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  #1  
Old 01-30-2012, 11:26 AM
billiechic billiechic is offline
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Default Paralegals?

I know paralegals are not allowed to present in family court, but does anyone know if they are allowed to prepare paperwork, provide advice or help you put your case together?

They are a viable option for us who cant afford a lawyer, but want to make sure we get it all right. Anyone?
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Old 01-30-2012, 01:08 PM
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Paralegals can appear in some courts, but not family court in Ontario. They can draft documents, negotiate in mediation and so on.

The official practice limitations for paralegals are contained in this Upper Canada Law Society link:

Paralegal Frequently Asked Questions
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Old 01-30-2012, 02:04 PM
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thanks for the link Kenny
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Old 01-30-2012, 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Kenny View Post
Paralegals can appear in some courts, but not family court in Ontario. They can draft documents, negotiate in mediation and so on.

The official practice limitations for paralegals are contained in this Upper Canada Law Society link:

Paralegal Frequently Asked Questions
It is a shame that the court system in Ontario doesn't allow paralegals to represent on motion and at conferences at a minimum as these are driven by paperwork anyways.

Trials are different but, motions and conferences are just really paperwork. The oral arguments are limited. Long motion hearings are rare and only in high-conflict cases generally.

It is a shame.

Good Luck!
Tayken
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:14 AM
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I am a paralegal (well, technically a law clerk, but I would be deemed a paralegal if I wasn't working under the umbrella of a law firm)....and I wouldn't use one for things of this importance.

You want to incorporate or fight a traffic ticket fine. But fighting for your kids is too important to leave to chance. I had a whole semister of family law in school (sarcasm)....yeah, not enough training. And unless the paralegal has years of experience working firms and then went on their own, the training offered isn't the same as articling and working as an associate...
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Old 01-31-2012, 11:16 AM
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good point Hammerdad
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Old 01-31-2012, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by HammerDad View Post
I am a paralegal (well, technically a law clerk, but I would be deemed a paralegal if I wasn't working under the umbrella of a law firm)....and I wouldn't use one for things of this importance.

You want to incorporate or fight a traffic ticket fine. But fighting for your kids is too important to leave to chance. I had a whole semister of family law in school (sarcasm)....yeah, not enough training. And unless the paralegal has years of experience working firms and then went on their own, the training offered isn't the same as articling and working as an associate...
I tend to disagree as the vast majority of Family Law "solicitors" cross multiple areas of law. Many are not specialized in Family Law really. They cross into real estate, criminal and other areas of law. A good paralegal who target focuses on just Family Law could be more deadly than a solicitor who is a generalist.

The argument more is about vertical knowledge than horizontal knowledge of law. WorkingDad is an example of how a strong vertical knowledge is more important in Family Law.

As for issues with kids... The Law isn't what matters. You are better having a solicitor with psychological background and who has training specifically in the vertical knowledge of family situations. A paralegal could do the same in my opinion.

Some of the most knowledgeable people I see in the court room are self represented litigants in Family Law because they are laser focused on their knowledge.

Good Luck!
Takeyn
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Old 01-31-2012, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by HammerDad View Post
I am a paralegal (well, technically a law clerk, but I would be deemed a paralegal if I wasn't working under the umbrella of a law firm)....and I wouldn't use one for things of this importance.

You want to incorporate or fight a traffic ticket fine. But fighting for your kids is too important to leave to chance. I had a whole semister of family law in school (sarcasm)....yeah, not enough training. And unless the paralegal has years of experience working firms and then went on their own, the training offered isn't the same as articling and working as an associate...
Also, just to toot your horn for you HammerDad. You are a prime example of a paralegal I wouldn't have an issue with representing someone on motion or at a conference. Your knowledge of Family Law in my opinion goes far beyond what the vast majority of "solicitors" know. Especially in issues that relate to children.

Good Luck!
Tayken
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:50 PM
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unfortunately I found this in my search yesterday

FAMILY MATTERS
  1. Who should you consult if you are separating or getting a divorce?

    LAWYER. You need to consult a lawyer for all issues relating to family law, so that you are fully aware of your rights and obligations. A lawyer will guide you through the process and prepare all the necessary documents, such as separation agreements and those relating to contested or uncontested divorces.
    Your lawyer will work with you on issues of child custody, access matters, as well as spousal and child support, and the division and equalization of property.
    Paralegals are not permitted to give advice about family matters or represent anyone in Family Court.
Straight from the website of the Law Society itself FAQs -- The Right Legal Professional

I was also interested in the answer because I have been contemplating changing careers and paralegal was the frontrunner. Not so much now. I was hoping that they would be allowed to give advice and complete forms, even if they arent allowed to represent in court
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Old 01-31-2012, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by billiechic View Post
unfortunately I found this in my search yesterday

FAMILY MATTERS
  1. Who should you consult if you are separating or getting a divorce?

    LAWYER. You need to consult a lawyer for all issues relating to family law, so that you are fully aware of your rights and obligations. A lawyer will guide you through the process and prepare all the necessary documents, such as separation agreements and those relating to contested or uncontested divorces.
    Your lawyer will work with you on issues of child custody, access matters, as well as spousal and child support, and the division and equalization of property.
    Paralegals are not permitted to give advice about family matters or represent anyone in Family Court.
Straight from the website of the Law Society itself FAQs -- The Right Legal Professional

I was also interested in the answer because I have been contemplating changing careers and paralegal was the frontrunner. Not so much now. I was hoping that they would be allowed to give advice and complete forms, even if they arent allowed to represent in court
What I find funny about all this is that anyone can go take mediation training and become a mediator. They don't need any legal background.

Good Luck!
Tayken
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