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.