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Summary: Field Experience

I initially worked for Azzouggagh & Balatidis Legal Services for my field placement, located at 310 Vaughan Valley Blvd. unit B, Vaughan Ontario L4H 3C3. The business was a corporation operated by two licensed paralegals, Issam Azzouggagh and Panagiotis Balatidis. The firm had been operating for two years. However, when I arrived, the corporation and partnership were being dissolved. I worked exclusively with Mr. Balatidis, who is now operating under Balatidis Legal Services, which is a sole proprietorship in the private sector.

Balatidis Legal Services primarily deals with Small Claims Court matters and Landlord and Tenant Board matters. In addition, Balatidis Legal Services handles Provincial Offence Court matters, primarily matters in relation to careless driving under Section 130 of the Highway Traffic Act, R. S. O. 1990, c. H. 8. Currently, Mr. Balatidis does not have any other employees working for him. During my first week of placement, I conducted in-depth legal research on the principle of set-off, as well as research on perjury, and construction work.

Furthermore, I researched case law on eviction orders by the Landlord and Tenant Board, as well as cases in relation to section 83 of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, S. O. 2006, c. 17. I also researched cases on arm’s length transactions, and I researched cases on careless driving under section 130 of the Highway Traffic Act, R. S. O. 1990, c. H. 8. I also found and provided case law that dealt with costs that the Court is able to award. Furthermore, I also had the chance to attend a settlement conference, an assessment hearing, and a Landlord and Tenant Board hearing.

Finally, I drafted several legal forms such as a witness list, disclosure request, certificate of service, as well as a response letter. In week two, I conducted research in regards to harassment under the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, S. O. 2006, c. 17 (RTA), discoverability, case law related to section 48 of the RTA, and illegal activity under the RTA. In addition, I prepared legal memorandums on whether the Landlord and Tenant Board has to provide reasons for its decisions, and what constitutes as an illegal activity under the RTA.

I was also able to complete an Affidavit of Service Form 8A, in addition to preparing Small Claim Court Forms for garnishment and enforcement. Moreover, I attended a trial at Burlington Provincial Offence Court and an assessment hearing at Richmond Hill Small Claim Court House. In week three I researched case law on rental units that are exempt from the RTA under section 5(J), and I researched case law on what is considered agricultural work in relation to section 5(J) of the RTA. Furthermore, I reviewed case law on how the Landlord and Tenant Board calculates rent abatement and I conducted legal research on joint and common tenancies.

I also drafted legal memorandums on the topic of residential property on agricultural land, and on perjury. In addition, I also filed several court documents, such as an appeal’s package with the New Market municipal and provincial prosecutor’s office for a Highway Traffic-related matter. I filed a Notice of Garnishment with Richmond Hill Court. I drafted an Affidavit for Enforcement Request, Notice of Garnishment and Garnishee Statement Form, which I subsequently delivered to the garnishee bank in person.

In week four, I drafted a legal memorandum on joint and common tenancies and conducted legal research on discoverability. I prepared a Consent Form 13B and assisted with organizing closed case files. I also arranged for Affidavits of Service to be mailed. I delivered an eviction notice to the Toronto sheriff. Furthermore, I attended several Courts and tribunal appearances including, a hearing at the Toronto Landlord and Tenant Board, a Court hearing for a by-law infraction, and an appeal at the New Market Provincial Offence Court. There were some challenges I faced during my placement.

At one point I was asked to draft court documents that I had never prepared before, such as a witness list. In instances where I was asked to perform a task that I had never completed before, I would ask for detailed instructions. I would also ensure that my supervisor reviewed my work, and I would make any necessary adjustments. Another challenge was not being able to work on a case from start to finish. The cases I worked directly on were either in the process of being finished, i. e. a judgment had been made, or in some cases, a trial was scheduled, but it had been adjourned until after my placement.

Well, I was still able to learn quite a lot, it would have been nice to see a case from the begging to end. I wanted to get a better understanding on how my supervisor identified the issues or how he was able to ascertain which defences to use. I was also interested in learning how one establishes the facts of a case. These were mostly things I had learned during my studies, but I had wanted to see how a paralegal was able to build a case. I was able to get around this by just asking questions such as, what first steps do you take when you are retained by a client?

I made sure I understood the facts of each case and I also took notes during every process especially during court appearances. Throughout my placement, I was able to form new skills and further develop existing skills. Mainly, I learned to be thorough when reviewing disclosure and pleadings in case there are inconsistencies or something that is favourable to the client. In addition, I learned about the challenges that can occur in a partnership, such has having to place trust in someone else and being liable for their conduct.

It helped me to consider what type of business entity I would want to have. I was also able to develop further legal research skills. I learned to focus on researching specific issues, instead of looking for cases that had similar facts. I also learned how to prepare a client in giving testimony. There were two separate times when my supervisor had brought his client up on the stand during an assessment hearing. Both times, my supervisor explained the process to the clients and advised the clients to keep their responses short and to the point.

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