The 2006 national census found more than 4,600 paralegals working in Quebec, with the largest concentration in Montreal. Paralegals in Quebec work primarily for lawyers and notaries in private firms and in public administration.
The paralegal profession in Quebec is not regulated by the government. Aspiring paralegals do not need to obtain certification or pass an examination. This allows aspiring paralegals to begin their careers either through obtaining education or by finding employment that will provide on-the-job training.
Paralegals in Quebec must be careful to work under the supervision of a lawyer, to refrain from providing legal advice, and to act ethically. Unauthorized practice of law can occur when paralegals provide legal advice, offer legal opinions or negotiate fees with clients. All of these things are considered the lawyer’s duties.
Paralegals in Quebec may further their careers by choosing to become Quebec notaries. These professionals have earned a law degree, completed an articling period, and passed an examination administered by the Chambre des notaries. Quebec notaries may act in all areas of law except for litigation.
In Quebec, the majority of paralegals have received some kind of formal paralegal education, with more than one-quarter of paralegals having earned a degree as of the 2006 census. Paralegal educational options include: paralegal certificates, paralegal diplomas and paralegal degrees.
|Quebec Job Statistics|
Paralegal certificates allow working professionals to add to their legal knowledge and skills. Certificate classes may be offered in person or at-a-distance. Courses may take place during the day, evening or weekend to offer flexibility to working students. Certificate programs focus specifically on paralegal education without general education courses.
Paralegal diplomas also do not offer general education coursework, instead focusing on paralegal education. Diplomas can often be completed in two years. Some diploma programs are only open to students with post-secondary education or students who have been in the workforce for many years.
Paralegal degrees encompass both general education and specialized coursework in paralegal studies. Graduates earn bachelor’s degrees, which can generally be completed in four years of study.
Quebec does not have its own paralegal association. Many paralegals choose to join the Canadian national organization, the Canadian Association of Paralegals (CAP), which is based in Montreal. CAP offers an annual convention, networking opportunities, continuing education, a job bank and scholarships to its members.
If you want information about which qualifications employers desire in job candidates for paralegal positions or if you are looking to get hired as an entry-level paralegal, large law firms are a great starting place. In Quebec, many large law firms have offices in Montreal, including:
- Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
- Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP
- Stikeman Elliott LLP
- Heenan Blaikie LLP
- Norton Rose LLP
- Lavery, de Billy L.L.P.
- McCarthy Tetrault LLP
- Dunton Rainville
- Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP
- BCF LLP
- Lapointe Rosenstein Marchand Melancon S.E.N.C.R.L.
- Robinson Sheppard Shapiro
- Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
Important Contacts for Paralegals
- Canadian Association of Paralegals (CAP)
- Chambre des Notaries du Quebec
- Barreau du Quebec
- Service Canada – Paralegal
- Quebec Department of Justice