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Paralegal licensing webcast transcript

[Start of recorded material 00:00:12]
Interviewer:      Good afternoon and welcome to today’s webcast on the Paralegal Licensing Process. My name is Peninah Brickman and I am the Team Manager, Entry-level Competence here at the Law Society.
                          Our goal today is to provide you with guidance on the Paralegal Licensing Process. Specifically, we will address how to register for the licensing examination, what is involved in the licensing examination process and what to expect on the day of the examination. We will also provide you with some tips for success in order to support your efforts to prepare for the examination.
                          I will be the moderator for today’s session, and I have three people with me today to provide you with detailed information on today’s topics. They are Gina Haros, Team Manager, Licensing Process, Jessica Weiss, Counsel, Paralegal Licensing and Accreditation, and Lisa Del Col, Counsel, Licensing Process.
                          Before we begin with the substance of our presentation, let’s take care of a few administrative matters. First, the outline for today’s session can be found under the Agenda tab. The agenda contains several links to each of the topics that we’ll be discussing today. The formal portion of our presentation is expected to last about thirty to forty five minutes, and we will leave the remainder of the session for questions you might have.
                          If you wish to submit a question, you may do so via the question and answer tab located on your screen and you should feel free to submit your questions at any time during the session. We will attempt to answer as many questions as possible during our scheduled question and answer segment at the end of the presentation.       
                          If we do not get to all of the questions that are submitted to us today, and you still need more information about the Licensing Process, we invite you to reach out to us by email or phone. We will be providing you with the relevant contact details at the end of the presentation, and contact information is also available on the Law Society’s website.
                          The larger window on the right-hand side of your screen will display the presentation slides to which we will be speaking. An archived version of the webcast will be available on the Law Society’s website within a few weeks of today’s live webcast. You will find it posted in the section of the website entitled Becoming Licensed under the tab for Paralegal Licensing Process.
                          By way of introduction I would like to address the role of the Law Society in the regulation of Paralegals and the requirements that have been established under the bylaws for the admission of new Paralegal Licensees to the Law Society.
                          As you may be aware, the Law Society has been regulating Paralegals in Ontario since 2007. The mandate of the Law Society is to regulate Lawyers and Paralegals in the public interest, ensuring that the public has access to competent legal professionals. There are approximately nine thousand licensed Paralegals in the province.
                          Since 2010, Paralegal Licence in Ontario has been comprised of three fundamental components. First, the applicant must have graduated from an accredited Paralegal education program. Second, the applicant must successfully complete the Law Society’s licensing examination process, and third, the applicant must be of good character.
                          While much of today’s session is focused on the second component, that is, the licensing examination, it is important to be aware of all three aspects of Paralegal Licensing in Ontario.
                          The Paralegal Licensing Examination is the means by which the Law Society assesses a Paralegal candidate’s knowledge of substantive and procedural law, and a candidate’s understanding of the ethical and professional responsibilities that they must maintain throughout their practice.
                          By assessing candidates’ entry level competence, the Law Society determines whether candidates have sufficient knowledge and understanding of those aspects of the law within the Paralegal scope of practice that have the most direct impact on the protection of the public and on the provision of effective, ethical legal services in Ontario.
                          Accredited Paralegal education is designed to provide students with a foundation for the development of Paralegal competence. The licensing examination is used to gauge whether the minimum level of competence has been attained in order for the Law Society to grant a licence to a Paralegal candidate.
                          This approach of implementing a robust pre-licensing system of training, coupled with a fair and defensible system for licensing examinations at the point of entry to the profession, is born of the Law Society’s obligation to the public interest, coupled with the Paralegal profession’s desire to ensure that it maintains a strong reputation.
                          I’d now like to turn matters over to Gina Haros, who is going to tell us more about the licensing application process. Gina?
Gina:                 Thank you, Peninah. I will briefly take everyone today through some of the high level information about the application process, and things to keep in mind as you apply.
                          The application process begins online at lso.ca, by clicking Becoming Licensed, and then the Apply Now button at the bottom of the page. All documents and information referenced today can be accessed from the Becoming Licensed page, so I encourage everyone to bookmark this page, as it is a gateway of sorts to most of the information you will require throughout the licensing process.
                          A key document to also access while applying online, is the Completing the Paralegal Licensing Process application document, which outlines some of the things to be aware of, or items to have accessible when you apply.
                          This document will also take you through all of the details on admissions and the application process. I wanted to mention, candidates registered in the process have three attempts at the examination, and up to three licensing years to successfully complete the licensing examination and all other requirements.
                          The application for the 2020/2021 licensing year was launched early in October for applicants hoping to select the July, October 2020 or the February 2021 examination.
                          For those who graduate in time and whose school can provide a final transcript in time, there is an earlier February 2020 option available on this application.
                          The application itself is a two-part process. Part one consists of the online entry of your information and payment of the application fee, and part two consists of the actual paper copy submission of your application, which must be commissioned or notarized before it is submitted to the Law Society’s Licensing and Accreditation Department.
                          When you apply online, you will be required to select an examination sitting, specify when you expect to graduate, what your full legal name is, and personal contact information and things of that nature. You will also be required to answer a section regarding what the Law Society calls Good Character, and provide any necessary supporting documents.
                          For more information on the Good Character requirement, please see our website.  To preview the Good Character questions online, please see the good character amendment form under the Fees and Forms section.
                          The form outlines what should be disclosed to the Law Society at the point of application and thereafter, if anything changes. The application itself takes about twenty to thirty minutes to enter online, and once you've finished part one of the application online, you will be assigned a Law Society web account.
                          This account is what you will log into to print out the PDF application you created, in order to submit it to the Law Society to complete part two of the process. This web account is also where grade results and the invoices for fee payment will be sent as you move through the licensing process.
                          It is recommended that applicants check their account weekly after the application deadline, and even more regularly when preparing for the examinations and up to the time that they are licensed. The bulk of communication from the Law Society will be through your online account and the website, so please be sure to check it regularly.
                          Once you've accessed and printed the PDF file of your application from your account, begin collecting all of the supporting documentation required in order to complete part two of the process. The deadline to submit an application for the 2020/2021 licensing year, is coming up on December 2nd 2019.
                          Once an application is received by that December deadline, it is reviewed and processed and the applicant is then invoiced for their examination and study material fee in early February 2020. If anything is missing from an application, Licensing and Accreditation staff will reach out and advise applicants via their online account.
                          Once an applicant completes their PParalegal Program, they are expected to follow up directly with their school to ensure a Final Transcript is sent by the school directly to the Law Society. Also, applicants must complete and submit the Statement of Field Placement form to the Law Society once they complete their placement. This form is not submitted by the school, only the transcript is sent by the school, provided the applicant makes the request.
                          The fees, Transcript and Statement of Field Placement form are required to be on file in your account in order to complete registration by the prescribed examination deadline.
                          If you wish to receive your materials during the in-person distribution period and write in July, the exam and study material fee payment deadline is typically at the end of May, and is posted online on the Dates to Remember page as well as on your invoice.
                          For those who pay their exam and material fee by the deadline, the licensing examination study materials are made available to you in a number of ways. First, during the in-person distribution period in May, study materials are distributed on-site at the Law Society for those candidates who wish to pick up the paper copy of the material in person.
                          Please note, this is the only in-person distribution week during the licensing year.
                          Candidates unable to attend during that week, must obtain the materials in the following two ways: first, they can either choose to download and print the study materials from their Law Society account under My Study Materials, once the materials have been released. Or second, candidates can obtain a printed copy of the materials after the in-person distribution period has ended, by placing an online shipping request, and the shipping provider will ensure materials are directly to you, for a fee.
                          Again, please refer to the distribution period dates posted in the Dates to Remember section of the website.
                          In addition to the study materials, candidates will also be provided with a Law Society candidate identification card once they pay their examination and study material fees. The identification card will be what you will bring to the examination site in order to check in. It identifies you as a candidate in the process and includes your confidential candidate ID number, which is unique to you, so please keep it in a private and secure place.        
                          And now I will hand it back to Peninah.
Peninah:            Thank you, Gina, for the information on the application process. We’re now going to talk about some of the guidelines that support the examination itself, and to do that, I'm going to turn things over to Lisa Del Col, Counsel, Licensing Process. Lisa?
Lisa:                  Thanks, Peninah. I' amgoing to discuss the format and content of the Paralegal Licensing Examination. I first want to emphasize that we have extensive materials on the Law Society website setting out this information, and I recommend that all applicants review the materials closely before beginning to study for the examination.
                          The examination is designed to assess whether a given licensing candidate demonstrates the minimum level of competence required of an entry-level PParalegal. The licensing examination tests competencies required for entry-level practice. It focuses on the competencies that have the most direct impact on the protection of the public and on effective and ethical practice.
                          The Law Society engages experts across legal professions to establish the entry-level competencies that are assessed in the exam. A competency is defined as the knowledge, skill, ability, attitude, or judgement required for entry-level practice. There are a hundred and eighty three entry-level Paralegal competencies, which are divided into the following categories:
                          Ethical and Professional Responsibilities, Canadian Law, Civil Litigation, Criminal and Quasi-Criminal Law and Procedure, Administrative Law, Problem andIissue Identification, Analysis and Assessment, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Litigation Process, and Practice Management issues.
                          The entry-level Paralegal competencies have undergone a rigorous development and validation process. They're all listed on the Law Society website, and I would encourage you to review them as part of your preparation.
                          These entry-level competencies form the basis for the test specifications for the licensing examination. These test specifications are a primary component of the blueprint document that is developed for the exam. A blueprint document is used to ensure that the items being assessed on the examination are both valid and representative of a PParalegal practice.
                          It also ensures that the same categories of competencies are being assessed to the same standard of competence, even though items being assessed change from one sitting of the licensing examination to another. This provides consistency between each examination sitting and enhances the licensing examination’s reliability, validity, fairness and defensibility.
                          The competencies and the blueprint parameters are reviewed on a regular basis in accordance with the established best practices for professional licensing examinations. Practitioners representing all relevant practice areas develop licensing examination questions, which we refer to as items under the guidance of psychometricians, with expertise and professional licensing test development and validation.
                          These items are derived from information in the study materials prepared by the Law Society for that licensing year, and reflect the established competencies for the examination.
                          All licensing examination items undergo a rigorous review and validation process. A Paralegal advisory group comprised of exemplary practitioners from a cross-section of practice areas and firm sizes in Ontario, sets the examination according to the blueprint parameters. Setting a licensing examination involves approving the items that will be assessed.
                          The licensing examination is seven hours in total length and is comprised of a total of approximately two hundred and forty multiple choice items. Each examination sitting is comprised of two parts, each of which is three and a half hours in length. Part one takes place during the morning and part two takes place during the afternoon, with a break between each part.
                          The licensing examination is self-study. You are provided with the study materials which support all competencies on the examination. The licensing examination is also in open book format. You are permitted to bring into the testing area any materials prepared for the purpose of assisting you in writing the examination, including any study materials, notes and textbooks.
                          You must mark your answer on an answer sheet provided by the Law Society, and only those answers marked on the answer sheet will be scored. The answer sheet is marked from one to two hundred, however, there are only approximately a hundred and twenty items on each part of the licensing examination.
                          You should periodically check to ensure that the answer bubbles you are filling in on your answer sheet, correspond correctly to the respective items you are answering. All items on the licensing examination are in multiple choice format. You must choose the best answer from four possible options provided. Each item has only one best answer, and you will receive credit only when you have received the best answer. For any item which you indicate more than one answer on your answer sheet, the answer will be marked as incorrect.
                          The items on the licensing examination assess three different levels of cognitive ability: knowledge and comprehension, application and critical thinking. The examination will include items in both independent multiple choice and case-based multiple choice format.
                          Independent multiple choice items are independent of each other and case-based multiple choice items are preceded by a case scenario. That scenario applies to the specific items that are part of that case. However, each item within a series of items preceded by the case scenario, is derived directly from the case scenario and is independent from all of the others.
                          In other words, determining the correct answer to item number three in a series of case-based items, is not dependent on answering either the items in one or two correctly. There are no all-of-the-above or none-of-the-above multiple choice options in the examination items.
                          For each sitting of the licensing examination, multiple different versions of the examination are developed. Each candidate who has registered for that sitting, is randomly assigned a version of that examination. Each version of the examination complies with blueprint parameters.
                          A small number of new items are piloted on each licensing examination as experimental items. These experimental items are not counted towards a candidate’s score, and therefore do not contribute to a pass or fail result. A majority of examination items are operational items on which the candidate’s score is based.
                          To achieve the piloting objectives, and consistent with best practices professional licensing examinations, there are no indications in the licensing examination booklet to identify a given item as either an experimental or an operational item. The administration of non-scored experimental items, is an essential step in developing future licensing examinations.
                          The examination is marked on a pass-fail basis. Scores equal to or higher than the established passing mark receive a pass result. Scores lower than the passing mark receive a fail result. A candidate’s score is based on the number of correct answers chosen. There are no penalties for failure to choose an answer, or for choosing an incorrect answer.
                          At the same time that it sets a licensing examination, the Paralegal Advisory Group also sets a passing mark for that examination. The passing mark is the same for each different version of the same licensing examination, and the passing mark represents a single overall score for the examination. Candidates are not required to individually pass separate sections or areas of law on the examination.
                          The passing mark represents the expected performance of a minimally-competent entry-level Paralegal. To ensure consistency between each sitting of the licensing examination, the Paralegal advisory group applies the same standard to the particular set of items on each examination. The setting of a passing mark is based on the informed judgement of the subject matter experts and is determined through rigorous consultation and dialogue.
                          This approach to setting the pass mark helps ensure the same performance standard is applied consistently for each licensing examination, so that only those candidates who meet or exceed that standard will pass the examination. Only an individual candidate’s performance compared to the standard, determines whether that candidate has passed the licensing examination.
                          The candidate’s performance is not assessed in comparison to the performance of other candidates by using a curve or otherwise. There is also no predetermined rate for the proportion of candidates who pass the licensing examination.
                          There are several important pages on our website in the Paralegal Licensing Examination section that you need to review to prepare for the examination. These provide detailed information on what to expect and prepare for, and will ensure a smooth experience on the morning of the exam.
                          The pages includes information about the security and screening procedures at the exam venue, and you should note that these are more formal and structured examinations than you may be accustomed to from college or other exams. These pages also include information about the check-in process at the venue and what items to bring with you. You have a list of permitted items that you can bring in the testing area, as well as prohibited items. You should review these lists in detail.
                          Finally, you should also review the website to understand the conduct that is expected of candidates at the examination venue. We appreciate that this is a high stakes day for candidates and need to ensure the process runs smoothly in a respectful and stable environment that is maintained for the benefit of everyone.
                          And now a note on receiving your exam results. Inevitably, as soon as each exam ends, candidates begin to wonder how they performed. Please note that results will not be released until about six to eight weeks after the examination day. We will send your results to your confidential online licensing account, and you willyou will receive an email notifying you that the results are released. There is no need to call the office and check whether results are out yet. Results cannot be released before the timeframe for several reasons.
                          In order to ensure the integrity of the marking process, up to six to eight weeks are required to receive, grade and verify exam results, and to provide them to candidates.
                          Examinations are written in both official languages, and it takes some time to ensure that all licensing examinations are received and marked appropriately. And if you were unsuccessful on a licensing examination, don’t panic, you can re-register for one of the subsequent scheduled sittings.
                          Candidates are permitted a maximum of three attempts at the examination within their three-year licensing term. All information regarding re-writing an exam will be sent confidentially in a message to the candidate through your online licensing account, and you won't be the first or last to be in that situation, I assure you. So, please feel free to contact our Licensing and Accreditation Department if you have any further questions on the next steps for writing a second or a third time.
                          Finally, just a note on the process for deferrals. If close to the day of the exam, you find you are unable to write, you must defer your examination by sending a deferral form to our office at least ten business days prior to the examination date.
                          Now I'm going to turn this back to Peninah.
Peninah:            Thank you very much, Lisa. As a reminder, please feel free to send in your questions throughout the presentation and we will get to the questions at the end of the formal component of this session.
                          Now we are going to talk a little bit more about the examination itself and discuss some tips and general guidance about preparing for the exam. To do that, I would ask Jessica Weiss, Counsel, Paralegal Licensing and Accreditation, for assistance. Jessica?
Jessica:              Thank you, Peninah. Before we get into examination preparation, let me begin by saying just a few words about examination preparation courses. You may be aware of the PParalegal exam preparation courses offered by various providers, although it is certainly up to you whether you wish to take these courses.
                          We want to ensure that you are aware of two things: first, none of these courses are endorsed by the Law Society and second, all of the material you need to know for your examination, is contained in the Paralegal study materials provided by the Law Society.
                          As Lisa explained, the licensing examination is open book. There may be a misconception that you don’t need to study as much for open book exams, since you can bring your materials into the exam. However, this type of examination requires you to analyze information and apply it to new situations. You do need to fully understand the contents of, and be very familiar with the study materials before you write the exam. You do not want to waste your valuable time during the exam searching through your study materials for other documents you bring with you. Rather, you want to devote your time to carefully reading each question and choosing the best answer.
                          So, what will help you succeed? I will suggest three main ways. First, having a solid understanding of what is in the Paralegal study materials, is absolutely essential. If there’s any portion of the materials that you don’t understand as you are reading, reviewing and taking notes, take the time to ensure that you understand that area prior to writing the xam.
                          It takes time to adequately prepare for the examination. There are no shortcuts While study tips and examination writing tips can help you prepare, there is no replacement for building a solid base of knowledge of the entire study materials.
                          Second, preparing and implementing a study strategy early on is key andI will discuss that further in a moment. Finally, maintaining positive attitude with a calm and focused approach is important. Some candidates use specific techniques to help themselves remain calm and stay focused, while they are studying and during the exam itself. Consider whether any of these techniques may be helpful to you.
                          Let’s take a look at study strategies. Although each of us learns and studies differently, there are some techniques that research tells us work better than others. Consider taking a systematic approach that includes, number one, a study schedule, so that you can organize your time efficiently.
                          Number two, effective reading and note-taking, so that you will remember what you've read when you are writing the exam. Number three, organization of your materials in light of the open book nature of the exam, and lastly, practice questions. There are some available on the Law Society website, and you may wish to create some for yourself.
                          Let’s take a look at each of the elements of an effective study strategy that I just mentioned in more detail. Let’s start with the ways to organize your study time. First, it is always a good idea to begin studying early. Research suggests that studying in short manageable increments spaced over time, is more beneficial than cramming all the material in a long study session just before the exam.
                          Second, consider setting up and maintaining a regular study schedule. You may want to set aside a specific time of day for studying. Ideally, try to schedule study time when you are wide-awake and alert. In most, but not all cases, this means not scheduling study time at night. You are less likely to retain material when you are mentally or physically tired, so synchronize study times when you are most likely to be ready to learn. And don’t forget to leave room in your study schedule for unanticipated events that may require your time.
                          Next, to help focus your study sessions, consider setting specific goals for each session. For example, you might decide to study a specific chapter or review the rules or guidelines relevant to a particular topic during a designated block of time.
                          Taking breaks during study sessions is also a good idea. Studying requires mental effort, so take breaks as part of your study sessions. Here is an example of what I mean: after studying for, let’s say, fifty minutes, you might take a ten-minute break and then after three consecutive one-hour study blocks, you would take a longer break, perhaps an hour, and then start the study cycle again.
                          If a given section of the material is more difficult for you, shorten each of the study sessions for that topic, but have more of them, and take more frequent breaks. So for more challenging material, you may want to study for only twenty or thirty minutes, followed by a five-minute break. When you're studying the more challenging material, you may want to take your longer break after only two study blocks, instead of three.
                          Next, it is a good idea to start each study session by reviewing the material you've previously learned. Reviewing material you have learned, will help you keep knowledge fresh in your mind. If you wait too long to review the material, you may waste time trying to relearn what you knew, but forgot. Also, try to use the weeks just before the examination to review, integrate and reinforce your understanding of the content.
                          So let me recap our tips for organizing your study time: When considering how to organize your study time, start early. Maintain a regular study schedule, have specific goals for each of your study sessions, take frequent breaks, review previously learned material at each new study session, and use the last weeks before the exam, not to learn new information, but rather to reinforce what you already know.
                          Turning now to reading and note-taking for open book exams, let’s consider how best to review the Paralegal study materials so that you understand and retain what you have read. This usually involves careful, active and systematic reading. In most cases, this will mean reading the material more than once to really understand the content.
                          To build a solid base of knowledge, you may need to read the material once to gain a general understanding and overview of the content, and then second and third times to reinforce important concepts, or to fully understand more challenging concepts.
                          You may want to take the opportunity during these subsequent reviews to consider what types of questions could be asked about each concept and competency, and to consider how different concepts and competencies interact and overlap with other concepts.
                          It’s a good idea to begin highlighting and taking notes only once you have a general understanding of what you're learning. If you start too early, you may end up highlighting or writing down too much information. Research suggests that reviewing material on a regular basis can help you retain information in your long-term memory.
                          So what are some of the things you can do to prepare materials for use during the exam? The goal is to organize your materials so that you can quickly access relevant information. Prior to the examination, take some time to make your study materials as user-friendly for you as possible.
                          We have three suggestions for organizing your material. One, use tabs or a colour-coding system to delineate certain subject areas and key topics. Two, prepare short, manageable summaries on selected topics, and finally, create an index or a table of contents listing key topics and corresponding pages.
                          The point of these strategies is to help you quickly find information in your materials during the exam, so choose a method that works best for you. As you are organizing materials in the way that suits you best, bear in mind that some concepts cut across several areas of law.
                          Lastly, don’t forget to take some time to review the sample questions posted on the Law Society’s Licensing Process page. The questions will give you an idea of the types of questions that will be asked, the thinking required and the degree of difference between correct and incorrect answers.
                          Once you've reviewed these sample questions, you may want to try to create some for yourself as you pass through various sections.
                          Implementing pre-study exam strategies will help you feel more confident about writing the exam. Also, don’t forget the basics: getting enough sleep and maintaining good nutrition, being active in other areas of your life, whether socially, physically or intellectually, may also be part of an effective exam strategy.
                          Once you build a solid base of knowledge, you will be in a better position to think positively. It’s common to feel some anxiety before, after and during the exam, but if you start to feel overwhelmed, consider taking slow, deep breaths to relax. Calming yourself physically will help calm you emotionally. The calmer you are during the exam, the better you will be able to concentrate.
                          Depending on the individual, it might be more helpful to avoid focusing on the anxiety and instead, focus on the next task. Remember that you've already accomplished a lot and you' are doing your best. Success is often a result of effective and sufficient effort and preparation.
                          Well, it is not uncommon to have some concerns about an examination. Part of controlling those concerns involves being prepared for what lies ahead. Your goal is to be emotionally, physically and intellectually prepared for the day you write your exam. Knowing your material thoroughly and organizing your material in advance, will likely prove key.
                          Peninah, let me turn it back to you.
Peninah:            Thank you very much, Jess, that was very helpful information, providing us with some tips for preparing for the licensing examination. I just want to take this opportunity to remind you again that questions can be submitted through the Question and Answer tab located on your screen.
                          Gina, would you be able to provide us with some insight into the process on the day of the examination, and discuss some of the support services that are available to candidates?
Gina:                 Absolutely. Thank you, Peninah. As we mentioned before, the licensing examination is seven hours in length, with a break after the first three and a half hours. It’s held at a large venue with a very formal setup in terms of assigned seating, dedicated check-in stations, co-checks and security screening areas.
                          I recommend that one week prior to the examination date, ensure you double-check online for the venue address, the arrival time, check-in times, the list of permissible items you can bring, and things of that nature. Plan your route and transportation to the exam to arrive early.
                          All of the information online is there to avoid any of those hiccups on the morning of the exam. On the day of the exam, the main examination site may seem overwhelming for some when they realize they may be writing with about six hundred other candidates, who are also checking in and being screened at the same time.
                          Bring lots of snacks, leave your cellphones in the car, and try and carve out a rare moment of calm before you begin writing.
                          Once you check in and pass through the security screening area, you will be expected to sit in your assigned seat for the duration of the examination period, except during the lunch period.
                          And now on to some information about the supports that are offered by the Law Society. As part of the Licensing and Accreditation Department, examination administration staff can provide various forms of assistance and accommodation in the licensing process. The aim is to improve the testing environment for students who are otherwise unable to comply with some of the conditions or requirements of the process.
                          Services can include examinations in alternate forms, such as audio tape, Braille, text to speech and special equipment for persons with visual or auditory impairments. If you are a person with a disability or a condition that requires some accommodation during the licensing process, please feel free to contact examination administration staff directly, as you submit your application, in order to explore options that may be available in order to support you during the examination.
                          Another item that is offered by the Law Society is tutoring, and candidates who receive an unsuccessful result, may contact Licensing and Accreditation to inquire about Tutoring Services. Candidates who request utoring from the Law Society will be connected with a tutor for up to five hours of tutoring, paid for by the Law Society, provided the request is submitted by the required deadline. Further details on tutoring are available online, once again, under Candidate Support.
                          Lastly, under the Candidate Support section of the website, you will find information on the monthly payment plan, which allows candidates to pay examination and material fees in equal installments. Please review the deadlines of this payment plan and other information in terms of enrolment, if this is something you wish to explore. Information will be posted in February 2020 when the revised payment plan information will be posted.
                          As we mentioned earlier, important dates relevant to your progress in the licensing process are posted on the Dates to Remember page of the website. Please be mindful that the dates are all in business days, unless otherwise indicated. Some candidates do not register on time, because they assume the deadline is thirty calendar days, so be aware that the deadlines are earlier, due to the business day calculation.
                          Ensure you not only pay in full by the deadline, but also ensure your school submits your transcript and that you submit your Statement of Field Placement by the thirty-business-day deadline.
                          Meeting the deadlines for payment and filing of transcripts and other required documents, will ensure you have timely information on the study material distribution, exam confirmations, any location changes, and any information pertinent to you and your progress through the process. It also secures your spot for the examination sitting that you select.
                          Exams are typically held three times per licensing year, and you can go ahead and review the precise exam dates online in the Licensing Examination section of the website, as they were posted at the beginning of October, when we went live with the new application.
                          At this time I will turn it over to Peninah for some final words.
Peninah:            Thank you very much, Gina, and thank you Jessica and Lisa as well, for providing a useful overview of the examination process, the licensing process and candidate preparations.
`                        We’re now going to open the webinar to the question and answer period, and we do have a number of questions that have come in. I will review the questions and then ask one of my colleagues to respond.
                          So turning to the first question, I recently graduated. Will I still be able to write the exam in February of 2020? Gina, would you mind answering that question?
Gina:                 Absolutely. So any candidates that would like to sit the February examination and have very recently graduated, would be required to contact their school first to request that a final official transcript is sent to licensing and accreditation, and the deadline for that is posted online. I believe it is sometime in early to mid-January, for them to qualify for this sitting.
                          But even before that, they need to have ensured that they have applied and submitted both parts of the application and any other required supporting documents.
Peninah:            Okay, and we have another question about notarization of documents. Gina, would you be able to provide some insight into that?
Gina:                 Yes, absolutely. So the question specifically asks what types of documents are supposed to be commissioned or notarized during the application process.
                          The application itself that you will be submitting, as well as you're legal name – your proof of legal name document, so your birth certificate, and your permanent resident, documents of that nature need to be commissioned or notarized.
                          And any other documents supporting good character issues, and anything you submit with the application should be reviewed and notarized before sending it in to the Law Society.
Peninah:            Thank you, Gina. Another question that we have is about someone who has been unsuccessful on the licensing examination, and the question relates to what information might be available to the candidate following their lack of success on the examination.
                          Would I be able to turn that one over to you, Jess?
Jessica:              Sure, I’d be happy to, thanks Peninah. So if the candidate is unsuccessful on the licensing exam, they will be sent a profile report. The profile will break down your performance on the licensing exam in two different ways. So it is a full breakdown of the exam in two different ways.
                          One, is based on those competencies that Lisa referred to earlier, and the second is a breakdown on the area of law. Candidates who are unsuccessful will be able to review their profile independently. In the event that they have any questions about the profile, or would like to discuss the profile or their performance on the exam, or strategies moving forward with someone from the Law Society, they are able to write to the Law Society and request a call with Counsel.
                          During that call, Counsel and the candidate can talk through general themes that are seen on the profile report, discuss strategies for subsequent writings of the exam, and potentially point to resources online, on the Law Society’s website that may be helpful for the future.
Peninah:            That’s great, thank you very much, Jess. Another question that we have received relates to tutoring, and Gina had mentioned tutoring earlier, and the question had to do with what the cost would be of that. Just to ensure that the information available to you is clear, tutoring applies when someone has been unsuccessful in the examination.
                          Should that happen, there is an availability of tutoring up to a certain number of hours, and that is at the Law Society’s cost, so it’s not currently a cost to the candidate.
                          The next question that we have – and Gina, if I can turn this one over to you – is, in respect of the examinations for 2021, could you let us know what the availability would be like in terms of when those are going to be?
Gina:                 Certainly. We’ve had a couple of questions actually, Peninah, regarding the 2021 February examination, and whether or not you're required to apply at this time. You have the opportunity to apply now if you would like, or candidates who wish to write in February 2021 may wait for the next intake period, which commences next October.
Peninah:            Thank you so much. Another question we have, has to do with good character, and the question relates to what the process is. That is a complex sort of area of the licensing process, so I would ask that you first take a look online at the information that’s available there on the good character process. If you have questions following your review of the information that is available to candidates online, then please do not hesitate to contact us. We are going to put our contact information up shortly, and our contact information is also available on the website at LSO.ca.
                          There are some questions here in respect of the licensing examination that relate to food provision, lunches, etcetera. There will be a lunch period during the exam. The amount of time is not specifically set in the sense that there is a security protocol for leaving the examination room, so we can't give you the precise amount of time that you will have for your lunch. No food is made available to you, although there are some food options.
                          And again, there is detailed information on the website about bringing snacks with you, what the means are of doing that, and what would be permitted into the examination room. So I definitely encourage you all to read the Licensing Examination guide that is available online.
                          After you've read the information, should you continue to have questions again, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.
                          Another question relates to the availability of the study materials, and the question is, when can I get my study materials. Gina, could I turn that one over to you?
Gina:                 Absolutely. The answer to that question depends on when you intend to write the examination. If this question is from someone that intends to write in February of next year, as soon as they register and pay their fees, they can access the materials, because the licensing year has already commenced so they can prepare for the February 2020 exam sitting.
                          However, for those individuals that wish to write next summer as their first attempt, they will have access to the new materials for that licensing year at the end of May and you will receive notification at that point, when you can prepare to receive the materials, how to go about paying, and how to access them in the various formats.
                          We also had a follow-up question regarding when the candidate card is received, and that is distributed at the same time as the study materials. For those of you who are coming in person, you will be provided with a candidate ID card on the spot. For those of you who missed the in-person distribution period, can receive the card through your shipment, through our shipping provider.
Peninah:            Thank you, Gina. I see that there are a number of questions related to dates and fees. I would encourage you to take a look on the website; there is the Dates to Remember tab for Examination Dates and there's information on the fees. Rather than me providing you that information today, because it could vary, depending on whether you’re writing shortly, or whether you're writing in another year, or perhaps you're writing in two years. The best source of that information is to go online at the time that you are considering writing your examination.
                          There was also a question about a rewrite fee. If somebody is unsuccessful, whether there is a fee for writing the licensing examination again? Yes, there is a fee. And again, I would encourage you to take a look online and you will see that information available.
                          Another question has arisen regarding the good character requirement. I'm not 100% confident that I understand the question, but it seems to relate to how one should answer yes, versus how one should answer no. I would encourage you to look at the information that’s online in terms of how and when you should answer yes and no. There are some instructions available there. If you remain unclear after you've reviewed that information online, then again, please do reach out to us directly, because individual situations will vary, and it’s very important that we get the correct information to you in light of your specific and unique situation.
                          So there is another question about success, and I'm going to turn this one over to Jess, in terms of, if someone has failed the licensing examination three times. What options are available to them?
                          In the event that a candidate has failed the licensing examination three times, they are able to apply within their licensing term to write a fourth time. If, after the fourth time, within their licensing term, they are again unsuccessful, there is a pause year that must be taken, following which the candidate can again apply to re-enter for a subsequent licensing term.
                          There is quite a bit of information about the details online, and I would refer you online for the details about how to apply.
Peninah:            Thank you so much, Jess. We have another question about materials. Gina, I'm just going to turn to you; can you discuss where, how the materials are made available, how candidates can access the materials?
Gina:                 Absolutely. I mentioned earlier in the presentation that there are a number of ways for candidates to access the materials. The most popular seems to be to come right to the Law Society building and pick them up during the in-person distribution period.
                          Failing that, candidates will always have a copy of the materials in their online account, and once you've applied and logged into your account, you will see at left that there is My Materials tab, that you can access the materials at any time.
                          Lastly, you can ask or request for a shipment for the materials to be sent directly to your address on file. So a couple of ways for you to access them once they have been released for that licensing year.
Peninah:            Thank you so much, Gina. There were also some questions about accommodations, medical emergencies and that sort of thing, so I just want to speak about that a little bit generally.
                          There is an area on the website that is dedicated to accommodations, so if you have a specific situation and you require an accommodation, that information should be sent to the Law Society by the appropriate deadlines, and then there will be correspondence with our accommodations team.
                          Should something arise at the last minute, for example, a medical emergency, a significant serious car accident,  then you would get in contact with the Law Society about that emergency situation. The Law Society would respond with required documentation and information, and there would be communication and decision-making in respect of that sort of one-time last minute emergency.
                          There was another question about receipt of the study materials. So just to confirm, materials for each year are initially released around the end of May, and that applies for the remainder, not just of that calendar year, but also into the February time period.
                          So it’s important to understand that those materials will be available after that May period, for the next few writing sessions. However, if you're registering now to write, for example for this summer, those materials only become available – because that’s a new writing session, or time period – on that May release date, and that information is available online.
                          There is another question - we’ve been talking about these licensing terms - that asks, what is meant by the licensing term? And I also want to ensure that you know that there are some definitions that are set out online, so please do have a look at the information that is online, and you will be able to understand some of that.
                          But I will turn it over to Gina to ask her to provide a brief definition of the licensing term.
Gina:                 The Paralegal licensing process licensing term begins on June 1st of one year and ends May 31st of the following year. So that would be considered one licensing year, and within that licensing year, there are three opportunities to sit the examination. As I mentioned before, in July, in October and in February during that time period.
                          Candidates have up to three licensing years to successfully complete the examination and also become licensed.
Pinenah:            There’s another question here about a specific college and maybe some information – rumours, I don’t know – about whether different colleges are or aren’t accredited. So there’s a list of accredited programs online under – I think it’s the tab called Accredited Programs, or something quite like that.
                          So that’s where to look if you want to find out if a given program has been accredited by the Law Society. If the program is not listed there, then it’s not currently an accredited program.
                          Let me just take a look at some of the other questions that are coming in relating to licensing examination pass rates. So I'm going to turn that over to Lisa to answer. Could you give us some more information about what it means to be successful on the licensing examination?
Lisa:                  Thanks, Peninah. So basically the pass rate is minimum competence of an entry-level Paralegal, and so there is no released information on a number or an average that you have to hit. This is something that is validated through the Paralegal licensing group. I don’t know if you have anything to add to that, Jess or Peninah?
Jessica:              Yeah, thanks, Lisa. I think that’s absolutely right. So the passing standard is that of a minimally competent entry-level Paralegal, and it is assessed based on an overall score for the examination as a whole, and it is not assessed relative to any other individual’s performance. In other words, the examination is not marked on a curve, and there is no requirement to pass different components of the examination. It’s a past passing standard for the examination as a whole.
Peninah:            That’s great, thank you, both of you. Another question has to do with graduation time. There’s a question about how that relates to the application. Gina, could I turn that one over to you?
Gina:                 Yes, thank you. Actually, we’ve received a number of these with candidates or applicants asking about the graduation month and time and how it relates to the transcript submission. What I would recommend is that you first have a look online; there is some guidance there in the Completing the Application Process document that kind of sets you up for success and tells you what month you should be putting into that section of the application.
                          Failing that, you can certainly call our office through the numbers on the screen and we can provide you a little bit more information about what to indicate once we’ve heard a little bit more about your particular situation.
                          And I wanted to note that if you do have very specific questions relating to you, I would encourage you to reach out to our office as soon as possible so that we can provide you with more information that’s very relevant to you.
Peninah:            Thank you, Gina. There was a question – a couple of people came in late and they wanted some information that they might have missed in the first few minutes of this webinar, so just as a note, there will be a transcript and an archived version of today’s webinar available on the website in a few weeks.
                          If you have questions in the interim and you would like us to answer them, do please feel free to reach out to us directly with your specific question, and we’d be happy to assist you.
                          There’s another question here about payment and registration. Gina, can I turn that one over to you?
Gina:                 Yes, thank you. This person is inquiring about the December 2nd 2019 deadline that we mentioned earlier in the presentation. That deadline is for both parts of the application to be submitted to Licensing and Accreditation, as well as the application fee. So registration occurs after that.
                          Once your application has been received and processed, we’ll reach out if there’s anything missing from your application, but typically in early February you will begin to receive invoices so that you can pay for your examination and study materials, and that piece is the registration piece. That’s when you need to register on or before the thirty business day deadline for the exam.
                          So the first milestone is this upcoming December 2nd deadline, which relates to the application, supporting documents and fee for the application, and the second one, the registration deadline is thirty business days before your exam next year and you will be billed for that in the spring.
                          So a lot of information, you know, on the web during this presentation, but I encourage you again to reach out to us. Once you've applied online we can certainly chat very easily through your online account and through the telephone number on the screen.
Peninah:            Thank you, Gina. One of the questions that has come in is, I understand that the materials will not be available until a few months before I plan to write the licensing examination. Could you provide me with some tips as to how I might prepare myself in advance.
                          Jess, I'm wondering if I could turn that over to you? Do you have some ideas, some tips that a candidate could pursue to try and get themselves ready for the materials?
Jessica:              Sure. So I think probably the first thing that you can do is go online and take a look at the Guide to the Paralegal Licensing Examination. In there, it will go over a lot of the information that we’ve talked about today, but there are also study questions, sample examination questions in that guide, which will give you a sense of the types of questions.
                          And simultaneously, while you are doing that, you can take a look first of all at your school materials, the materials that you are learning in school will likely be relevant to the information that will be in the study materials.
                          And secondly, you can take a look at the entry-level competencies online, which will give you some direction as to the competencies that will be assessed on the licensing examination.
Peninah:            Excellent, thank you. Another question that we received has to do with receiving the materials earlier than thirty days before the examination. Just so that we’re clear, you could receive the materials earlier than that, because the examination typically isn't until later in the summertime, and you typically receive the materials toward the end of May.
                          So if you take a look at the dates that are available online, you will see that you typically get a lot more than the thirty days that are referenced in the question that we’ve received.
                          Gina, I see another question that might be for you: when can we start working as a licensed Paralegal, assuming we have successfully completed the licensing examination?
Gina:                 That’s a great question. So once you have received confirmation from the Law Society that you've successfully completed your examination, within that notification you will receive information on what the next steps are, so what documents you will need to fill out in order to become licensed, of the fees associated with becoming licensed at that point, and the next steps you will have to take.
                          So all of the information will be in the results email that you receive, kind of guiding you through the next steps to becoming licensed.
Peninah:            Great, thank you so much, Gina. There was another question about whether there will be another webinar coming up in the future. Gina, could I ask you to answer that question?
Gina:                 We normally host these webinars in the fall, just before the application period, so we will likely have something of this nature again next year for those of you that are not quite ready to apply at this time, but will be next year.
Peninah:            Great. There was a question about financial assistance available from other sources and what those sources might be. That’s not necessarily something that’s within our specific knowledge, but there may be sources available through local financial institutions. There may be certain scholarships that could be available through other sources. That is the type of information that really isn't within our knowledge.    
                          However, we do offer a payment plan so that you can spread out your fees over either five – sorry, four months, so you have an opportunity to spread those fees out.
                          Gina, do you want to speak a little bit further to that?
Gina:                 Yes. So information will be posted in February regarding the monthly payment plan, so you will have the most up to date information at that time. But essentially, as Peninah said, you can select a term of four equal monthly payments to pay your examination fees.
                          Also, there is a little section under the Candidate Support section online, that talks about a micro-lending program that’s available to Paralegal candidates. So I encourage all of you to take a look and see what’s available on the Candidate Support page.
Peninah:            Okay, great. I'm not really seeing more questions coming in, so at this time I would like to conclude the question and answer period of the webcast.
 I would like to thank all of our panelists for the comprehensive information that they’ve shared today, and for answering the questions that we’ve received.
                          We are very pleased to answer additional questions that you might have, especially those that might relate to your personal specific situation that you weren't able to have addressed today. Again, our contact information should be visible to you currently online, and is available on our website.
                          I would like to thank all of you who have been listening for your enthusiastic participation. As the reminder, the archived version of the presentation will be available in a few weeks’ time on our website.
                          In closing, I would like to wish you all the best of luck with your Paralegal education studies, if you are still completing those, and with your licensing examination. On behalf of the Law Society, I look forward to having the opportunity and the privilege to welcome you to the Paralegal profession.
                          Thank you very much, and have a great afternoon.
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