What is the difference between a lawyer and paralegal in Ontario?
A lawyer is licensed by the Law Society of Ontario to practice law. A lawyer can practice any area of law without limitations, unlike a paralegal.
A paralegal is licensed by the Law Society of Ontario to provide legal services to the public but within a limited scope.
What is the limitation?
A paralegal can only provide legal services to the public for lawsuits up to a maximum of $35,000.00 in the Small Claims Court and Tribunal forums, such as, the Landlord and Tenant Board and Human Rights Tribunal.
What legal services do paralegals provide?
This is not an exhaustive list, but generally, paralegals provide legal services by:
drafting correspondence and pleadings (claims/defences);
preparing and filing legal documents;
negotiating settlements; and,
representing you in court.
The Role of the Law Society of Ontario
Lawyers and paralegals in Ontario are governed by the Law Society of Ontario. Both lawyers and paralegals are required by the Law Society of Ontario to complete Continuing Professional Development hours on an annual basis to ensure that paralegals and lawyers are up-to-date with, among other things, new rules, regulations and practice directions.