Across Canada, the legal profession is faced with a critical challenge: find ways to increase access to justice — especially to citizens caught in the middle, who do not qualify for legal aid, but also can’t afford expensive legal fees.
Over the last few years, BC has undertaken an important program that helps address this access to justice crisis. The Designated Paralegal program allows paralegals working under the supervision of a lawyer to deliver competent, affordable legal help at significantly lower rates than traditional legal services.
As we work with so many talented, dedicated paralegals here at Dye & Durham, we think this program is worth calling attention to. Here’s a look at how it’s evolved in the short time since its inception:
What’s next for the designated paralegal in BC? A Paralegal Certification Project is underway at the Law Society of BC in consultation with the BC Paralegal Association. Will paralegals eventually become regulated in their own right, as they are in Ontario? Only time will tell!
Interesting in learning more?
- For a first-person look at how the program is working for paralegals, lawyers and the Law Society, see the feature article, Designated paralegals in the delivery of legal services, in Benchers’ Bulletin.
- For an in-depth look at one designated paralegal’s duties and her role within a law firm, see the blog post Paralegals and the Best Possible Service at JFK Law
- To learn about the role of paralegals in the legal profession; the difference between paralegals, legal assistants, and legal administrative assistants; where to get paralegal education and training; and the paralegal community in BC, visit the BC Paralegal Association‘s FAQ page.