Working with articled students and paralegals
The Law Society recently changed its rules to allow articled students and designated paralegals to perform additional duties. The purpose is to help expand the public’s access to competent and affordable legal services.
Articled students are people who have graduated from law school and who are completing a mandatory year of working with a lawyer to gain practical skills and knowledge before they can become licensed lawyers.
Articled students are allowed to give legal advice, appear in court and accept undertakings as long as they are doing so with the knowledge and supervision of a lawyer. To work with an articled student, you must first speak to a lawyer who is offering this option.
The Law Society permits "designated" paralegals to give legal advice and give and receive undertakings, under a lawyer’s supervision.
Also, the Law Society, the BC Supreme Court and the BC Provincial Court have partnered to create a two-year pilot project that will give designated paralegals a limited right tp appear in court on specific family law proceedings. In Supreme Court, the pilot project is limited to the Vancouver, New Westminster and Kamloops registries. In Provincial Court, the pilot project is limited to the Cariboo/Northeast District and Surrey.
As with articled students, if you want to work with a designated paralegal, you must request that from your lawyer.
The role of supervising lawyers
Supervising lawyers are responsible for the conduct of articled students and designated paralegals. If you have any concerns, please contact the supervising lawyer or the Law Society.