The 2006 Canadian census found nearly 2,000 paralegals working in Nova Scotia. The Halifax and Cape Breton areas were home to the largest number of paralegal jobs. Paralegals were employed in law offices and government.
In Nova Scotia, the paralegal profession is not regulated. While paralegals must work under the direct supervision of a lawyer, they are not required to become certified or licensed.
Under the direction of a lawyer, paralegals may perform substantive legal work. A paralegal’s job duties may include: evaluating and submitting documents, performing legal research, interviewing witnesses, drafting correspondence and assisting in court.
Entry level paralegal job candidates may choose to find work that provides on-the-job training or to complete a paralegal education program that will help them be prepared for entry into the job market. Some working paralegals choose to pursue education while working in order to increase their skill level and further their careers. Paralegal education programs include certificate programs, diploma programs and degree programs.
|Nova Scotia Job Statistics|
Paralegal certificates can often be completed in one year while a student also works full-time. Certificate programs may be offered in person or online, and may have evening and weekend classes available. Certificate programs offer classes specific to paralegal education without any general education requirements.
Paralegal diplomas are typically offered by career and vocational colleges and take two years to complete. While the majority of the coursework will be specific to paralegal education, supplemental classes in computers, writing and other related topics may be offered as well. Diploma programs may be available in person or online. Field placements may be available in which students gain work experience in legal offices.
Paralegal degrees typically take four years to complete at a university. Graduates will earn bachelor’s degrees in paralegal education. Degrees combine general education with specialized coursework in the legal field. Degree programs typically offer students field placements so that students can have an opportunity to work in the legal field prior to beginning their careers.
Nova Scotia does not have a provincial professional paralegal association. However, paralegals may join one of the two national professional paralegal associations: the Canadian Association of Paralegals (CAP) and the Paralegal Society of Canada (PSC).
Representing paralegals across Canada, CAP has members who live in the Maritimes and works on issues affecting the region. CAP members benefit from its work in increasing the utilization of paralegals in the legal profession, and also from scholarships, a job bank, networking opportunities and continuing education.
The PSC works to further the paralegal profession by increasing its professionalism and dedication to ethics. The PSC also works to protect consumers from paralegals who misrepresent themselves.
Law firms are often top employers of paralegals. As such, they can be a good resource of learning more about job requirements and finding employment. Large law firms in Nova Scotia include:
- McInnes Cooper
- Stewart McKelvey
- Cox & Palmer
- BOYNECLAKRE LLP
- Burchells LLP