When it comes to bridging the relationship between lawyers and paralegals, the County of Carleton Law Association (CCLA-ABCC) is in the forefront.
About four years ago, when the issue of changing the by-laws to admit paralegals as non-voting members was put to the lawyer members, the vote was unanimous: yes.
“We sent a strong message to the paralegal community,” according to Rick Haga, Executive Director. “There was no opposition.”
About eight to 10 paralegals apply to join the Ottawa-based CCLA each year, since the paralegal membership category was created, Haga said.
Paralegal Committee Off and Running
A new committee established in March underscores the CCLA commitment to including paralegals and drawing the two professions closer. Chaired by paralegal Paula Callaghan, the Paralegal Education Committee call for members drew more applicants than the new group could accommodate.
“The CCLA response to paralegals and been positive, open, receptive and inclusive,” Callaghan said. “The association fills a need for paralegals in the Eastern Region.”
The first CPD offered by the Paralegal Education Committee, Confidential Conferences in Criminal Proceedings & Small Claims Court, takes place June 5. Students and articling students, whether they are CCLA members or not, may attend the event.
The County of Carleton Law Association is a not-for-profit association that provides regional law library and reference services, continuing legal education, annual conferences, advocacy, and guidance. Members have access to professional services, legal resources, discounts, lockers and networking events.
Among the 46 Law Associations in the province, CCLA is leading the way in its paralegal inclusion, Haga said. He expects more associations to recognize paralegals.
“It makes sense,” Haga said. “Paralegals are an important part of the legal landscape. The Law Society of Upper Canada accredits paralegals and they should feel part of the association community.”