In Ontario, there are two classes of legal professionals that can help you with legal matters; lawyers and paralegals. The Law Society of Ontario (LSO), regulate the activities the two related groups. A lawyer or an attorney is a professional that can represent you in any legal matter. Their services are often comprehensive, and they may charge higher than the paralegals.
The paralegals, on the other hand, can handle certain matters and, depending on the nature of your case, may be the right people to hire. The process of hiring a paralegal in Ontario is not so different from what is involved in hiring a lawyer. Here are some ideas that will help you in this regard:
Ask For Referrals from Close Associates
There might have been some friends or family members that have used the services of a paralegal in the past; ask such individuals if there are some professionals they can refer you to. If they had a great experience working with a particular professional, chances are that you will benefit from the services of such individual.
Use the Lawyer and Paralegal Directory
In Ontario, the Law Society has an online directory of lawyers and paralegals that have been fully licensed to operate in the province. You can search the directory by name, city, or postal code. Even if you have someone in mind you wish to work with, the directory will help you to gain more insight into the person’s practice. If there is any information about the paralegal that will influence your decision such as discipline history, restrictions, or if there is a trusteeship, you can find such information in the directory.
Use the Law Society Referral Service
Thankfully, the Law Society also operates a referral service that can help you to find a paralegal that works within or near your community. This can be very useful if you haven’t made use of their services before or doesn’t know anyone that can recommend a competent professional for you.
Hire a Specialist in the Area You Need Help In
While paralegals can often do well within their areas of jurisdiction, there are some that will perform better than others. Be sure to outline the exact thing you need the paralegal to do for you and search for an individual that has experience in that field. While meeting the professional for the first time, do not be afraid to ask a relevant question about qualification, experience level, and how far he/she can go with you in the legal matter you are dealing.
There you have it! The above is a step-by-step guide to help you hire a paralegal in Ontario. When your case doesn’t require a lawyer or when you do not have enough money to hire a lawyer in a case that a paralegal can handle, do not be afraid to hire a paralegal. They are well trained and regulated to deliver quality legal service to residents.
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