ACA’s Paralegal Program is All Encompassing
The Paralegal program at Algonquin Careers Academy is the real deal – it is accredited by the LSUC, we are continually updating it with new requirements as well as to go above and beyond, our students are participating and winning awards in the moot court competitions for paralegal students and the instructors are keen, dedicated and top notch. More on this below!
The Paralegal Cup is a moot court competition that is open exclusively to students in accredited paralegal programs. This year, Algonquin Careers Academy Ottawa was proud to participate for the second consecutive year. We travelled to Toronto to participate with the team, two coaches, and a couple of cheering section members. At the end of the first day, we were invited to the quarter-final round on the second day of competition, and walked away with the First Prize in written advocacy for Karen Jacobs and Alia Ahmed Osman, our fierce team of two.
The Access to Justice Act, 2006 [i] passed by the Ontario Legislature gave the Law Society the authority to regulate the profession of paralegals in conjunction with its traditional role of regulating the profession of lawyers. The mandate or purpose of the Law Society of Upper Canada is to govern the Ontario paralegal and legal professions in the “public interest”. The Law Society has the authority to set the standards for entry to practice for all lawyers and paralegals, and to discipline those who fall short of their standards.
September marked the start of a new era in paralegal education. The Law Society created a set of new standards for paralegal education, which includes a requirement that schools apply for reaccreditation every five years. Along with our application for reaccreditation, we have been busy ensuring that our students are getting the most current legal education available. The five year cycle will ensure that Colleges are keeping up to date with the most current law, and ensure consistency in paralegal education across all accredited providers of the program. At the most recent Convocation, which is the monthly meeting of the Law Society, they reiterated their goal to look at increasing the scope of paralegal practice.
Finally, as other Colleges take a long winter’s nap, our classes are still busy studying, writing, arguing and presenting their assignments this month. We are also visiting the Supreme Court and Parliament on December 16. This pace is what is needed to ensure that our students are as prepared as they can be to challenge the paralegal licensing exam when they graduate.
Our program provides more than the minimum hours required for most courses, and additional legal courses that further assist our graduates in meeting the objective of professional competence. In addition, we strive to ensure continued testing of the adaptability, professionalism, and flexibility of students – three qualities that are essential in licensed paralegals. Our graduates will be well prepared for the life of a paralegal!
By Carrie-Lynn Barkley, Program Coordinator and Instructor, Paralegal, Algonquin Careers Academy
[i] S.O. 2006, c. 21