New Group For Women Paralegals

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There’s a “new kid on the block,” of paralegal organizations.

The Women’s Paralegal Association of Ontario (WPAO) has begun accepting applications for its woman-centred services. WPAO provides mentorship and support to women working as licensed Paralegals within the Province of Ontario, and to paralegal students.

Innovation and education are the hallmarks of the not-for-profit corporation. Founder Andrea Sesum, a paralegal and educator, says WPAO is dedicated to providing a solid, reputable support network for women, and promoting professional growth and advancement.

Women Paralegals in Ontario, and students enrolled in Paralegal Education programs offered through post-secondary institutions that are accredited by the Law Society of Upper Canada are eligible to join. Member benefits include discounts on paralegal practice-related products and services.

Among its goals, the new group will:

      • Provide social, business and professional development opportunities
      • Enable members to speak to issues that affect women paralegals
      • Advocate on behalf of the profession
      • Promote members in leadership positions
      • Partner with other legal and non-legal professional associations, to develop events and programs
      • Sponsor CPDs and other education opportunities for members
      • Host speakers’ forums with prominent leaders on current issues
      • Honour women in the Paralegal industry, with a yearly “WPAO Distinguished Woman Paralegal Award”
      • Support student members with the yearly “WPAO Distinguished Student Award”

To learn more or to join WPAO, visit the website.

4 comments

  1. Dawn R. Burke · ·

    As a woman, I think this is great, and if someone wants to create a similar group for men, I wouldn’t have any problem with that either. I think any group that advances the profession and attempts to enhance competence is very valuable.

  2. I beg to differ, I think this is a great way to unite women and this would not by any means represent a step backwards in the profession, but rather a new unified approach in establishing mentorship or otherwise lack thereof that some current organizations fail to fully engage in. Women represent 53% of paralegals according to the Law Society of Upper Canada (see: http://www.lsuc.on.ca/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=2147488152). Kudos to the WPAO. I have just joined myself and will encourage others! This is the new direction I have been waiting for!

  3. I think that this is a fantastic idea! Women Lawyers have a unique association in the Women’s Law Association of Ontario and I’m glad that Women Paralegals can too have a unique and progressive support network. The Paralegal field (and law in general) has been a primarily male-dominated field. By heightening awareness of the unique issues and obstacles that women face in the field, we can ensure the future success of women working as Paralegals and provide support as well.
    I am glad to see that the WPAO is taking significant steps to promote women in the field and as a student, I find it wonderful that WPAO is focusing on students (through awards, bursaries and mentoring programs) and the future of the Paralegal vocation.

    Ben – I fail to see how this is discrimination simply because the group consists solely of women. Women are faced with challenges and obstacles that differ from men. The statistics show an increase of women legal professionals within the past five years (since the LSUC began the Paralegal Licensing Process) and according to the LSUC Annual Report, 57% of Licensed Paralegals are Women. That’s a dramatic change from the early days of practicing law! With the changing of the times, I think it’s wonderful that women can support each other and grow as professionals. It’s encouraging for female students as well because we know where we can go for support and networking. It’s daunting to start out in the legal field and being provided with the support and encouragement of women that are successful and established is invaluable!

  4. Really? Is this really necessary in today’s world? And particularly for Paralegals because they are female? This is a definite step backwards, is discriminatory and against equality for women.

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