Read on to meet the instructor, find out what to expect in class, and see if Paralegal training is right for you.
The first thing to know about paralegals is that the job description varies depending on where you live—and whether you are licensed.
In Ontario, paralegals can pass a licensing exam that allows them to represent clients independently (like a lawyer) for certain legal matters.
Ontario is one of the few regions in Canada where paralegals have this option.
A licensed paralegal in Ontario can start their own private legal practice. They can represent clients in small claims court, traffic court, tribunals and for certain criminal matters.
In other parts of Canada, paralegals do not have the option to obtain a license and operate independently. Instead, their role is to support lawyers—as legal assistants or law clerks.
Ontario paralegals have a choice. They can decide to get licensed and represent clients independently. Or, they can become legal assistants (which does not require a license). It all depends on your career goals.
In this post, we’ll walk you through the job descriptions of licensed paralegals and legal assistants, and the training required to get started in this field.
Updated June, 2021.
Toronto is an excellent place to start a legal career. The city is a major hub for law firms, lobby groups, community organizations and businesses, offering a wide range of employment options for a variety of legal professionals.
Becoming a lawyer is not your only option. Toronto is full of successful paralegals, law clerks, legal assistants, and immigration consultants.
Which path should you choose?
In this post, we’re breaking down the main differences between two very popular professions: paralegal and law clerk (or legal assistant).
Understand what these roles entail, and key distinctions between training requirements, job descriptions, where you can work, and licensing rules.
Get a clearer idea of which legal career is right for you and exactly how to get started.
Majeeda Khan graduated from the Paralegal program in 2017, and now works at Smart & Biggar as a legal assistant in the litigation department
Majeeda had graduated from university, and was working in retail, when she decided she needed a new career plan. She wasn't finding work in her field of study, and wanted a job that would be challenging, interesting, and truly helpful to others.
That's when she paid a visit to the Herzing Ottawa campus in the St. Laurent mall, and began asking about available training programs. She'd never even considered becoming a paralegal, but after looking into the field, she realized it was a perfect fit for her natural skills and professional goals.
After that, everything fell into place.
We chatted with Majeeda this week to get her opinion of the Paralegal program, and see what she's up to now. Turns out she is working at the biggest, most successful intellectual property law firm in Canada!
This is such a great success story. Read on for all the details.