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nogoingback 05-23-2017 09:58 AM

Allowing paralegals in family court
 
Debate heating up over allowing paralegals in family court

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/201...ily-court.html

zanman 05-23-2017 10:23 AM

It sure is

trinton 05-23-2017 04:59 PM

better yet, let's hope so and we could all take a second career in paralegal services and then properly represent ourselves and others without the need of any lawyers. :D

OrleansLawyer 05-23-2017 08:40 PM

Quote:

we could all take a second career in paralegal services and then properly represent ourselves and others
This sentiment is why it won't happen.

Are there cases that a somewhat obtuse monkey could handle? Absolutely.
Are there cases that merit counsel with significant experience? Absolutely.

Without a way to distinguish between them paralegals will not be permitted to run family cases.

trinton 05-23-2017 09:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OrleansLawyer (Post 221020)
This sentiment is why it won't happen.

Are there cases that a somewhat obtuse monkey could handle? Absolutely.
Are there cases that merit counsel with significant experience? Absolutely.

Without a way to distinguish between them paralegals will not be permitted to run family cases.

Who's to say anyone that's not a lawyer or is a paralegal is an obtuse monkey or "stupid"? There are self represent people with no education in law and education in completely different fields running laps around lawyers.

Who's to say that anyone who is a lawyer is not an obtuse monkey or stupid? There are some very shocking and useless right out for the mighty buck lawyers out there who lose their trials miserably.

Whose to say all these self repped people can afford counsel with significant experience? Nobody wants to pay someone for one hour of their time for what they earn in one day.

If they want them to come to court with lawyers then give them proper Legal Aid.

arabian 05-23-2017 09:48 PM

OrleansLawyer did not say that anyone was stupid. You are taking his post totally out of context - reading comprehension is something that a lawyer can and does assist clients with frequently (or client misinterprets simple things... such as this post).

"Penny wise and pound foolish" is a thought that comes to mind.

I spent a considerable sum of money on legal fees and I have absolutely no regrets. I certainly did not have Legal Aid.

At one time my ex was self-represented and utilized paralegal. It was a total disaster for him - something he later admitted.

Unless self-represented litigants have spent the time doing their research they often waste the court's time. Unprepared self-represented litigants are one of the major reasons that you face the gong-show system of case-conferences. (Valuable court time was taken up by people who, arrogantly, didn't know their head from their aholes).

I am an individual of average intelligence. I have a decent education. Not for one minute did I contemplate divorcing my husband without competent legal counsel. To be honest, I was shocked to learn that people actually did this.

Cudos to those few who have self-represented and succeeded at trial.

Perhaps if people didn't have legal aid lawyers they would get their acts together and quit wasting the taxpayer's money and settle their matters. It galls me that people can bitch about cost of lawyers when they are, themselves, using the public purse to fund their disputes with their ex's.

trinton 05-24-2017 01:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arabian (Post 221030)
reading comprehension is something that a lawyer can and does assist clients with frequently

If the lawyer him/herself does not have a reading comprehension problem then yes, they most absolutely could. It's not uncommon for lawyers to frequently royally mess up clauses and/or wordings of things causing catastrophic mis-interpretations before courts.

Quote:

Originally Posted by arabian (Post 221030)
I spent a considerable sum of money on legal fees and I have absolutely no regrets. I certainly did not have Legal Aid.

And what would you have done if you did not have that money and did not qualify for Legal Aid?

Quote:

Originally Posted by arabian (Post 221030)
At one time my ex was self-represented and utilized paralegal. It was a total disaster for him - something he later admitted.

And that means all paralegals are bad and useless? What if he utilized a first year non-experienced lawyer which was also a disaster for him? Or would that mean that all lawyers are bad and useless?

Quote:

Originally Posted by arabian (Post 221030)
Unprepared self-represented litigants are one of the major reasons that you face the gong-show system of case-conferences. (Valuable court time was taken up by people who, arrogantly, didn't know their head from their aholes).

They came up with case conferences way back when people rarely ever represented themselves. Lawyers "practice" law. They are not perfect and they don't know it all. They are learning as they go and are frequently hammered down by judges for taking up valuable court time because they arrogantly don't know their head from their own aholes and sometimes have it so far up their aholes - that is why you face case-conferences. My ex's legal aid lawyer got railed by the judge for making an allegation that I would kill my own kid if I was given unsupervised access. didn't file their settlement conference confirmation.. and at other times did not make any attempts to serve me on time and tried to lie about not being served with my SC breif at a point in time when I was self-repped, I cleared up things with the judge and the judge was furious at the legal aid lawyer! My last lawyer didn't serve a required party of a motion (didn't read the opposing affidavit properly) - guess what happend? Starts with A and ends with T and has a J somewhere in the middle - adjournment. Further, some lawyers LOVE these case-conference gong-shows - it makes them TONS of money.

Quote:

Originally Posted by arabian (Post 221030)
I am an individual of average intelligence. I have a decent education. Not for one minute did I contemplate divorcing my husband without competent legal counsel. To be honest, I was shocked to learn that people actually did this.

Cudos to those few who have self-represented and succeeded at trial.

It's not easy and it's not for everybody. Especially so if you have a not so cut an dry case. Your matter however involved complex property and spousal support. The plan for paralegals is to only deal with custody, access, simple child support and restraining orders. Custody/access cases are classified as medium difficulty cases in courts. It's also important to understand that a VERY high percentage of family law cases don't even make it to a trial.


Quote:

Originally Posted by arabian (Post 221030)
Perhaps if people didn't have legal aid lawyers they would get their acts together and quit wasting the taxpayer's money and settle their matters.

My former spouse is on her second legal aid lawyer now. She would not get her act together and settle unless the judge started yelling and screaming at her. There was some of that with her and her legal aid lawyer to get them to give me unsupervised access. Again, I was self repped at that point in time and the judge railed her legal aid lawyer for making an allegation that I would kill my own kid if I was given unsupervised access. You are right though. Lawyers do often take unreasonable clients and cases and participate in the gong-show of case conferences - they love it.


Quote:

Originally Posted by arabian (Post 221030)
It galls me that people can bitch about cost of lawyers when they are, themselves, using the public purse to fund their disputes with their ex's.

Is it just me or am I seeing the word bitch associated with another stereo type on this forum? They would not "bitch" about cost of lawyers if they are using the public purse to fund their disputes. They rather complain about costs of lawyers when they can't afford them and the public purse is triple chained.

Point being, you don't have to have a lawyer to succeed. If you hire a lawyer with years of experience, that does not mean that you will win your case. Yes it will give you an edge and advantage but it simply does not mean that you will win. It boils down to the facts of your case and how it is presented to a judge. Can a self represented party do this? Absolutely. Can a paralegal do this? Most certainly. Paralegals work with lawyers frequently and are in court and trials all the time. Is family law and area they can grasp and learn? Absolutely - they are humans and they have an ability to learn - just like lawyers.

Due to your reading comprehensions and inability to see things for what they are, I think I should mention I have nothing against OL. He's helped me quite a bit and his contributions have been greatly appreciated. Good lawyers are of course far and few in between and not everyone is as blessed as you and I to be able to find and hire a good lawyer. Similarly, they will not always be blessed to find and hire a good paralegal.

To stay relevant, you either will have self represented parties who cannot hire lawyers in court, or you will increase legal aid funding so they can hire legal aid lawyers and be present with legal aid lawyers in court.

To go on a tangent, you can also have parties that are represented by crooks - no - I am not suggesting that all lawyers are crooks.

WorkingDAD 05-24-2017 01:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by trinton (Post 221032)
Custody/access cases are classified as medium difficulty cases in courts.

well, I would strongly disagree with such statement. I should admit thou that I was lucky and did not deal with any property issues but I would think that property related staff is just SIMPLE MATH.

Plus it so much easier just to walk away from all that stuff. How can you walk away from kid?

I don't know, I may be wrong but I think there is no more difficult issue in family law/court that custody and access...

WD

arabian 05-24-2017 08:24 AM

I agree with you WD. My divorce was indeed of a mathematical nature. I was divorced 9 months after serving my ex. I attribute that to having a good lawyer and going through binding arbitration process. No case conferences. Just a judge spending one day with us. A judge who made final Order. Nothing was passed on to another judge, as is the case with case conference/endorsements. Where my matter was difficult was AFTER divorce when my ex took me to court repeatedly to try to have divorce Order overturned. Ex was represented by competent counsel at the Arbitration and had agreed to terms of divorce Order.

I think what people have to ask is what exactly is a paralegal? What are their qualifications? The paralegals that I am aware of in the Edmonton area are merely people who had previously worked as clerks at the law court. Some work at law firms. I do believe they could be useful if someone has difficulty in filling out forms. When I was very young (18) I had a summer job at a law firm. The paralegals at that firm were conveyancing clerks and handled real estate transactions.

Of course there are lousy lawyers out there. There are lousy mechanics and lousy accountants. Typically the person who retained the lawyers simply didn't do their homework. Often people have unrealistic expectations when hiring lawyers and simply do not read the retainer agreement they sign (this would be similar to giving a mechanic a blank cheque). Many people squander lawyer's time by not being prepared and wasting time chatting on inconsequential matters. I think the first meeting with a lawyer is a critical time. I also think people make huge mistakes by not requesting detailed monthly invoices from lawyer. With the detailed invoices a person can see, right from the start, on where their hard-earned money is going to (incessant phone calls, meetings, emails, 4-way meetings, to name just a few).

I have self-represented on a few matters in the past 2 years. I can tell you that the preparation was intense. Sure, I could have hired a lawyer but I felt that I could handle this "simple" matter which went to a judge for a written hearing. I ended up successful but I can tell you it gave me a personal insight into the work a lawyer and staff put into a "simple" matter. The preparation was extensive even though I had all of the documentation I required. Putting things together and writing and rewriting the document was an exhausting task. I'm not sure I would do this again. So while my divorce seemed to be simple to me (my lawyer made it that way for me) I do know he spent many days and hours preparing. In the end it was well-spent money. I have to say, however, that my lawyer told me repeatedly how I was a good client as I didn't waste time and promptly provided any documentation he required. I took it upon myself to get up-to-speed on legal matters affecting my case. I did substantial reading and learned much by joining this forum.

trinton 05-24-2017 10:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WorkingDAD (Post 221033)
well, I would strongly disagree with such statement. I should admit thou that I was lucky and did not deal with any property issues but I would think that property related staff is just SIMPLE MATH.

Plus it so much easier just to walk away from all that stuff. How can you walk away from kid?

I don't know, I may be wrong but I think there is no more difficult issue in family law/court that custody and access...

WD

And I would agree with you. However, I am just going based on what was said to me by my local courts assessment officer / Master. To give this some context, I filed an application before a Superior Justice to obtain an order to assess my previous lawyers bill. The lawyer opposed it but I won the application on my own and self represented (some guidance here and there with my new lawyer). I got an order to assess the lawyers final account on requisition and took it all before the assessment officer. Yes I could have actually gotten all accounts under requisition but didn't know that. Regardless, at the end of the assessment hearing the assessment officer said custody/access is a medium complexity case and the amount of work that was put into the case by my last lawyer up until our parting of the ways was excessive and her final amount owing was accordingly reduced by 50%.

I am not sure whether the assessment officer was comparing complexity of custody/access to a full out divorce where there is property and spouse alimony involved or with reference to criminal trials and/or bankruptcies but it is what he said. He may have been wrong. I don't know the right answer.


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