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Paralegal

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

Also Known As

Administrative Support Personnel, Office Personnel

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Legal Assistants and Paralegals in Law Firms (4211.1) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Paralegal and Related Occupations (E211) 
  • 2011 NOC: Paralegal and related occupations (4211) 
  • 2016 NOC: Paralegal and related occupations (4211) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Legal Assistants and Paralegals in Law Firms

2006 NOC: 4211.1

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Mar 05, 2021

Working alongside one or more lawyers, paralegals:

  • Draft legal documents 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, all levels of 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, wills and estates, real estate law, 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.  Paralegals have a billable rate and may have their own assistant.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 05, 2021
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

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

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 05, 2021

Paralegals need:

  • Excellent interpersonal, written and oral communication skills
  • To think logically and analyze information
  • To organize work and coordinate other people's activities
  • To pay careful attention to details
  • To handle deadlines and periods of stress
  • To work with a minimum of supervision

Since much of their work concerns clients' private affairs, paralegals need to:

  • Act in a professional and courteous manner
  • Be honest
  • Be trustworthy
  • Be responsible
  • Be respectful of confidential client information

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

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Paralegal and related occupations

2016 NOC: 4211

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 17 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Nov 17, 2021 and Nov 21, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Attention to detail
Tasks: Draft legal correspondence and perform general office and clerical duties
Construction Specialization: Reliability
Construction Specialization: Accurate
Tasks: Research records, court files and other legal documents
Tasks: Prepare wills, real estate transactions and other legal documents, court reports and affidavits
Other benefits: Free parking available
Tasks: Witness and certify the validity of signatures on documents
Certificates, Licences, Memberships, and Courses : In-house training from a law firm or law clerk program
Computer and Technology Knowledge: MS Office
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 05, 2021
  • Minimum Education 2 years post-secondary

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 Central
Academy of Learning - Edmonton Downtown
Bow Valley College
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
Grant MacEwan University
Red Deer Polytechnic
Reeves College - Calgary City Centre
Reeves College - Calgary North
Reeves College - Edmonton
Reeves College - Lethbridge
Reeves College - Lloydminster
Southern Alberta Institute of Technology
Sundance College - Edmonton

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

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, legal recruiters and/or a sampling of law firms and other potential employers to investigate the suitability of specific programs and current employment prospects for graduates.

The Alberta Association of Professional Paralegals and the Legal Education Society of Alberta (LESA) offer professional development opportunities for those already employed in non-lawyer legal positions.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 05, 2021
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 05, 2021

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 and paralegal studies education programs usually are hired as legal assistants. Full paralegal status and responsibility usually requires several years of 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 (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the 4211: Paralegal and related occupations occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 77 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2019-2023 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 05, 2021

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

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Paralegal and related occupations

2016 NOC: 4211
Average Wage
$38.16
Per Hour
Average Salary
$70,711.00
Per Year
Average Hours
35.7
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 4211 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

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.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $19.78 $38.46 $30.57 $30.77
Overall $25.00 $43.59 $38.16 $38.46
Top $28.85 $59.26 $51.13 $52.20

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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

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

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
35%
35%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
47%
47%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
10%
10%
Vacancy Rate
5%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Clerical and Administrative Support
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 05, 2021

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

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

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 05, 2021. 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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