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danomano2003

Out to lunch?

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I finished my practicum for for my paralegal program at the in Nov of 2020. I submitted my final info on that and since then I have received very little info from the school as to what to do next, like when do I write my license exam and so forth. I emailed and phone called to little avail. There has been virtually no correspondence. So I had to figure out for myself the fee schedule and prices and exam dates, and study materials etc. I went to the LSO website and to the emond.ca website to find more info. Its just disappointing that the school would just drop me off the earth like that. But maybe that's common. Maybe it more my responsibility now to see this thing thorough like next steps, exam prep, fees and ultimately, getting a job as a paralegal and start living again. Maybe these difficulties or oversights are because of COVID, which could be understandable. 

I could try to expedite things and try to get myself registered to take the February licensing exam. But whether or not I dropped the ball or the school did on deadlines, I am thinking that it maybe too late to try to study for the exam for Feb and should wait until July anyway. I was wondering how difficult and time consuming is the study prep required for the licensing exam? Could I work full time and do it? Could I be in school full time doing another program? (I am currently enrolled in the schools full time studies in another program, it goes until early April.)

Since the school has seemingly gone to sleep, I was wondering if you could tell me about anything else I could or should be doing to advance my career in these early stages. I am not sure if there is a paralegal society of practicing paralegals or something to that effect or a group or organization that might send a monthly news letter. 

How employable am I as simply a graduate, but not licensed? 

I hope I don't appear too out to lunch, so I was hoping you could provide some more insight on how to be a more practical, reasonable and responsible paralegal graduate. 

Any insight you have could be of great value, I am sure.

Thank you

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You are not a paralegal until you are licensed. Once licensed, you'll be a member of the Law Society on Ontario and receive notices. There are likely paralegal associations, either on a provincial or regional level. A quick google search of "paralegal association ontario" brought me to the Ontario Paralegal Association.  

You are looking to join a very entrepreneurial career. The market is fairly saturated and there isn't an organized recruit for paralegals like there is for lawyers.  Once called, you hold a lot of power as an officer of the court and by being a regulated professional - you need to approach your career with this in mind. That said, the school didn't drop the ball by not keeping you apprised of LSO registration - you are responsible for applications, deadlines and networking.

I can't speak to the difficulty of the paralegal exam - personally, I took time off to study for my BAR exams (lawyer) as I attempted to do one while working full-time and was not successful. Each person is different and you need to look to consider how you do in exam situations and study habits.

Regarding employability, as an employer, I would hire someone with a law clerk background over a paralegal grad. Law clerk programs teach more the admin side of practice while paralegal grads are taking courses in advocacy. Non-licensed paralegals are seemingly working in a variety of quasi-judicial roles, such as contracts, litigation support and general office support. If you want to work as a paralegal, such as taking on your own clients, providing legal advice and advocacy, you're going to need to pass the bar exam. Your employability is also likely going to be contingent on your experience/CV as well.

 

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Ok. That is some very good advice and I am so glad you answered. It is most helpful as any information from any one who has a better understanding of my new career environment. It helps me put a framework on my scopes and bottles the ends in a way. 

I joined the Paralegal Association of Ontario and they have quite a bit of information to sift through as does the paralegal society of Canada. Career in motion. Thank you. 

Anyone else feel free to add as more info is good info. 

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I wrote the February 2019 exam. If you have your materials now I think you could feasibly write it then but I don't know what your studying habits are. I recommend you read through the entire book at least once to have a good sense of where everything is because the exam is really just "how quickly and accurately can you find the answer to this question." I had no troubles working full time and studying.

I found the exam to be easy, the day is just very long. Truly if you did well in your paralegal classes, you will do well on this exam. At least I found my school did an amazing job at making sure we were prepared. 

And as artsydork said, you are not a licensed paralegal until you have taken this exam. You said you're in school for something else right now, why are you doing that if what you want to do is be a paralegal? Once you're licensed, you're looking at a little over one grand per year for licensing fees, and you need insurance as well which I know for me was about $500ish for a year (and it's more expensive than that if you plan on practicing accident benefits). There's not going to be any school to hold your hand and tell you when your LSO fees are due, or when your annual report filing is due, when your client's claim is due in court, etc. Ultimately any crunch you are feeling right now is your own doing, as harsh as that might be to hear. 

The Ontario Paralegal Association might be worth checking out. Was your placement principal not hiring or anything? They may be a good resource to start your networking as well. 

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