Guide to the Paralegal Licensing wbr Examination by terrypete


									                    THE LAW SOCIETY OF UPPER CANADA                   CONTACT US
                    PHONE: 416-947-3315 OR 1-800-668-7380 EXT. 3315   SUPPORT SERVICES: SUPPORTSERVICES@LSUC.ON.CA
                    FAX: 416-947-9070                                 SPECIAL NEEDS: SPECIALNEEDS@LSUC.ON.CA
                    VISIT WWW.LSUC.ON.CA

                                                                                                LICENSING PROCESS FOR PARALEGALS

                                                         Guide to the Paralegal Licensing Examination

The purpose of this Guide is to provide you with important information about the Law Society of Upper Canada’s
Paralegal Licensing Examination. It is strongly recommended that you read this Guide thoroughly in preparation for
writing the examination. Please note that while every attempt has been made to provide up-to-date information, the Law
Society may change or revise policies and procedures that affect the examination. Check the Paralegal Licensing Process
website ( regularly for the most current information about the examination.

                                  Objective of the Paralegal Licensing Examination

Licensure is the official recognition by the Law Society of Upper Canada that a candidate has met all the qualifications
specified by the Law Society and is, therefore, approved and certified to practise as a paralegal in Ontario. The Paralegal
Licensing Examination is one of the mandatory components of the Paralegal Licensing Process that must be successfully
completed in order for an individual to become licensed to provide legal services.
The Paralegal Licensing Examination is based on competencies required for paralegals. A competency is defined as the
knowledge, skill, ability, attitude or judgment required for practice. The competencies tested are those that
•   have the most direct impact on public protection;
•   influence effective and ethical practice; and
•   can be measured reliably and validly by the question format used in the examination.
The Paralegal Licensing Examination will assess competence in the following categories:
•   professional responsibility;
•   ethics, and
•   practice management.
For a complete listing of the paralegal competencies that may be tested in the Paralegal Licensing Examination, refer to
the Paralegal Licensing Process website at

                                                      Examination Development

Content experts develop examination questions under the guidance of psychometricians with expertise in test validation
and development. All examination questions undergo a rigorous review and validation process. An Advisory Group
comprised of individuals with expertise in ethics, professional responsibility, practice management and educational
pedagogy, set the examination based on the defined paralegal competencies. The Advisory Group then formally approves
and sets the passing mark for the Paralegal Licensing Examination.
The passing mark represents the expected performance required of a paralegal. The examinations are marked on a
pass/fail basis. If your score is equal to or higher than the established pass mark, you will receive a “pass” result. If your
score is lower than the pass mark, you will receive a “fail” result.

                                  Structure of the Paralegal Licensing Examination

The Paralegal Licensing Examination is comprised of approximately 120 multiple-choice questions. You will have 3.5
hours to complete the examination. If you arrive late or you require a restroom break or any other breaks during the
examination, you will not receive additional time to complete the examination.

PA03MEM 11/2007
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The Licensing Examination questions will assess the following levels of cognitive ability:
    Knowledge/comprehension: the ability to recall facts, policies, procedures and standards.
    Application: the ability to apply knowledge/comprehension in a straightforward situation (e.g., recognizing the
    appropriate procedure to employ when faced with a routine situation).
    Critical thinking: the ability to apply knowledge/comprehension in complex situations. Requires analytical problem
    solving in addition to knowledge/comprehension and application (e.g., selecting and prioritizing appropriate courses
    of action when faced with complex situations; recognizing the relative importance of conflicting pieces of
    information and arriving at a conclusion requiring sound judgment).
All questions will be multiple-choice. Questions will be independent of each other and the answer to each question will
not depend on whether a previous question was answered correctly.
There are no “all of the above” or “none of the above” answers in the Paralegal Licensing Examination. Each examination
question has one best answer.
The Paralegal Licensing Examination is open book and participants may bring the Paralegal Licensing Process Reference
Materials and other notes on paper to assist in answering the questions. Please note that any and all materials brought
into the testing area will remain in the testing area at the completion of the examination. Participants are not
permitted to remove any materials from the testing area at any time. Please ensure that the materials you bring into
the testing area are those you are willing to leave behind. It is highly recommended that you bring a copy of your study
notes and Reference Materials and not any original materials that you may wish to keep.

                                             Examination Information

The Law Society will provide you with specific information about the Paralegal Licensing Examination prior to the
examination date. The Examination Confirmation, which contains specific details concerning examination dates, will be
mailed and/or e-mailed to candidates three weeks prior to the examination date. The Candidate Instruction Booklet and
the Licensing Examination Rules and Protocol will be provided when candidates receive the Paralegal Licensing Process
Reference Materials.
Please consult the Paralegal Licensing Process website at for information regarding the examination date
and location.

                                      Notification of Examination Results

The Office of the Registrar will mail your examination results to you within 2 to 3 weeks after you have written the
examination. Please ensure that the Office of the Registrar has your most current mailing address for the receipt of your
Licensing Process Transcript that will be mailed to you at the conclusion of the Paralegal Licensing Examination period.

                  Confidentiality and Security of the Paralegal Licensing Examination

The Law Society of Upper Canada requires strict confidentiality and security for its examination material. Security
procedures and protocols have been implemented to ensure that the integrity of the examination is maintained. All
examination materials are protected by copyright.
Stringent security measures have been put in place to protect the examination materials during all phases of examination
development and execution. To eliminate unfair advantage among candidates, and avoid the high cost of replacing
examination materials in the event of a security breach, these security measures extend to the development, review,
printing, transportation, disposal, and presentation of examination materials on examination day.
Law Society Proctors will be monitoring and observing all candidates during the course of the examination and will
document any examination misconduct.

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              Licensing Examination Rules and Protocol and Licensing Process Policies

Candidates who are admitted to the Licensing Examination Testing Area must abide by the Licensing Examination Rules
and Protocol (“Rules and Protocol”), which include the following:
•   If a candidate fails to arrive at the Licensing Examination Site at the required time and/or fails to produce an
    acceptable form of identification, the candidate will be required to write the Paralegal Licensing Examination at the
    next available Sitting of the Paralegal Licensing Examination.
•   If prohibited items are found in the possession of a candidate, such items will be confiscated and the results of the
    candidate’s Paralegal Licensing Examination will be declared null and void.
•   If a candidate’s behaviour is inappropriate and a Proctor or a staff member of the Society is required to escort the
    candidate from the Licensing Examination Testing Area, the results of the candidate’s Paralegal Licensing
    Examination will be declared null and void.
A violation of the Rules and Protocol may lead to
•   the preparation of a written report on the conduct of the candidate which will be provided to the Professional
    Regulation Department for investigation;
•   the initiation of legal proceedings by the Society against the candidate for damages; or
•   the Society pursuing any other legal remedies available to the Society.

                                         Preparing for the Examination

Self-Study Reference Materials
The Law Society will provide you with the Paralegal Licensing Process Reference Materials, including the Paralegal
Rules of Conduct and the By-Laws made under the Law Society Act, to assist you in your preparation to write the Paralegal
Licensing Examination. It is essential that you read these materials carefully in preparation for writing the examination.

Managing the Examination
Performing well on the examination requires a solid understanding of the Paralegal Licensing Process Reference
Materials, the Paralegal Rules of Conduct and By-Laws made under the Law Society Act, a positive attitude and sufficient
advanced planning and organization. It takes time to adequately prepare for an examination. There are no shortcuts. While
study tips and examination writing tips can help you prepare, there is no replacement for taking the time to build a solid
base of knowledge.
You will decide the best way to prepare to write the Paralegal Licensing Examination. Here are some approaches to

    A. Scheduling your study time
Develop a systematic approach to studying each topic. This can be accomplished by effectively organizing your study
•    Begin studying early. Literature suggests that studying in short manageable increments spaced out over time is more
     beneficial than cramming all the material into closely spaced lengthy study sessions.
•    Maintain a regular study schedule. Set aside a specific time of day in which to study and stick to that time as you
     would any other appointment. It is best to study when you are wide-awake and alert rather than studying late at night
     when you are tired and likely to have poor retention.
•    Set specific goals during your study time, e.g., the number of chapters/rules you would like to review.
•    Take breaks between study sessions and expect to review more difficult materials in shorter time frames. For
     example after 45–60 minutes of studying, take a 5-minute break. After three consecutive study cycles, take a longer
     break (e.g., 15–30 minutes). When dealing with more complicated materials, take more frequent breaks.
•    Start each study session by reviewing the materials you studied previously. Reviewing previously learned materials
     without a long time delay will help you keep knowledge fresh in your mind. If you wait too long to review the
     material, you will waste time relearning what you have already learned.

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•   Use the weeks preceding the examination to review, integrate and reinforce the materials you have learned.

    B. Effective reading and note-taking
Careful, active and systematic reading can assist you to retain your knowledge. Most literature on examination preparation
suggests that it is best to read through each chapter of your material at least three times:
•   The first time, read the chapter in order to develop a general understanding and overview of the content. This will
    allow you to have an increased understanding of the materials before focusing on the details. At this stage, try to
    avoid highlighting your materials and taking notes as you are likely to highlight or write down too much information
    without having a proper review of the major concepts.
•   The purpose of the second review is to draw out important concepts. It is during this second review that it is best to
    take notes or highlight main points in the chapter. Before highlighting or making notes, ensure you finish reading the
    paragraph, section or page so that you will give some thought to what you are highlighting.
    Consider using the Cornell system of taking notes:
    Draw a vertical line down a piece of paper, 2.5 inches from the left hand column. On the right hand side of the page,
    actively summarize or paraphrase the relevant information you have just reviewed. On the left hand side of the page
    write key words or phrases that are cues to the information on the right side of the page. Then try to retrieve your
    knowledge of the topics by covering your notes in the right hand column and determining whether you can recall
    concepts by reviewing the key words in the left hand column. Then review your notes to ensure you have retrieved
    all the important information related to a topic. Testing yourself in this way will encourage active learning and
    retrieval, skills you will be using in the examination.
•   The third read of a chapter is for review purposes. Reviewing materials on a regular basis will better ensure the
    information will be retained in long-term memory.

    C. Organizing your materials for an open book examination
There is a common misconception that open book examinations require less study and preparation time than closed book
examinations. However, since open book examinations require candidates to analyze information and apply it to new
situations, candidates must fully understand the materials and be very familiar with the content. Candidates who are not
familiar with the materials will waste valuable time searching through documents and will not devote the time required to
think about and adequately answer examination questions. It is especially important in open book examinations to
organize your materials so that you are able to quickly access relevant information. Prior to the examination, ensure you
spend time making your reference materials as “user friendly” as possible. Some suggestions include creating
•    a tabbing or colour coding system to delineate certain subject areas and key topics;
•    short manageable summaries on selected topics; and
•    index cards or a table of contents to list key topics and corresponding pages in your materials and notes.

    D. Reviewing sample examination questions
These sample questions will give you an indication of the style of questions that will be asked, the type of thinking
required (recognition, application, analysis) and the degree of difference between incorrect and correct answers. Answers
to the questions are provided at the end of the question section.

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1.    Walter is a very busy paralegal. He asks his friend, who is not a paralegal, to help him with his cases. Walter tells
      his friend that he will split the fees he receives from the clients for these cases. Can Walter do this?

      (a)     Yes, because his friend should be paid for the work he did.
      (b)     No, because the friend is doing Walter a favour.
      (c)     Yes, because Walter is using a friend.
      (d)     No, because his friend is not a paralegal.

2.    To meet professional obligations, what should a paralegal consider when advertising services on the Internet?

      (a)     His clients may not have a computer.
      (b)     He cannot advertise by e-mail.
      (c)     He should properly identify himself.
      (d)     He should include his fees in the ad.

3.    Joshua, a paralegal, is meeting with his client, Max, for the first time. Max is a landlord of an apartment building
      and is having problems with a tenant. What step should Joshua take next?

      (a)     Research the latest landlord and tenant cases.
      (b)     Ask Max for a money retainer.
      (c)     Send the tenant a letter.
      (d)     Ask Max questions to find out his objectives.

4.    Dave is involved in bitter litigation against his neighbour. He gives Brigitte, his paralegal, instructions not to give
      the other side any extra time to meet deadlines. How should Brigitte respond to these instructions from Dave?

      (a)     Follow Dave’s instructions.
      (b)     Advise Dave that she cannot deny reasonable requests, provided Dave’s rights are not prejudiced.
      (c)     Write a letter to the other side informing them that no extensions will be granted.
      (d)     Make a private agreement with the other side to secretly grant each other extensions, if needed.

5.    When should a paralegal open a client file and prepare a memorandum to file?

      (a)     After a client retains the paralegal to act on the matter.
      (b)     When a client writes the paralegal a letter instructing the paralegal to commence an action.
      (c)     After the paralegal files documents with the court and sets a hearing date.
      (d)     After a prospective client contacts the paralegal to discuss obtaining legal services.

6.    Before accepting a joint retainer, what must a paralegal tell her clients about conflicts that may develop between
      the parties?

      (a)     She may have to withdraw.
      (b)     She must mediate the conflicts.
      (c)     She will apply to court to determine whom to represent.
      (d)     She will take instructions from one client only, while continuing to act for both.

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7.    Amy approaches Cliff, a paralegal in sole practice, about an ongoing matter. Amy seems very demanding and has
      already been represented by numerous paralegals for this matter. Cliff provides a very high fee estimate so that
      Amy will not want to retain him. To his surprise, Amy agrees to the high fee. Cliff now realizes he should have
      been honest with Amy. What is the most appropriate step for Cliff to take?

      (a)     Revise the estimate because the fee is not fair and reasonable.
      (b)     Accept the retainer because Amy has agreed to the fee.
      (c)     Revise the estimate and ask for a higher fee.
      (d)     Suggest that Amy go back to one of her former paralegals.

8.    Cliff has been charged with careless driving and is represented by Danielle, a paralegal. Before the trial starts,
      Cliff tells Danielle that his father is a friend of the judge. Cliff believes that his father has convinced the judge to
      rule in his favour. What should Danielle do?

      (a)     Continue the trial with this judge.
      (b)     Tell the prosecutor what Cliff has said.
      (c)     Tell Cliff to ask his father not to speak to the judge.
      (d)     Request a trial with a different judge.

9.    In what type of matter can a paralegal accept a contingency fee?

      (a)     A summary conviction matter.
      (b)     A spousal support matter in the Ontario Court of Justice.
      (c)     A provincial offences matter.
      (d)     A Workplace Safety and Insurance Board matter.

10.   When should a conflicts check be performed by a paralegal?

      (a)     Each time a new party becomes involved in the matter.
      (b)     After the matter is completed.
      (c)     When the client pays his bill.
      (d)     After the retainer has been accepted by the paralegal.

11.   What is the most effective way for a paralegal to keep a client informed regarding fees?

      (a)     Record all time spent on the matter.
      (b)     Include a reporting letter with the final bill.
      (c)     Send the client frequent billings.
      (d)     Charge a fixed hourly rate.

12.   Joanne, a long-time client, approaches Michael, a paralegal, who handles landlord and tenant cases. Joanne asks
      Michael to draft her Will. What should Michael do?

      (a)     Draft the Will because Joanne is a long-time client.
      (b)     Tell Joanne he will review the Will if she drafts it.
      (c)     Decline to draft the Will for Joanne.
      (d)     Refer Joanne to another paralegal.

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13.   Marlin, a paralegal, represents Ink Masters, a printing company charged under the Environmental Protection Act
      with illegal dumping of toxic waste. Ink Masters admitted its guilt to Marlin but requested that he submit false
      documentation to show that the waste was properly disposed. What is the best advice that Marlin can give Ink

      (a)     He cannot submit the false documentation.
      (b)     He can no longer act for Ink Masters.
      (c)     Ink Masters can submit the false documentation directly to the government.
      (d)     Ink Masters must find a witness to support the claims made in the false documents.

14.   Willis, a paralegal, has two non-paralegal staff members, Maisy and Svetlana. At a restaurant, Maisy and Svetlana
      discuss their belief that the opposing lawyer in a file is having an affair with one of Willis' clients. Another
      client, who is at the restaurant, overhears the conversation and calls Willis to complain. What are Willis'
      obligations, if any, in this situation?

      (a)     Willis has no obligations regarding Maisy and Svetlana's comments outside the office.
      (b)     Willis should train his staff to keep such comments inside the office.
      (c)     Willis should train his staff not to make such comments.
      (d)     Willis has no obligations because Maisy and Svetlana have not revealed confidential client information.

15.   Cheyenne, a paralegal, has taken on ten new clients over the last month. She has not had time to hire adequate
      support staff. What is the most appropriate action for Cheyenne to take to meet her professional responsibility

      (a)     Seek adjournments on current files to accommodate new clients.
      (b)     Open a file for each new client matter.
      (c)     Ensure that the new clients have sufficient funds for a retainer.
      (d)     Ask her teenaged daughter to help out.

16.   Elliott, a paralegal, hires a collection agency to collect his fees from a former client. What information, if any, can
      Elliott disclose?

      (a)     He cannot disclose any information as all of the client's information is confidential.
      (b)     He can give the collection agency the client's entire file.
      (c)     He can only disclose information contained in the court record.
      (d)     He can only disclose as much information as is necessary to collect his fees.

17.   Janina, a paralegal, receives a telephone call from Brad. Brad is looking for someone to represent him in a dispute
      against Neil. Janina recalls that she acted for Neil on another matter a few years ago. What should Janina do first?

      (a)     Review Neil's file to prepare a strategy to assist Brad.
      (b)     Perform a conflict search before receiving further details.
      (c)     Contact Neil and tell him about the phone call with Brad.
      (d)     Continue with the conversation with Brad to obtain all the details.

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18.        Alexandra has recently opened a paralegal practice and decides to advertise her services by sending an e-mail to a
           list of people in her community. The subject line of the e-mail reads, “Increase Your Income in 6 Months!”
           Alexandra says in her e-mail that she represents defendants on speeding violations. What should Alexandra do to
           ensure that her advertising complies with the Paralegal Rules of Conduct?

           (a)     Advertise in the community newspaper instead of by e-mail.
           (b)     Change the subject line of her e-mail to reflect the services that she offers.
           (c)     Change the subject line in the e-mail to “Win Every Time.”
           (d)     Only send the e-mail to individuals who have previously requested information about her services.

19.        Ralph, a paralegal, has been appointed as a mediator in a Small Claims Court dispute. Both sides are self-
           represented. As the mediation proceeds, one of the parties asks Ralph to tell him whether he would be successful
           at trial. What can Ralph do?

           (a)     Do not answer the question unless both parties are present.
           (b)     Have his assistant present when he answers the question.
           (c)     Answer the question candidly.
           (d)     Tell the party that he cannot answer him.

20.        What is the best way for a paralegal to communicate with a client in a timely and effective manner?

           (a)     Copy the client on all correspondence when received and sent.
           (b)     Show the client all correspondence at the next meeting.
           (c)     Include copies of correspondence with the final reporting letter.
           (d)     Provide copies of correspondence on the request of the client.


      1.    (d)             11. (c)
      2.    (c)             12. (c)
      3.    (d)             13. (a)
      4.    (b)             14. (c)
      5.    (d)             15. (b)
      6.    (a)             16. (d)
      7.    (a)             17. (b)
      8.    (d)             18. (b)
      9.    (d)             19. (d)
      10. (a)               20. (a)

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     E.   Controlling examination anxiety
Part of controlling anxiety involves being prepared for what lies ahead. Here are some tips for controlling examination-
related anxiety:
Prior to the examination, be emotionally, physically and intellectually prepared.
•   Know your material thoroughly and organize the materials you will need for the examination to eliminate
    unnecessary flipping and page turning.
•   Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Proper rest and good nutrition are essential to maintain concentration. Ensure you get
    enough sleep, good nutrition (stimulants such as caffeine, sugar, cigarettes, drugs and alcohol can significantly
    increase stress levels), exercise, personal “down time” and social interaction. Think positively.
On the day of the examination
•   Allow yourself plenty of time and arrive at the examination room early so that you have adequate time to register,
    clear the security check, find your assigned seat and organize your materials prior to the start of the examination. Try
    to achieve a relaxed state of concentration prior to receiving the examination booklet. Dress comfortably.
•   Avoid speaking to other candidates prior to the examination. Anxiety can be infectious and it is best to avoid
    speaking to candidates who are unprepared or who are expressing negativity. Concentrate on staying relaxed and
    confident prior to the examination.
During the examination
It is reasonable to expect that you will feel some anxiety during the examination. If you start to feel overwhelmed,
consider taking these steps:
•      Take slow deep breaths to relax. The calmer you are during the examination, the better you will be able to
       concentrate. An example of a simple relaxation technique is to take a very deep breath; take a sudden quick extra
       breath through your mouth; and then let your breath out slowly. Repeat these steps several times.
•      Do not focus on the anxiety; focus on your next task.
•      Do not expect to know everything. It is unlikely that any candidate will answer all questions correctly. If you come
       across a question you did not anticipate, use everything you know about the content of the materials and your
       reasoning ability to analyze the question and identify the most logical answer.
•      Try to maintain a positive attitude and don’t “psyche yourself out” by thinking about the implications of the
       examination. Focus on the task at hand and remember you are doing your best.

     F.   Maximizing your performance when writing a multiple-choice examination
•    Read the examination before answering any questions. Ensure your examination booklet contains no missing or
     duplicated pages.
•    Carefully read all instructions.
•    Plan your time and pace yourself. Assess how many questions the examination contains and allocate your time
     accordingly. Problems arise when candidates forget to check the clock or spend too much time on several difficult
     questions. To avoid this, try to estimate what pace you should maintain throughout the examination and set progress
     times or finishing times. Ensure that you build in some time at the end of the examination to review your answers.
•    Read each question and all options carefully since multiple choice examinations test your ability to read
     carefully as much as they test your ability to recall, analyze and apply information.
•    Circle or underline key words and pay attention to relationships between the parties as these usually signify important
•    Be careful not to make assumptions that are not supported by the facts.
•    The two most popular techniques for answering multiple-choice questions include the answer search method and the
     elimination method:
     – The answer search method involves reading the question and trying to answer it without consulting the four
          options listed after the question. Choose the option that most closely matches your answer.

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    –    The elimination method involves reading each option then immediately eliminating the options that are
         incorrect. Read the stem of the question along with each of the remaining options, and then choose the option
         that is most true.
•   If you do not know the answer to a question, mark that question and move on to the next question. Finish the
    questions you are able to easily answer and then return to the more difficult questions. Sometimes a previous
    question will spark your memory about the answer to another question.
•   Answer all questions on the bubble sheet provided. If you do not know the answer to a question, make an informed
    guess. There is no penalty for incorrect answers.
•   Use any extra time to review your examination and ensure you answered all questions.
•   Complete and check your answer sheet carefully to ensure you have not marked your answers incorrectly.

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