School of Legal Studies

  • Capilano University's Paralegal program was designed to meet the needs of the legal community by providing substantive and skills-based legal education for paralegals. The first Diploma (full-time) and Certificate (part-time) options were developed in 1976.  The curriculum and course content mirrored the American Bar Association requirements for paralegal education and were developed with the input of the Law Society BC. In 2010 our four-year full-time Degree option was added. The School of Legal Studies is a member of the British Columbia Paralegal Association and the American Association for Paralegal Education.

    Faculty maintains close contact with the legal community, and several faculty members are practicing lawyers. As well, support is provided by an external Advisory Committee which provides information on recent developments in the legal community and offers advice on topics ranging from curriculum changes to graduate placements. 

    Members of the Advisory Committee include representatives from the Law Society of British Columbia, the Canadian Bar Association, private law firms, a government agency, crown corporations and the Association of Law Office Administrators.

    What is a Paralegal?

    A paralegal is a person qualified by education, who is employed by a lawyer, corporation, or government agency and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work, for which a lawyer is responsible.

    Some examples of work performed by paralegals are:
    • interviewing clients and witnesses
    • drafting pleadings, wills, probate, intellectual property, conveyance and corporate documents
    • legal research
    • file management
    • assisting in trial preparation

    The skills that are required of paralegals and which are emphasized in our program include:

    • excellent knowledge of court procedures and relevant Acts and Rules
    • knowledge of drafting documents (including various types of contracts as well as pleadings such as Notices of Civil Claim and Responses to Civil Claim, as well as Notices of Application, Affidavits, and Interrogatories, etc.)
    • application of manual and computerized legal research methodology
    • ability to review, analyze and make recommendations concerning case file details
    • ability to organize and prioritize a substantial workload
    • ability to work independently with minimal supervision
    • ability to display a high degree of initiative and self motivation
    • excellent interpersonal skills
    • ability to maintain confidentiality at all times
    • ability to display diplomacy and tact at all times