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Occupational Profile

Paralegal

Paralegals do independent legal work under the general supervision of lawyers. They perform routine legal and administrative functions and assist lawyers with more complex matters.

  • Avg. Salary $72,289.00
  • Avg. Wage $36.65
  • Minimum Education 2 years post-secondary
  • Outlook Down
  • Employed 3,800
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Administrative Support Personnel, Office Personnel

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

57%
57%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Paralegal is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Legal Assistants and Paralegals in Law Firms
NOC code: 4211.1
METHODICAL

Interest in compiling information when searching for and studying records and documents

SOCIAL

Interest in assisting lawyers by interviewing clients, witnesses and other related parties, and arranging for trials

INNOVATIVE

Interest in researching records, court files and other legal documents, and assembling documentary evidence

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Jan 31, 2017

Under the direction and supervision of one or more lawyers, paralegals may:

  • draft legal documents such as pleadings, wills, real estate documents, interlocutory applications and corporate documents
  • draft and follow up on correspondence
  • submit documents for registration with appropriate agencies (for example, Corporate Registry, Land Titles, Provincial Court)
  • conduct tax, land title and other legal searches
  • assist with real estate, mortgage, estate administration, corporate, tax and intellectual property transactions
  • assist in various aspects of personal injury litigation, civil litigation and family law
  • organize documents, as well as create and maintain file management and storage systems
  • attend pre-trial and trial proceedings to assist lawyers with document management and retrieval
  • assist in preparation for and, in some cases, attend business transaction closings
  • interview witnesses and assemble documentary evidence for trials
  • act as a liaison between clients and lawyers when lawyers are unavailable
  • develop office procedures and computer functions to improve efficiency
  • perform related administrative functions (for example, take meeting minutes).

Some paralegals may specialize in specific areas, such as corporate law, litigation, securities, trademarks and patents, reals estate, environmental law, immigration, family law, bankruptcy, entertainment law or intellectual property law.

Working Conditions
Updated Jan 31, 2017

Paralegals work in an office environment. They usually work a standard work week but must be prepared to work overtime to meet deadlines.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Jan 31, 2017

Paralegals need to possess:

  • excellent interpersonal, written and oral communication skills
  • the ability to think logically and analyze information
  • the ability to organize work and co-ordinate other people's activities
  • the ability to pay careful attention to details
  • the ability to handle deadlines and periods of stress
  • the ability to work with a minimum of supervision.

Since much of their work concerns clients' private affairs, paralegals must be honest, trustworthy and have a sense of responsibility and respect for the confidentiality of client information.

They should enjoy compiling information, working with people and exploring things in depth.

Educational Requirements
Updated Jan 31, 2017

Paralegals need related post-secondary education or equivalent experience. Strong keyboarding, writing, editing, word processing and computer skills are required. Training in the Corporate Registry computer System (CORES) may be required for paralegals working in corporate services areas.

Students may be required to submit a criminal record check prior to practicum placement.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Academy of Learning - Calgary South

Academy of Learning - Edmonton Downtown

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Calgary City Centre

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Calgary North

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Calgary South

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Edmonton City Centre

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Edmonton North

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Edmonton South

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Edmonton West

Grant MacEwan University

Red Deer College

Reeves College - Calgary City Centre

Reeves College - Calgary North

Reeves College - Edmonton

Reeves College - Lethbridge

Reeves College - Lloydminster

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Prior to enrolling in a formal training program, prospective students should contact the program(s) of their choice, the Law Society of Alberta, the Canadian Bar Association (Alberta Branch), the Alberta Association of Professional Paralegals or a sampling of law firms and other potential employers to investigate the suitability of specific programs and current employment prospects for graduates.

The Legal Education Society of Alberta (LESA) offers professional development courses for those who are already employed in legal support staff positions.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Jan 31, 2017

Below-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Paralegals work under the supervision of lawyers in law firms, in court systems and in the legal departments of large organizations. Graduates of legal assistant paralegal education programs usually are hired as legal assistants. Full paralegal status and responsibility usually requires additional work experience.

Advancement opportunities are limited in this occupation. However, with considerable experience (for example, a minimum of 5 years and a paralegal diploma), paralegals may work independently rather than under the direction and supervision of one or more lawyers. In such positions, they may assist with routine legal services (for example, providing assistance to self-represented litigants or working as independent consultants to law firms) but cannot give legal advice.

Paralegals are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 4211: Paralegal and related occupations. In Alberta, 79% of people employed in this classification work in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (PDF) industry.

The employment outlook (PDF) in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 6,400 Albertans are employed in the Paralegal and other related occupations occupational group. This group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.5% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 96 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As paralegals form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for paralegals.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Jan 31, 2017

Salaries for legal assistants and paralegals vary considerably depending on location, employer and the person's qualifications.

Paralegal and related occupations
NOC code: 4211

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $17.58 $42.00 $31.79 $33.32
Overall $24.74 $44.00 $36.65 $36.95
Top $31.81 $53.00 $46.38 $50.60

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Health Care & Social Assistance
Public Administration
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Leasing

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

57%
57%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

36%
36%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

8%
8%

2015 Vacancy Rate

1%
Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Social Studies
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Legal Studies
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Clerical and Administrative Support
Other Sources of Information
Updated Jan 31, 2017

Alberta Association of Professional Paralegals (AAPP) website: alberta-paralegal.com

Legal Education Society of Alberta (LESA) website: www.lesaonline.org

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Jan 31, 2017. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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