Law Society of Upper Canada

Law Society of Upper Canada

November 05, 2007 16:39 ET

Media Advisory: Law Society Is One Step Closer to Licensing Paralegals

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 5, 2007) - Ontario will be the first jurisdiction in North America to license paralegals. Almost 2,200 experienced paralegals and graduates of post-secondary paralegal courses have applied to the Law Society of Upper Canada to write the licensing examination in Ontario.

Regulation of the paralegal profession will provide consumers with a choice in the legal service providers they wish to use. It also means the public will have access to paralegals who meet high standards of learning, competence and professional conduct.

The Law Society's regulatory authority was expanded last year to include paralegals following passage of the Access to Justice Act, 2005. The legislation came into effect May 1, 2007. Since then, the Law Society has created a set of rules of professional conduct for paralegals and developed a licensing program that includes the same kind of regulatory standards used for lawyers.

The Law Society offered experienced paralegals six months to enter the licensing process and apply to write a qualifying examination. That "grandparent" opportunity ended October 31. The first paralegal licences will be issued by May 1, 2008 to grandparent applicants who pass the licensing examination. In the meantime, approved applicants can continue to practise in permitted areas until they are licensed, providing they carry professional liability insurance and comply with the Paralegal Rules of Conduct and Law Society bylaws.

Names of grandparent applicants have been added to the Paralegal Candidate Directory, on the Law Society's website. This directory identifies candidates within the licensing process and provides an easy reference for members of boards, tribunals, court staff and the public. Candidates listed in this directory may continue to provide legal services until they complete the licensing process.

More information and ongoing updates can be found on the paralegal pages of the Law Society website at www.lsuc.on.ca.

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