Paralegal field – real estate sector

Paralegals work for lawyers, notaries, or generally for all types of legal professionals, whom they assist in their daily work by conducting searches, preparing legal documents, updating files, or writing minutes. They can work in real estate for a firm of lawyers specializing in this area, or in the legal department of any company with real estate operations (e.g. brokers, developers, negotiators).

MAIN DUTIES

  • Ensure the accuracy of internal and external legal documents
  • Conduct searches in the land register, at the registry office and in the register of personal and movable real rights
  • Obtain statements of school and municipal taxes
  • Write letters requesting information from various players (e.g. notary, governments, ministry, city, surveyor)

For the management of leases, a paralegal’s duties include the following:

  • Renewing leases
  • Filling out the rent registry
  • Handling the problems of leased properties as regards material and intangible matters
  • Establishing quarterly and annual reports on lease movements
  • Ensuring observance of regulatory and legal requirements as regards leases

EDUCATION

To practise as a paralegal, you should have a college diploma in paralegal studies (DEC in Quebec). Some legal secretaries may be promoted to paralegals after several years of experience. Conversely, sometimes people with a bachelor’s degree start out as paralegals before taking the Bar exam to become lawyers.

SKILLS

  • Very good legal knowledge
  • Familiarity with leasing documents and lease negotiation principles
  • Ability to interpret case law and laws
  • Knowledge of document management software
  • Proficiency in using Office software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook)
  • Web browsing proficiency (legal sites, government databanks, etc.)

QUALITIES

  • 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

CAREER PATH

As they acquire experience, paralegals get to work on bigger, more complex cases with greater responsibilities. One potential career move is to turn towards management and head up a team of paralegals. Becoming a lawyer is also feasible, but you will need to go back to school for a bachelor’s degree and certification from the professional association of the province in which you plan to work.

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