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Ontario Paralegal - Career path or waste of time?

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Someone who can get 3.3s in undergrad can probably become a paralegal, can probably pull their grades up enough to get into law school, etc. But your attitude is going to be a problem.

 

(I got a B+ on my midterm by studying 1.5 hours BEFORE my exam - long story short I have a busy schedule and planned on studying the night before the exam but fell asleep. Woke up 3 hours before the exam, took about 1.5 hours to get ready and take the bus to school).

 

You know, I've never "studied" in my life. I go to classes, professors say things, I remember them, I write them down on exams, I get 100%. Maybe I have some kind of memory disorder, I don't know. But the need to "study" for an undergraduate exam is as foreign and off-putting to me as someone saying they need to sing the alphabet song during the exam in order to remember their letters. With that background information provided, I want to say two things.

1. "Spent 90 minutes singing alphabet song, was able to remember approximately 78% of letters, at York" does not sound, to me, like an especially impressive intellect - certainly not one that entitles you to be treated like you're God's gift to the legal profession. Lawyers and paralegals have to master material much more rigorous than anything you'll find at York, and they have to do it in a lot less than ninety minutes.
2. Now that I've been an epic asshole for two paragraphs, here's the kicker: with my super brain that lets me memorize anything I want to memorize, what have I accomplished? Absolutely nothing. I have excuses, some good, some bad, but the fact is, I'm not a lawyer, and if I apply for a job as a lawyer, the guy on the other side of the table doesn't see "amazing genius who has yet to live up to his potential". He sees someone who is not a lawyer, who has not demonstrated an ability to do the job. What your real abilities, in theory, allow you to maybe do or maybe not do---that's moot. What you think your real abilities allow you to maybe do or maybe not do---that's even more moot. Quick---go ask ten people if they think they're, generally speaking, smarter than average. Seven will say yes. Three will say no, but they'll mean yes. Everyone, in their heart, is a perfect person who could have led a perfect life, if only---could've gotten As if only they'd studied, could have dated supermodels if only they'd asked out the supermodels, could have been rich if only they'd invented Facebook, which they meant to do but didn't quite get around to. But your fantasies about what you could do don't matter. And when you start weaving them into a narrative about how exceptional you are, relative to others, and start acting like they're evidence of empirical reality, it starts to become corrosive. "I got a B+ after studying for 90 minutes - I feel good about myself!" is great. "I got a B+ after studying for 90 minutes, which shows that I could have gotten an A+ after studying for a longer period of time, which shows that I am smarter than the people I would be competing with for a seat in law school!" is gross.
 

Didn't really understand what you said but thanks for contributing to the forum

 

I cannot overstate how wrong it sits with me for a newbie to thank Hegdis for contributing. It's like if I went to Buckingham Palace and said to the Queen, "Hey, thanks for coming to England!" Dude, this is an attorney trying to help you, making posts that are 95% love and 5% tough love, and you come back with this quasi-passive-aggressive malarkey?

 

Secondly, and this has absolutely nothing to do with this forum, why do you spend time and give advice here for free as you mentioned? Are you really what you claim to be? I'm just curious not skeptic.

 

Going in a few hours from "Please help me, Diplock!" to "You're not my real mom!"---again, reading your posts is like sucking air into an infected tooth, for me.

And...wait. What's this about Diplock giving advice "for free"? That was not my understanding. Anyone know how to cancel an e-mail money transfer?

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Solid advice! I pretty much got what I wanted which was advice so thanks. But I have two separate questions now.

 

Firstly, since you have the experience of working with lawyers and paralegals as you claim, I assume you know how this business works. Outside of what you have mentioned, is there anything else you can advice me on? If my goal is to become a paralegal (9-5 as you say) is there anything you can recommend I should start doing?

 

Secondly, and this has absolutely nothing to do with this forum, why do you spend time and give advice here for free as you mentioned? Are you really what you claim to be? I'm just curious not skeptic.

One of the great things about the legal profession (which may or may not be true about other professions) is that there is an ethos of helping people lower down the ladder with the only expectation that the person you help will do that for the next person. That is why lawyers like Diplock, Hegdis, Uriel, Pyke (actually I just realized that at this point the list of actual lawyers here is huge, and I am not even sure who is no longer a student which will make listing very difficult. I am a lawyer too just non practicing of that makes a difference) come here to dispense advice, because it is natural and because we were students who were helped and told that when the time comes we should help others.

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One of the great things about the legal profession (which may or may not be true about other professions) is that there is an ethos of helping people lower down the ladder with the only expectation that the person you help will do that for the next person. That is why lawyers like Diplock, Hegdis, Uriel, Pyke (actually I just realized that at this point the list of actual lawyers here is huge, and I am not even sure who is no longer a student which will make listing very difficult. I am a lawyer too just non practicing of that makes a difference) come here to dispense advice, because it is natural and because we were students who were helped and told that when the time comes we should help others.

 

I remember that happened to me some time ago also. There was a time when students who were actually even in law school were so rare on this site they could easily be counted. Now, it's increasingly a community of lawyers. I counted several dozen before I stopped trying. Admittedly, there's the more active and usual cast of characters (of which you are one) and a lot of the lawyers, like a lot of posters generally, just pop in every once in a while. But there are a lot of them.

 

In related news, there's absolutely no reason to remove yourself from the group. Granted, working as a lawyer in an in-house and non-practicing capacity is a particular career path. But when we're talking about giving advice and information to students who are looking at law school as a possibility, or are in law school, there's absolutely no reason why you have a less valid perspective. Some of those students will follow in exactly the career path that you have.

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@YB - to be fair, I was making an anal sex joke, so thanking me for my contribution was a fairly measured response to that particular comment.

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I thought you were calling out the homophobia inherent in saying "butthurt"

 

 

That too.

I've been on a crusade for years to convince people that "butthurt" is a (mild) homophobic slur, meaning "This person is too sensitive, as befits an effeminate gay homosexual who has butt sex and their butt hurts from the effeminate gay homosexual butt sex." Literally everybody insists that I'm insane and that "butthurt" is either a., gibberish, or b., a reference to spending so much time arguing on the internet that your...butt hurts from sitting in a chair? You two are the first people ever to agree with my read of the term. And in order to express my appreciation, I just want to say: thank you for contributing to the forum, and are you even lawyers?

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Credit to artsydork who has a wry delivery that tends to catch on faster than the lecture style I sometimes employ.

 

i.e. jokes can be more effective.

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I've been on a crusade for years to convince people that "butthurt" is a (mild) homophobic slur, meaning "This person is too sensitive, as befits an effeminate gay homosexual who has butt sex and their butt hurts from the effeminate gay homosexual butt sex." Literally everybody insists that I'm insane and that "butthurt" is either a., gibberish, or b., a reference to spending so much time arguing on the internet that your...butt hurts from sitting in a chair? You two are the first people ever to agree with my read of the term. And in order to express my appreciation, I just want to say: thank you for contributing to the forum, and are you even lawyers?

 

I just googled this, and some people argue that it comes from spanking children.  Like, oversensitive people are like children who have been spanked.  But that doesn't make any sense, why is an oversensitive person anymore likely to have a sore butt from spanking than any other person? 

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I thought it was from spanking as well. Not so much to indicate that the speaker is overly sensitive, but rather that their response to what you're saying is based in something other than reason or the issue at hand, such as resentment or a need to lash out (I.e., as a child's might after having been spanked). That said, it seems like the kind of thing you never encounter in mixed company, so perhaps the origins are more suspect.

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Well I might be late to this party, I just wanted to post a comment, as I feel the need to express concern regarding Paralegal Programs especially in the private career colleges.  I am a graduate of a career college, I even wrote the license examination for paralegals in February 14 2017, and I can tell you that in terms of finding a 'job', the prospects are not good at all.   I am currently unemployed.  I have been looking for work since October 2016.  Awful.  Law firms want  law clerks and legal assistants.  Hardly any want a paralegal. Unless it is a personal injury law firm, even then, law clerk is preferable.  

At this time I am considering the obvious, the possibility of working for myself as there are very little options, YES EVEN WITH A LICENSE!!  I have sent countless resumes (200) and probable had 4 interviews.  I accepted a position at a debt collections agency, which was pure hell ($15/hr).  I have a professional demeanor, very strong verbal and written skills.  Doesn't seem to matter.  Where are all the jobs?  Thanks private college for lying about all the possibilities, when there are indeed few.  Don't bother with this career path. Unless you are a millennial, with parents who have deep pockets who want to help you establish your private practise with 30 or more clients, who are willing to pay the retainer.... good luck.  Think twice.  Go to law school.  Most paralegals are struggling with anxiety, and struggle to make a living, again FEW are making the big bucks.

NP

Licensed Paralegal

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I have completed the Law Clerk Certificate Program at George Brown College St. James Campus in 2014. I passed the four courses required to get the certificate being Litigation, Corporate, Real Estate and Estates. After graduating I did not get many job offers after sending out hundreds of resumes. Lots of time wasted volunteering as well. From my experience there are too many legal professionals trying to drink from the same pond. Too much competition. The only way to make it is to know someone that can get you in or getting extremely lucky. On top of that it appears legal jobs are getting automated out. One firm downtown Toronto has a A.I program that is similar to Jeopardy’s ask and answer program Watson. It basically does all the legal research and more that any lawyer or law clerk could do in seconds. This is a bad career path and is only getting worse.

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The firm I work at employs something like forty clerks/assistants and only one paralegal (and this person was originally hired as a clerk, but went back to school while working here).

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