Can An Environmental Law Paralegal Affect Climate Change?

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Many people think paralegals are the grunts of the law firm. They do meaningless work, file papers, answer phones, and keep the adminstrative tasks at hand while the lawyers are out conquering and changing the world. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. According to one environmental law paralegal:

“Paralegals are the backbone of the law firm. Without [us] the lawyers wouldn’t be able to get anything done. Our opinions matter, as does our quality of work. One small error on our part can be the difference between winning and losing that big case on climate change…”

As can be seen from the quote, the paralegal also shoulders a lot of responsibility when it comes to affecting real change… especially related to environmental law and climate change.

What Does An Environmental Law Paralegal Do?

Similar to a regular paralegal (read about what a regular paralegal does here:, an environmental paralegal handles certain research-related tasks involving the case. While the paralegal may not actually try the case, or stand in front of the judge, they definitely have input into how the case is handled.

Finding the right legal case for each point, organizing the case as the lawyer sees fit, and discovering new and pertinent information are all on the to do list of the environmental law paralegal.

Which Paralegal Is Right For Environmental Law

Environmental law is generally strung out over a long process. Delays are inevitable and accuracy is key. Due to that, hiring a paralegal fresh out of their degree program may not be the best way to go. Environmental law becomes tricky and is a fairly new subset of law. It isn’t as clean cut as divorce, bankrupcty, or other areas in which a paralegal may be involved.

This lends itself well to a paralegal with some experience; especially in legal research. The average pay for a paralegal is around $40,000 in Canada. A good environmental law paralegal, however, could run, and is worth, at least 150% of that number. A paralegal with experience and a good track record is definitely an asset in this area of law.

Paralegals are not all created equal. Depending on the training, certification, personality, experience, career aspirations, and all-around abilities each individual paralegal should be set into a position in which they can succeed. Someone who is better at legal research should not be stuck in law office that specializes in divorce. Additionally, a paralegal who doesn’t have the greatest sense of responsibility should not be stuck in a role requiring them to file bankrupcy paperwork on time and in a specific way.

There are some universal characteristics that paralegals must share, but everyone has these at certain levels. It’s important to find the right paralegal to help your law firm successfully affect climate change and be an asset to your law firm instead of a liability.

Paralegals in Canada can be sifted through and sorted in many ways. Finding one that speciailzes in environmental law, or is willing to learn, is priceless.

More info on how to become a paralegal can be found here:

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