The 2006 Canadian census found 350 paralegals working in New Brunswick, a large increase from the zero paralegals who reported employment in 2000. This growth demonstrates that New Brunswick is an emerging market. A majority of New Brunswick’s paralegals work in or near Fredericton for private law firms or government agencies.
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The paralegal profession in New Brunswick is unregulated. No license or certification is required in order for paralegals to work legally. However, they must work under the direct supervision of a lawyer and must avoid activities that could be seen as unauthorized practice of law.
The job duties of paralegals vary depending on the type of office and its specialization. Some tasks that a paralegal might be charged with are: performing legal research, preparing legal documents, assisting on transactions and communicating with clients.
Because the paralegal profession in New Brunswick is emerging, law firms and government agencies may expect to provide on-the-job training to paralegals in lieu of finding someone that has completed a paralegal education program. However, many paralegals both work and take courses to supplement their job training and advance their careers.
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Paralegal certificates are available through programs attended in person or online. They are often tailored to meet the needs of working students, with classes in the evening or on the weekend. Certificate programs offer focused coursework in paralegal studies without general education classes. They can often be completed in one year.
Paralegal diplomas can often be earned in two years by taking courses either in person or online. Typically, students take only courses directly related to paralegal education and not general education courses. Diplomas are usually earned through career or vocational colleges.
Paralegal degrees, such as bachelor’s degrees, can be earned at universities in an estimated four full-time years. Degrees require a combination of general education coursework and major-specific classes. Some degree programs may also offer field placements in which students are able to gain work experience in their desired field.
New Brunswick does not yet have a professional paralegal association. Paralegals in New Brunswick may instead choose to join one of the two national professional paralegal associations: the Canadian Association of Paralegals (CAP).<!- mfunc search_btn -> <!- /mfunc search_btn ->
With over 700 members nationally, CAP has representatives from the Maritimes and seeks to represent their interests at the national level. CAP works to promote the paralegal profession and increase the use of paralegals within the legal system, especially within emerging regions. CAP also provides individual benefits to its members, including scholarships, a job bank, seminars and social opportunities.
The PSC represents paralegals while also advocating for consumers. It works to increase the ethical behavior of paralegals through self-regulation and high standards for membership.
Nationally, law firms employ the largest numbers of paralegals. They can be good places to contact about job prospects and job requirements if you plan to join the paralegal profession. New Brunswick’s largest law firms include:
- Barry Spalding
- McInnes Cooper
- Cox & Palmer
- Stewart McKelvey
Important Contacts for Paralegals
- Canadian Association of Paralegals
- Paralegal Society of Canada
- Law Society of New Brunswick