In order to decrease the cost of legal services the Law Society of BC is proposing the paralegals be given the power to do things such as advise clients about available legal options, how agreements or court orders may affect their rights or obligations and in limited circumstances appear in court to assist a client represent themselves.
There is push back from some lawyers who are concerned that paralegals may not have sufficient knowledge of the law in order to provide accurate advice to clients. Many lawyers believe the answer is not to increase the things that paralegals can do but to increase the budget for legal aid so that clients can obtain free legal services from a lawyer.
In spite of this the Law Society is continuing to work on a scheme that will allow paralegals to do more legal work. It will be interesting to watch how this progresses and it could be a very good way for clients to reduce their legal costs.
Deborah A. Todd