The Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) has committed to expanding the paralegal scope of practice over the next four years. Presented to Convocation Dec. 4, the Priority Planning Committee strategic plan report to Convocation outlines significant changes that will have a dramatic effect on the future of legal services in Ontario.
The changes are “robust and ambitious,” affecting paralegal education entry standards, mentoring, professional development, and competence assurance, in addition to expanding the scope of practice. Paralegal-specific measures in the Strategic Plan 2015–2019 include:
- Working to ensure that high quality instruction is being offered by the accredited institutions that educate paralegal licensee candidates
- Examining enhancements to the paralegal licensing requirements, including possible additional education and training prior to entering an accredited paralegal program
- Exploring the expansion of areas of practice and delivery of services by paralegal licensees
Under the heading of “lifelong competence” for licensees, the report suggests post-licensing testing may go hand-in-hand with any expanded practice. Paralegal education, including setting entry-level standards for students, is also set to change. The four-year priorities include CPD changes, beefed-up formal mentoring and mental-health supports for all licensees.
Paralegal Simon Brown’s Favourite Marketing & Management Resources for the Pod-Curious
“Don’t Let Law Schooling Get In the Way of Your Legal Education”
~ Bastardization of a quote attributed to Mark Twain.
We live in a wonderful age of information. Access to Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses and legal research can be done at the touch of a button or screen. Substantive law and professionalism are offered by our colleges, associations, societies, and the regulator. But there is precious little about advocacy, legal marketing, and practice management out there to help you sharpen your skills.
Fortunately, the gap has been bridged by entrepreneurial lawyers and legal educators through the use of blogs and podcasts. I’ve assembled a list of them that I use on a regular basis. Most of these are based in the United States, but there is a universality that cannot be denied.
CanLII and CanLII Connects are free Canadian legal information sources. They reach a wide audience of legal services providers, law students and the general public. Recent content particularly relevant for Ontario paralegals:
- Duty to Accommodate – Being “right” in the end isn’t enough; it matters how you get there 2009 HRTO 1641
- Unfavourable ruling does not signal bias at the HRTO – Velegjanin v. Toronto Police Services Board, 2015 HRTO 912 (CanLII)
- Establishing discrimination with circumstantial evidence – 2009 HRTO 1242
- Human Rights general damages on the rise – $75,000 awarded in British Columbia
- What do the words “we have an agreement” mean?
- BCCA clarifies McKinley: “contextual approach” and prior discipline
- Interest Act protection applied to promissory note – P.A.R.C.E.L. Inc. v. Acquaviva, 2015 ONCA 331
- Wrongful dismissal twitter comments – social media in the spotlight”
- HRTO misapplies the de minimis doctrine – “A square peg in a round hole?”
- New research add-on for CanLii – test-drive the “LexBox” beta
- Paralegal firm and agent “used the defendant’s 11(b) rights as an offensive weapon” – Mississauga (City) v. Ciocan, 2015 ONCJ 293 (CanLII)
- “Boiler-plate” disclosure requests contribute to s. 11(b) denial in Toronto OCJ; R. v. Ghobrial, 2015 ONCJ 288 (CanLII)
See more paralegal-specific cases at the Scope publisher page.