Sole, Experienced Paralegals Get Most LSUC Complaints

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Analysis of Complaints Received by the Professional Regulation Division in 2013 seems to indicate a troubling pattern.

While sole practitioners constitute 52% of all practising paralegals, over 70% of complaints against paralegals that were received in Professional Regulation involve paralegals practising alone.

Law Society’s membership stats break down paralegals in active practice by firm size:

    • 52% of paralegals were sole practitioners;
    • 21% of paralegals were in small firms;
    • 10% of paralegals were in medium-sized firms;
    • 17% of paralegals were in large firms.

The majority of new paralegal licensees currently outnumbers those with four or more years in active practice, at 56% and 44% respectively.

Despite this, paralegals who have been licensed to provide legal services for up to one year received 13% of all complaints received in Professional Regulation, while paralegals who have been licensed for three years or more received 58% of all complaints received.

Compared to paralegals who practice in large firms, sole practitioners received a significantly higher percent of complaints raising governance, integrity and service issues than was expected, the report notes.

Practice Area Affects Complaints Figures

In terms of area of practice, paralegals in sole practice received a significantly higher percent of complaints than expected in civil litigation and criminal or quasi-criminal practice, the two law areas analyzed.

Paralegals who have been licensed up to one year had a significantly lower percent of civil litigation and criminal / quasi-criminal complaints than was expected. Paralegals licensed for four or more years had a significantly higher percent of civil litigation complaints than was expected.

The Professional Regulation Committee Report to June Convocation is available online.

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3 comments

  1. Angela Browne · · Reply

    I think it is very difficult to operate your own firm, especially during a period of time you are gathering more clients and your base is growing … still not earning enough to hire somebody else, but needing somebody else or an extra body to do certain types of work. There needs to be more formal guidance from senior paralegals on these lines as well as a movement toward the development of firms (as well as support in their development).

  2. How many of the licensees over 4 years, being the subject of complaints, have been grandfathered and have not had the benefit of the formal education received by junior licensees?

  3. Laurie Connors · · Reply

    Could it be an issue of better education in that newer licensees are less likely to be sanctioned? Or, perhaps it’s a matter of individuals striking out on their own without the proper experience under their belts? Still, it is a disturbing fact as most of us strive to perfect and advance the profession.
    Laurie Connors

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