In Ontario, over the past few years, there has been an influx in the amount of people that require legal services. With that, a larger demand for more affordable legal service providers is required. More and more people are looking towards Paralegals to assist with their legal needs.
Paralegal, it is not a new profession; it has been around for several decades. As of late, the public is just becoming aware of what a Paralegal is and how they can assist with providing legal services. Paralegals are non-lawyer agents that are able to provide legal services to the Ontario public. Similar to a Lawyer, a Paralegal must be licensed with the Law Society of Upper Canada and abide by the standard of learning, professional competence, and professional conduct guidelines set out by the Law Society of Upper Canada.
Similar to that of a Lawyer, there are schooling requirements that you must ascertain in order to become a Paralegal. In order to become a Paralegal, you must receive schooling at an accredited university or college with a Paralegal program certified by The Law Society of Upper Canada. Once you have graduated from this program, you are required by The Law Society of Upper Canada to take a Paralegal Licensing Exam (a bar exam for Paralegals). If you are successful in passing your Licensing Exam, then, and only then, may you call yourself a Paralegal.
There are many benefits to hiring a Paralegal; the main benefit of course is the affordability factor. Paralegal, as a whole, on average, charge much less than other legal service providers. Therefore, making the court systems accessible to all, rather than that of just the upper class.
The education that Paralegals receive is specific to the areas of law they are allowed to practice. Paralegals are unable to practice all types of law, for this reason their education is fine tuned to the areas they are allowed to service. Thus, they have a greater knowledge and understanding of the law they are going to practice once they are finished their educational program.
Paralegals are comparable to lawyers, in the sense that we are both regulated by the same law and principles. We are both required to meet specific standards of learning, professional competence, and adhere to a professional conduct that is appropriate for the legal services we provide.
Next time you require legal help; remember you might not need to go to the most expensive person to get the job done. Do your research; Paralegals are just as competent, educated and knowledgeable as any other legal service provider. The best part, Paralegals are usually half the price.