Paralegals specializing in commercial law work for lawyers, whom they assist in their daily work by conducting searches, preparing legal documents, updating files, or writing minutes. They can work in corporate law for a firm of lawyers specializing in this area, or in the legal department of large companies, for example.
Paralegals are more in demand than legal secretaries in light of the ever-increasing complexity of the administrative tasks they are required to perform.
- Coordinate meetings and prepare agendas
- Write meeting minutes
- Update information on companies
- Draft contracts, resolutions, agreements, and transactions pertaining to the company’s operations
- Attend client meetings with the lawyer
- Research and analyze laws and regulations associated with corporate law
To practise as a paralegal specializing in corporate law, you should have a college diploma in paralegal studies (DEC in Quebec). Sometimes people with a bachelor’s degree in the law start out as paralegals before taking the Bar exam to become lawyers. Some legal secretaries may also be promoted to paralegals in corporate law after several years of experience, for example.
- Very good knowledge of corporate law (Canada Business Corporations Act, Companies Act – Quebec, the Act respecting the legal publicity of sole proprietorships, partnerships and legal persons)
- Ability to interpret case law and laws
- Proficiency in using Office software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook)
- Web browsing proficiency (legal sites, government databanks, etc.)
- Accuracy and thoroughness
- Initiative and availability
- Ability to withstand stress
- Excellent writing skills
- Analytical skills and ability to see the big picture
- Very good time management and organizational skills
The first step involves working on more complex cases with more independence and client contacts. Another potential avenue is to specialize in a different area (real estate, civil, social, etc.) You can also work in management and head up a team of paralegals, or work towards a career as a layer by getting a bachelor’s degree in law and certification from the professional association of the province in which you plan to work.