[OPINION] Jared Brown: Stop the Regulatory Turf Wars Between Lawyers and Paralegals

Extract from Jared Brown’s article “Stop the Regulatory Turf Wars Between Lawyers and Paralegals”

My friend Ian Wilkinson passed away in May from cancer.

I got to know Ian during a Divisional Court matter in Stratford. During a break in the proceedings, I invited him out for a coffee, and he accepted.

The purpose of the coffee invite was entirely self-interested on my part. I wanted to try to break the ice in a contentious litigation matter in the hope of finding a resolution. While we never achieved a resolution, I gained a new friendship that day.

Ian was a paralegal. Ian was also a university and law school graduate. He elected not to become a licensed lawyer and practised as a paralegal in Southwestern Ontario for almost 30 years.

Ian was smart, conscientious and hard-working. He was also ethical, courteous and civil. Ian was a professional.

I think a lot about Ian, and I am struck by the fact that there was very little difference between us professionally. While I’ve been a lawyer for 19 years, the only real difference is that I achieved the licensing requirements established by the Law Society of Upper Canada (as it was then) to be a lawyer. Ian chose not to obtain the LSUC’s imprimatur as a lawyer, but he exceeded those requirements in every way.

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