Updated: Jul 7
Frontier Paralegals have been an essential part of the legal system in Toronto for many years. They are an important resource for people who cannot afford a lawyer, and they provide a range of legal services at a lower cost. Despite their crucial role in the legal system, paralegals are often overlooked and undervalued. In this blog, we will explore the role of a Toronto paralegal and how they help people with their legal needs.
What is a Paralegal? A paralegal is a professional who is trained to provide legal services. They work under the supervision of a lawyer and can provide legal advice, draft legal documents, and represent clients in certain court proceedings. The Law Society of Ontario authorizes paralegals to provide legal services in specific areas of law. These areas include small claims court, landlord and tenant matters, and provincial offenses.
In Ontario, paralegals must complete a recognized paralegal program and pass an exam to become licensed by the Law Society of Ontario. Once licensed, paralegals must meet specific requirements for continuing education to maintain their license.
The Role of a Toronto Paralegal Paralegals provides legal services in a variety of areas, including Small Claims Court: Paralegals can help clients with claims up to $35,000 in the Small Claims Court. They can help clients prepare and file their claims, represent clients in court, and negotiate settlements. Landlord and Tenant Matters: Paralegals can help landlords and tenants with a range of issues, including eviction notices, lease agreements, and disputes. Provincial Offences: Paralegals can represent clients in court for minor criminal offenses, such as traffic tickets, bylaw infractions, and environmental violations. Other Legal Services: Paralegals can provide legal advice and assistance in other areas of law, such as immigration, family law, and employment law.
Why Choose a Paralegal? For several reasons, someone might choose to work with a paralegal instead of a lawyer. Paralegals typically charge lower fees than lawyers, making legal services more affordable for those who cannot afford a lawyer. Additionally, paralegals can provide a more personal and accessible service than larger law firms. Clients can often meet with a paralegal outside of regular business hours or on weekends. Another advantage of working with a paralegal is their specialized knowledge of specific areas of law. Paralegals are often experts in a particular area of law, such as small claims court or landlord and tenant matters. This expertise allows them to provide a more focused and effective service to their clients.
The Challenges of Being a Paralegal Despite the many benefits of working as a paralegal, there are also challenges. One of the biggest challenges is the limited scope of practice. Paralegals are only authorized to provide legal services in certain areas of law, which can be restrictive. This can be frustrating for paralegals who want to provide a wider range of legal services to their clients. Another challenge for paralegals is the lack of recognition and respect they receive from some members of the legal community. Some lawyers and judges view paralegals as inferior or less competent than lawyers. This perception can be frustrating for paralegals who have worked hard to gain their licenses and provide high-quality legal services to their clients. The Future of Paralegals in Toronto Despite the challenges, the future looks bright for paralegals in Toronto. The demand for affordable legal services is growing, and paralegals are well-positioned to meet this demand. The Law Society of Ontario is also taking steps to increase the recognition and respect for par