What a great informative morning session. A panel was assembled with representatives joining our President, Lorretta Klein: two Board of Directors of the Paralegal Association of BC and one from the Ontario Paralegal Association; the Editor of Paralegal Scope Magazine and the Founder of a virtual law staffing agency. The topic was on regulation of paralegals, the catalyst to regulation in Ontario, access to justice being the catalyst for systemic change in both BC and Alberta, what Commonwealth countries are doing to address the problem of access to justice, the need for continuing education for para-professionals and the burgeoning virtual law firm practice. Among invited guests attending were a Human Resources & a General Manager from a large national law firm and as two Advisory members from Bow Valley College. Thank you to our panelists for their time to prepare and present and our members for attending. We tied our two cities of Edmonton and Calgary together by teleconference and members in rural areas of Alberta were also invited to join.
Are you a passionate and committed professional who is proud of the contribution you bring to the legal community? Are you looking for like-minded individuals to network and provide a support system, including continuing education? Then consider joining our Association. Application forms can be found on our website.
The BCPA News Release of December 6, 2013 announced that recommendations in the Final report of the Legal Service Provider Task Force were unanimously approved by the Benchers of the Law Society. The recommendations of particular interest were #2 and #3 as follows:
Recommendation #2: a program be created for certification of paralegals; and Recommendation #3: a regulatory framework be developed by which new stand-alone groups of legal service providers could provide credentialed and regulated legal services in the public interest.
The BCPA looks forward to continuing to work with the Law Society to develop the criteria for certification for paralegals, and to consider how best to create the regulatory framework.
AAPP is following these developments with great interest.
This issue has been pushed to the forefront in the legal community because of the crisis in civil and family law in Canada. We are not alone as other countries are faced with similar lack of affordable legal services. Ontario is the only regulated province for paralegals however British Columbia has now expanded the role of the paralegal as well as looking at the possibility of regulation. Alberta has actioned a Joint Committee of legal stakeholders in the Province to come up with creative solutions. AAPP follows these initiatives with great interest and is part of the Joint Action Committee. As the need increases for paralegal services so will the demand for qualified legal support staff.
Your Board of Directors would appreciate your ideas concerning where you see the Association going in the next year. Are our needs changing with regard to how we interact with one another? Do you prefer face-to-face meetings or electronic delivery of such matters as learning opportunities and our Annual General Meeting? Please feel free to post a comment.