Welcome to the Profession!

3K0A0596-1200About 140 of the newest Ontario paralegals have been formally welcomed to the legal community. The Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) feted the new licensees Dec. 3, at Osgoode Hall in Toronto.

“You are often the front-line professionals of the legal community. How you perform your responsibilities will shape the public’s perception of our community.”

~ Chief Justice Strathy

These are among the first cohort to write the beefed-up licensing exam. Robert Lapper, LSUC’s CEO, reported the next day to Convocation that new paralegals he met at the twice-yearly event praised the new exam for raising the licensing standards with substantive law questions.

In keeping with tradition, members of the judiciary joined Law Society staff and leadership in welcoming the new licensees. Special guests included: The Honourable George R. Strathy, Chief Justice of Ontario; The Honourable Faith M. Finnestad, Associate Chief Justice of the Ontario of Court of Justice; The Honourable Timothy Lipson, Regional Senior Justice; Her Worship Kathy-Lou Johnson, Senior Justice of the Peace; His Worship Warren G. Ralph, Regional Senior Justice of the Peace; and His Worship Bernard J. Swords, Senior Advisory Justice of the Peace.

Chief Justice Strathy addressed the new paralegals. “For many members of the public, you will be their primary, possibly their only, contact with the legal system,” he said. “You are often the front-line professionals of the legal community. How you perform your responsibilities will shape the public’s perception of our community.”

Treasurer Janet Minor outlined some of the resources available to Ontario’s 7,500 paralegals. The Law Society is available so that they can succeed, and that their clients receive legal services from “a trained, competent and ethical professional,” Minor said. She reminded the gathering that paralegals help Ontarians to solve their legal needs, and champion the rule of law. “When we consider that Ontarians often come into contact with the justice system because they have a traffic ticket, a landlord/tenant dispute, a workplace or personal injury, or a matter before small claims court, we begin to realize just how much of a positive impact paralegal regulation has had for the residents of Ontario,” Minor said.

Michelle Haigh is one of five paralegal benchers, or members of the Law Society’s board of governors. She chairs the Paralegal Standing Committee. Haigh encouraged the new licensees to be active in the legal community, and to use every opportunity to continue their legal training. “Pursue as much knowledge as possible to succeed.”

Are you a new licensee?

LSUC publishes resources for new paralegals.

Check SCOPE for information and links to resources for new licensees.

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