Zena Olijnyk: Paralegals Play a Key Role, Especially When Armed With Legal Tech Tools: Innovation Webinar Speakers

Extract from Zena Olijnyk’s article “Paralegals Play a Key Role, Especially When Armed With Legal Tech Tools: Innovation Webinar Speakers”

Law firms that recognize the unique responsibilities of paralegals are seeing better client satisfaction and retention, speakers at a recent discussion on paraprofessionals and innovation told attendees. Paralegals will also thrive most when they have the legal tech tools to optimize their talents and experience.

Paralegals are often the “middle child” of a law firm, the CEO and founder of Spider Silk Solutions, Karen Tuschak, said at a late-October Canadian Legal Innovation Forum webinar on how paraprofessionals are driving transformation in law firms. “They’re not the associates, and they are not the legal assistants, so where do they fit? Most firms typically have just put them with whatever works.”

But Tuschak noted that more enlightened firms are seeing how paralegals can be the backbone of a law firm, not only because of the services they provide but because of the relationships they develop with clients.

“They actually become a client retention tool because the client gets to know them,” she said, adding that paraprofessionals tend not to jump from firm to firm and are often the main point of contact for clients. “I think good law firms are starting to get that and are treating them as revenue generators.”

Karen Anderson, manager of corporate services for Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, also acknowledged the value of paralegals within a law firm, from juniors who assist with compliance “right up to seniors that do transactional work.”

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