Holding a certificate in law, or a college diploma in legal techniques, the paralegal assists his or her notary and lawyer colleagues. There is a need for them in real estate law. What skills do you need for a career in this speciality?
Know how to analyze
Becoming a paralegal in real estate law requires an analytical and systematic mind. To isolate the relevant legal facts, the paralegal must “understand the laws and regulations, the jurisprudence and the doctrine of real estate law,” says Charlotte Libman, paralegal with the commercial real estate law department of Borden Ladner Gervais.
Know how to write
Aside from the usual correspondence, the profession requires good skills in legal writing, especially when it comes to texts for publication (land registries). According to the expert, “every day the paralegal produces draft deeds (of sale, for example), commercial lease notices, reports on title deeds, summary research reports on titles.”
Know how to research
Becoming a paralegal requires skills in identifying and checking detailed information on titles. This technical skill is practiced with municipal and government organizations, with the Registre du domaine de l’État, or with the Quebec Registre public des droits miniers, réels et immobiliers. “The paralegal must be able to studiously trace the property’s “title chain”. My work is like that of a detective. Sometimes I am working with cadastral documents from the beginning of the 19th century,” Charlotte Libman relates.
Know how to be reliable
The work of a notary or lawyer relies partly on that of the paralegal. They must be able to rely on him or her, expect them to be discrete and loyal, particularly in respect of the professional secrecy to which they are held. “My real clients are the firm’s lawyers who work directly with our external clients.”
Mature, a future paralegal must also be aware of the attitudes to be adopted when working under pressure, on several cases at the same time.
Know how to be independent
This professional must possess a real sense of initiative. “We work under the responsibility of lawyers,” explains the paralegal, “but for some assignments we come directly into contact with the clients.” The paralegal also manages updating of legal software and databanks such as the catalog of real estate contract templates.