Paralegal facing uncertain future
By IAN ROBERTSON, SUN MEDIA
Sat, March 15, 2008
An ex-Toronto trucker who championed divorced dads for 15 years says he will pull the plug on his paralegal service due to the province clamping down on non-lawyers.
Stacy Robb, 52, told the Sun he chose Father's Day -- June 15 -- as the deadline for closing DADS Canada.
Since the Ontario government introduced its Access to Justice Act last year, he said calls from desperate dads dropped off dramatically.
"Without any support, I can't continue," Robb said.
"Learning from lawyers" during his own child custody proceedings, he decided to help other hard-pressed dads. "I charged people what they could afford," sometimes getting nothing, other times only $50 in "donations."
With the Law Society of Upper Canada now regulating paralegals, Robb blames the government for forcing more people into the clutches of high-priced lawyers "instead of hiring affordable help."
But the province insists the industry needed regulating due to unqualified practitioners, plus clients who didn't know the limits of paralegals compared to lawyers.
The act was part of a package of reforms to provide greater access to legal help, Attorney General Michael Bryant said when the act was passed in late 2006.
The regulations "protect the public by ensuring that those who provide legal services have training, carry liability insurance and are members of a public body with the power to investigate complaints," Valerie Hopper, spokesman for the attorney general, said yesterday.
She said the law society, which began overseeing paralegals last May 1, has over 200 years of experience.
Robb states on his website "we are out of money" and will only respond to e-mails via www.dadscanada.com as a "last chance to save DADS Canada." Without support, "I'm going to have to apply for welfare."