OH THE PLACES YOU’LL GO: WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH PARALEGAL DIPLOMA
Paralegals lead challenging and rewarding professional lives, making an average salary of $49,500 CAD per year. Take the fast lane to break into the field of law with a one-year course instead of paying $90,000 CAD a year to attend law school.
Start by applying to private law firms. You’ll work alongside attorneys to manage case files, conduct investigations, and assist the firm’s lawyers to piece together strategies for litigation and defence. Only Juris Doctors (lawyers) can become full-fledged partners, but law school remains outside the financial reach for most Canadians. Private law firms also offer some of the highest-paying positions for paralegals.
Corporations also offer high-paying positions. You’ll acquire a new set of sub-skills in corporate law by taking this route. Learn about professional purchasing, the mechanics of contract law, and perhaps even gain a background in Human Resources knowledge. Participating in projects involving company policy, hiring, and negotiations will expand your repertoire of skills over time to make you an ideal candidate to work almost anywhere in a given corporation.
Government positions tend to offer slightly lower pay levels than private law firms and corporations, but they offer some of the best job security in the industry. Picking up French as a second language could boost your chances of employment by opening Quebec’s job market to you as well. Quebec holds around one-third of the Canadian population, so learning French could be a highly useful skill to add to you résumé. The government has also been known to train promising employees in learning French; you can and should discuss the possibilities of employment and second languages with government hiring representatives.
Non-profit and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) offer the most fulfilment for aspiring paralegals. Their very nature as ‘non-profit’ organizations means that they don’t pay as well as private firms or even government positions in most cases; however, they do offer fantastic opportunities to help employees get their career started in fast-paced environments. Working for an NGO or a similar group will add exceptional value to the résumés of newly minted paralegals.
You’ll conduct legal research, draft legal briefs, conduct investigations, craft reports, draft motions, and organize other materials for lawyers to review. These let you move just about anywhere in the legal field, including positions like: legal assistant, legal secretary, administrative assistant, and personal consultant. There are dozens more to list, but the larger point is that people who have taken paralegal courses gain the skills to move up the ladder in any organization that they join.
These are the hard skills that you can perform exiting your program, but the soft skills that you develop alongside them make trained paralegals suited to managing small details to form effective strategies in all walks of life. The world of personal finance has proven to be a particularly comfortable home for trained paralegals; TD Canada Trust hires triOS graduates on a regular basis.