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You landed here because you want to know how to hire a qualified Toronto Paralegal.
The first step in hiring Toronto paralegals is to identify the area of law and jurisdiction of your court proceeding. For example, you will need to consider the type of court action you are filing for or against ( it could be small claims, landlord and tenants, provincial offences, human rights, or employment law), to mention a few.
Once you have these details, you can begin your search for qualified paralegals In Toronto.
How To Hire A Qualified Toronto Paralegal
Steps to Hiring A Qualified Paralegal In Toronto
Step 1 : Identify the Area of Law & Jurisdiction
Identify the area of law and territorial jurisdiction where the claim arose. Is the action related to Small Claims, Landlord & Tenant, Traffic Tickets, etc.? For example, which territory did the contract breach occur in? Or the region of the tenancy agreement? Or where did you get the traffic ticket?
Step 2 : Search Terms
Once you have identified the area of law and territorial jurisdiction where the action occurred, your next step is to conduct a search on Google with the following terms :
“Area of Law + Paralegal + Territory Where The Claim Arose”
Let’s say Small Claims is the area of law of my court action, and the cause of action arose in Toronto; the search term I will look up on Google will look like this :
“Small Claims Paralegal Toronto”
Step 3: Select Search Result Type
The search results on Google or Bing would comprise the following :
- Paid ads search results (usually on top)
- Map Pack search results (usually in the middle)
- Organic search results (usually after the map pack)
- Paid ads search results
- Map Pack
- Organic search results
Now, this is where it gets tricky. Some would click on the paid ads, while some prefer to click on the map pack and organic search results. I typically click on the latter more often than the former because organic search results are more relevant to the search query, hence, their position. Regardless of your preference, you will still need further screening, which I will discuss in the next step.
Google and Bing is not the only way to find paralegals in Toronto.
You can also search for paralegals through the Law Society of Ontario (LSO) website. Online local legal directories and professional organizations such as the Ontario Paralegal Association are other ways to find qualified paralegals in your area.
Step 4: Find Paralegal Name
Whichever section of the search results page you click. Once you land on the Paralegal / Paralegal firm’s website, click on or scroll to the about us section of their website to find the names of the paralegals you want to hire.
Some paralegal firms don’t have their names listed on their websites. I would have more confidence in paralegals that have their names listed on their websites — my opinion. However, if you can’t find a name on their website, you can find out later during a call or email correspondence with them.
Step 5: Paralegal License Status
This step is an essential part of the entire process of how to hire a qualified Toronto paralegal. Next, visit the Law Society of Ontario website and select the paralegal radio button. Then type the Paralegal’s name (you found on the website) in the form field and click on the find button — you can type out the city too, but this is optional (not necessary)
After you click the “find” button, you will find on the following page information about the Paralegal you want to hire, i.e., their license status (whether they are suspended or in active practice). Furthermore, Click the Paralegal’s name. You will see more information about them —though you cannot see the years of experience under their belt, you can see the area(s) of law/legal services they specialize in and if they are in practice on the page.
You can also read reviews and testimonials from previous clients online and ask for references if possible.
You are doing all these to vet the Paralegal you want to hire.
Step 6: Book an Appointment
In this step, you should have a list of potential Toronto paralegals you want to hire, and from here onwards, your selection criteria will depend on your first impression, location, or budget to narrow down your list of potential candidates.
Regardless, you should book an appointment or a consultation with the Paralegal using the web form on their website or by calling to book.
Step 7: Explain the issue
Explain in detail (as clearly as possible) to the Paralegal during your consultation (in person or on the phone), i.e., the issue, the parties involved, and urgency — try not to leave out anything — doing so will not only jeopardize your case but may also create miscommunication between you and the Paralegal.
Take the time to meet with the Paralegal in person to get a better sense of their personality, skills, and experience.
If you are meeting the Paralegal in person, ensure you have all relevant documents related to the matter. For example, invoice, receipt, email correspondence, signed contract agreement, photos, etc.
Step 8: Ask Questions
The Paralegal should ask you questions after your explanation. If they don’t ask questions, you should be wary and consider that as a “red flag.”
Depending on the Paralegal’s questions, you should also prepare questions to ask your Paralegal. The LSO has curated the following questions to ask your Paralegal during a consultation:
Legal option questions
- Do I have a legal case?
- What are my options/choices?
- What is the estimated duration of my case if I hire you?
- What is the next step after I hire you?
- What would be expected of me to do?
- How realistic is my expectation?
- Are there grounds for settlement? If Yes, what is the potential outlook?
- How do you charge: hourly or contingency?
- What is the estimated cost of hiring your services?
- Will there be other charges aside from what I pay you?
- Is there a retainer fee? If Yes, how much?
- Method of payment?
- What happens if I run out of money and the case isn’t settled?
- What would be the medium for communication? Email or Phone
- Do I get charged each time I call you or email you?
It is crucial to ensure that you are both on the same page and that the Paralegal is comfortable taking on the case and your budget.
Step 9: Hire Paralegal
Once you have had all your questions answered by the Toronto paralegal and are satisfied with the answers, you may proceed to hire the Paralegal as your legal representative.
By now, you should have learnt one or two from this step-by-step guide on how to hire a qualified Toronto Paralegal. It may seem like a long process, but realistically, it isn’t. Remember, anything worth doing is worth doing well.
Good luck with your search!