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).
Ask to see proof of practice insurance.
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.
As of January 2022, Independent paralegals are permitted to be members of the AAPP. All Independent Paralegal members of the AAPP have gone through a vetting process to ensure they are educated, skilled and insured. They will also have a membership card showing their name, level of membership and membership #. As members of the AAPP they have agreed to our Code of Conduct and the Bylaws of the Association.
If you wish to confirm that an Independent Paralegal is a member of the AAPP, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org