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Ottawa Graduate of the Quarter - Spring 2015

Paula Callaghan

Paralegal Program – Ottawa Campus

Licensed Paralegal – Callaghan Paralegal


Congratulations to Paula Callaghan who is our Ottawa Graduate of the Spring 2015 Quarter! Paula is a Licensed Paralegal with her own growing practice – Callaghan Paralegal. She started off primarily in the area of criminal law after an internship and a year of working with a criminal attorney. She has since branched off into small claims and landlord and tenant.

Our Graduates of the Quarter have all had to overcome obstacles to get to where they are today and Paula is no exception. Paula’s family obligations quickly became the focus of her attention. Once she was satisfied that her children were heading down a healthy and successful path, she began focusing her attention on redesigning her career. This was no easy task since her original peer group in her previous medical administrative field were far beyond her in seniority. After much deliberation, Paula recognized that her love for the law needed to be professionally developed. Paula chose the Paralegal route and found herself enrolling at Algonquin Careers Academy (ACA).

Paula enjoyed her time at ACA. She learned a lot from her teachers, and she worked very hard to prepare herself for her new career. There was a strong sense of camaraderie in her class and Paula believes that this was the source of her motivation to keep striving for higher grades. She was not there to waste her time – she was committed. The class was of varying ages and as the eldest, she was the “den mother.” Paula has since returned to ACA as a guest speaker where she was peppered with questions by the class and was able to share some of her career start experiences and some of the unanticipated obstacles she was faced with while trying to grow a new practice.

In Paula’s early licensed years, she suffered a major set-back from an accident. As a result, her new practice had to be put on hold for 9 months. Once she was back on track in terms of health, Paula took the necessary time to refresh her legal skills and bring focus back to her private practice. Fortunately for ACA, Paula was ready to return again as the Guest Speaker at a graduation ceremony. Her message to the grads?

“The road to success is not always easy but when you hit obstacles, go back to school, go back to your books, go back to your teachers.”

Obstacles can shake the confidence of even the most seasoned professionals, but through perseverance and determination, they can be overcome.

Paula was a Paralegal Bencher candidate in the 2014 LSUC Paralegal Bencher Election. The whole of the process was an experience and along the way she made many connections. Paula can often be found championing paralegal initiatives in the local community. She volunteers as Chair of the Paralegal Education Committee at the County of Carleton Law Association. She is constantly working to build bridges between young lawyers and paralegals and raise awareness about paralegals in general. Paula is also a proud member of a local networking paralegal group called The P1 Exchange (aka P1E). She enjoys getting together with her local paralegal colleagues and discussing current events.

Paula’s words of wisdom? You never know where your next referral is coming from. How you comport yourself day-to-day is a reflection of your profession – do so with grace, honesty and dignity. Your reputation as a paralegal is paramount. Boulders will be thrown in your path and you have to figure out a way to work around them.

For further information on Algonquin Careers Academy’s Paralegal program, click on the following link:

Paralegal Program at ACA

Paralegal Jobs and Compensation in Ontario

The need for well-trained, competent legal professionals has never been greater.  Paralegals in Ontario now have their own scope of practice and, within these permitted areas, are an affordable option for legal services.

Paralegals may act independently in the representation of clients. Paralegals may represent clients in small claims matters; landlord/tenant matters; matters before all federal and provincial agencies, Boards and Commissions as well as tribunals such as the Landlord Tenant Board and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. They may also appear on summary conviction procedure criminal offences.

Paralegals may find employment in a wide variety of workplaces, including:   

  • Government (Federal, Provincial, Municipal)  
  • Large Corporations
  • Self-Employed Paralegal  
  • Law and Paralegal Firms
  • Banks/Financial Institutions  
  • Insurance Companies  
  • Courts (Federal and Provincial)  
  • Legal Clinics  
  • Other Law-Related Occupations   

Paralegal Wage Information

$/hour rate:

Low Median High
$15.50 $25.00 $41.21

Source: Paralegal and Related Occupations (NOC 4211) Ontario, April 2015

Paralegals who are self-employed have an opportunity to start-up, grow and develop their own business. The ability to network and sell services is key to a successful Paralegal business. Compensation, in this case, depends on the drive and success of the individual.


For further salary and career information regarding Paralegals, click on the following link: Paralegals and Related Occupations