SCOPE contributor, paralegal Judit Schonwald reports on the first Legal Information For Everyone (LIFE) seminar, held May 7 in Toronto.
We had a packed three-hour information session, on how to educate the public about their options when comes to legal matters. It was a great turn-out, the Lamont Learning Centre was full, mostly with paralegals and lawyers, but a good number of the public showed up as well.
The session had two parts. The first explained the importance of wills and estates, and why we should seek professional help when preparing a will. At this point, I was putting on my “member of the public” hat, since wills and estates are out of our scope of practice. The brief overview given by Mr. Lerner was very valuable.
The second part was even more exciting. Paralegal and instructor, Elaine Page, gave a fantastic crash-course on how Small Claims Court works. Although her presentation was directed primarily to the public, we paralegals could pick up some great tips as well. I loved the structure of the presentation. It was understandable and straight to the point.
We were also introduced to the Ontario Justice Education Network (OJEN) and the Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) organization. Their aim is to educate the public about their legal rights and resources. OJEN is a great resource for paralegals.
Last, but not least, the Law Society Referral Service made a pitch. In my humble opinion, the yearly fee is worth it, especially when you are starting out as a paralegal.
The icing on the cake was that this was a free CPD. Participants are eligible for 2.0 Substantive and 1.0 Professionalism Hours.
All in all, it was a great gathering. I am looking forward to participating in more of these sessions.
Several legal education groups have organized the LIFE seminars to bolster legal providers’ public education skills.
LIFE is a how-to model that supports lawyers and paralegals to enhance access to justice. The comprehensive set of resources is sponsored by the Law Society, OJEN and CLEO. It is supported by the Ontario Civil Legal Needs Project, Legal Aid Ontario, Pro Bono Law Ontario and The Law Foundation of Ontario.
Read: The Gazette article.
Watch: The LSUC LIFE video on YouTube.