Retaining the Services of an Independent Paralegal
If you would like to retain an independent paralegal, please remember that paralegals in Alberta are not currently regulated. This means that anyone can call themselves a paralegal. It is very much a buyer beware market and we strongly encourage you to take whatever steps you deem necessary to ensure you are receiving the high quality services you are paying for.
Suggestions for retaining an independent paralegal:
Research and inquire about the paralegal you are considering retaining.
Ask to see their post-secondary credential (diploma, certificate).
Verify their identification.
Request an in-person meeting to discuss your matter and fees.
A large retainer should not be requested up front and fees should always be refundable. Do not pay up front for services you have not received.
Insist on having a written Retainer Agreement which clearly outlines the scope of the work you are retaining the paralegal to do, the paralegal's hourly rate and the amount of time they expect to spend on your matter. Be wary if you are being asked to provide a large sum of money up front.
Independent paralegals are not currently permitted to be members of the AAPP. To ensure protection of the public, all of our members are currently required to be working under the direct supervision of a lawyer. If an independent paralegal tells you they are a member of the AAPP, you are being misled. Please contact us if this occurs.
The AAPP does not issue membership cards to our members. If you are shown a document indicating the paralegal is a member of our association, the document is not authentic and we ask that you contact us immediately.