Paralegals are one of the fastest-growing and most in-demand professions in the country. Whether you want to work at a law firm, or start your own paralegal practice, it’s pretty clear that choosing paralegal studies as your legal profession of choice anywhere in Canada is a great career choice.
And while you could become a paralegal in Vancouver, Montreal, or Calgary – to name a few – there are some specific reasons why becoming a licensed paralegal in Ontario, and more specifically Toronto, will be hugely beneficial to your career path.
So, here are 6 reasons why you should become a paralegal in Toronto!
Ontario Paralegal Studies Are Regulated
Unlike other Canadian provinces, Ontario’s paralegal studies are regulated. This means there are stricter educational and professional standards from the Law Society of Ontario that must be met during your education in order to receive the appropriate qualification.
While this may sound like unnecessary work, it’s actually a major benefit, as, unlike every other Canadian province, paralegals in Ontario are actually able to practice some elements of the law independent of a lawyer.
This means that, if you become a paralegal in Toronto, you’ll have a leg up on the competition when it comes to finding work, as your skill set will be more developed than paralegals with non-regulated qualifications from other provinces.
And of course, having a more developed skillset means you can take on more responsibilities, and taking on more responsibilities means a higher salary. So becoming a paralegal in Toronto really is a win-win, as not only will you be able to undertake more interesting tasks, but your compensation will increase to reflect your capabilities!
If you want to learn more about paralegal career paths, requirements from the Law Society of Ontario, and average salaries, check out our What is a Paralegal blog post.
Get Into The Workforce Faster
One of the biggest benefits of starting your journey towards a paralegal practice in Toronto is that you can get into the Canadian legal system a lot faster.
Becoming a lawyer in Canada requires completing a four-year pre-law Bachelor’s degree, passing the LSAT exam, completing an additional three-year law school program, sitting and passing the bar exam in your province, and registering with the Canadian government as a practicing lawyer. All in all, most students take on average eight years to become licensed, practicing lawyers.
Conversely, becoming a licensed paralegal is a much faster process. While there are different levels of paralegal courses in Toronto available, ranging from certificate to degree, the longest study time is generally four years. That said, paralegal diplomas and certificates generally take between one to two years, meaning you could have your paralegal license and be out in the workforce eight times faster than if you became a lawyer.
With Toronto being Canada’s business capital, there’s is an abundance of law firms and other employers eager to hire you as a paralegal. The sooner you become available to them the better, as you’ll provide yourself with additional time to learn new skills, take on additional responsibilities, and earn additional income otherwise lost while enrolled in school.
And with so many law firms in Toronto, the opportunity to change employers is far greater than in other cities with a less diverse and abundant legal scene. Whether you are looking for a higher salary, a change of scenery, or to take on new and different roles as a paralegal, there’s no better to explore those possibilities than in Toronto.
Learn About Legal Professions
Becoming a paralegal also allows you the opportunity to learn more about the legal field.
A secondary benefit for not having spent almost a decade in school becoming a lawyer is that you can begin to dip your toes into the legal field waters to see if it actually appeals to you long term. As you haven’t just spent eight years studying to become something you might ultimately not enjoy, the cost of opportunity is a lot lower when studying to become a paralegal compared to a lawyer.
This means that, should you become a paralegal and find that it is not for you, you won’t have just spent almost a decade studying to get into a career you’re not going to stick with. Starting a paralegal practice allows you to get a taste of the industry without committing thousands of hours and dollars off the bat.
As mentioned above, Toronto simply provides the greatest number of paralegal employment opportunities of any city in Canada. This makes learning about other professions within the legal field far easier, as you have significant access to a variety of different firms, companies, and associations.
Whereas you may have to look outside of your city to find a paralegal opportunity different from the one you’re currently employed in when residing in other Canadian cities, when in Toronto, it’s simply a matter of seeking out a different company already located close to home.
This ease of access makes learning about other legal professions and discovering how different employers run their offices extremely easy, providing you with the opportunity to find your ideal fit and preferred company culture.
Finding your ideal work environment and prioritizing your work-life balance is important, so be sure not to overlook the availability of different employers when considering what city to become a paralegal in.
Get Real-World Experience
Many paralegal courses give you the opportunity to get real-world experience in the legal industry.
A requirement for graduation in Ontario to become a paralegal is spending a minimum amount of time placed in a real-world legal scenario. This can include a government office, law firm, private practice, or another legal department. Having an opportunity to get some experience for what a career in the law industry might be like before you have even graduated is an invaluable tool in determining what is right for you.
Cestar College’s Paralegal Program
Here at Cestar College, all students are required to complete a 120-hour field placement in a legal environment within a paralegal’s permitted scope of practice – which can be in both the public and private sectors.
Most commonly, our students’ legal settings are a court office, legal clinic, legal departments, paralegal firm, law offices, or with municipal prosecutors.
Topics of Study
These environments allow them to learn about specific legal subjects and paralegal-specific professional responsibilities such as employment law, criminal law, tenant law, statutory law, consumer law, contract law, administrative law, ethical and professional responsibilities, legal research, reading and writing legal documents, and more!
The variety of paralegal options in Toronto is immense, so you’ll have no difficulty in choosing your placement when enrolled in Cestar College’s paralegal program.
Make Professional Connections
Licensed paralegals have the opportunity to make important and powerful connections in the legal industry.
With successful completion of your 120-hour placement in a real-world legal situation, you will be given the opportunity to meet fellow legal professionals, make introductions and connections, and potentially secure an attractive position within the legal profession further down the line.
If you make a good enough impression during your placement, you will be well-positioned to leap at any job openings they might have once you graduate. Even if you do not end up pursuing a paralegal career forever, it is always good to know people in different industries who you can turn to during different points in your professional life.
With Toronto being at the top of Canada’s legal food chain, the connections you make here will go a long way in securing employment within the industry, whether that’s in Toronto or elsewhere in the country. Make sure you don’t underestimate the importance of making professional connections within the legal industry – it can often be the difference between getting a job offer and never hearing back from a company.
Cestar College = Easy Connections
Make sure to take advantage of all the resources Cestar College’s Toronto paralegal program offers. Be proactive, make connections, and let your professional circle propel your paralegal career.
Change Your Career Path Within The Legal Profession
The final reason that becoming a paralegal is great is that it allows you to have a career path change, even if you are later into your professional life.
Due to the relatively low barriers to entry for a paralegal diploma, more people are able to change their careers by taking the appropriate paralegal course in Toronto. Paralegal studies is a great option for students from all walks of life that are looking for a professional change into an exciting and in-demand career.
If you’re currently a professional working in Toronto, enrolling in a paralegal program within the city is a great way to remain at home while taking this significant step towards your new career.
And just like making professional connections as a paralegal is important, using those connections from your previous career can be equally important. By remaining in the city where you’ve built those connections, you can more easily take advantage of the inevitable opportunities that will be presented to you by those you know.
Whether that’s an existing employer willing to hire you within their legal department or a friend providing a reference, remaining in the city where you’ve built your professional career and reputation will be greatly beneficial as you transition to becoming a paralegal.
Enroll with Cestar College
Paralegal Education – Toronto
Are you ready to take the next step in your professional life and become a paralegal? Cestar College offers a holistic paralegal program, focusing on real-world skills and a deep understanding of the law through both theoretical and practical training. Domestic and international students will have to opportunity to learn about the paralegal practice, as well as the Canadian court system, legal services, legal research, and so much more. Our 120-hour internship placement program gives students hands-on experience while they complete their studies.
Cestar College’s Paralegal Program admission requirements are available here!
Contact us today and find out how you can change your future tomorrow.