Learn About Careers in Justice

There are hundreds of different careers in the justice sector. Many other careers also involve the application of laws and regulations and regularly interact with the justice system. Below are descriptions and information for some common justice sector professions. For information about the full range of justice sector careers, talk to your school’s guidance counselor.

Lawyers

Lawyers are experts in the law. They are licensed to advise clients on legal matters and represent them in court and in other proceedings.

General Requirements:

Paralegals

Paralegals provide a wide range of legal services including: help with traffic tickets, uncontested divorces, small claims court, family court, real estate, landlord and tenant, disputes and incorporations.

General Requirements:

Law Clerks

In Ontario, a law clerk performs duties of an administrative or managerial nature, and/or substantive legal work. A law clerk is supervised by a lawyer.

General requirements:

Police Officers

Police officers are often our first contact with the legal system. Through investigating crimes, protecting individuals and keeping the public peace and order, policing can offer diverse experiences in different areas of the community.

General requirements:

  •  High school diploma
  •  Higher education is not required but is preferred
  • No specific kind of higher education is required, however there are police foundations programs at the college level. Police foundations programs can take about 2 years to complete.
  • For additional information go to the RCMP website, the Ontario Provincial Police site or the Toronto Police Service site.

Legal Secretaries

Legal secretaries perform a variety of secretarial and administrative duties in law offices, legal departments of large firms, real estate companies, land title offices, municipal, provincial and federal courts and government. Check out Ontario Job Futures for a detailed list of legal secretary tasks.

General requirements:

Justices of the Peace

Justices of the peace are judicial officers appointed by the Attorney General of the province. Justices of the peace work in the Ontario Court of Justice hearing matters that take place before an actual trial as well as matters related to the Highway Traffic Act or Workplace Health and Safety Act among other provincial offenses. JOPs also issue subpoenas, search warrants, and warrants over custody of children in need of protection, swear affidavits, and preside over bail hearings.

General requirements:

  • University degree or college diploma or equivalent education or experience
  •  At least 10 years paid work or volunteer experience
  • For additional information, see the Ontario Court of Justice’s website.

Judges

Judges work in the courts of federal and of provincial jurisdiction. Depending on the case, a judge may hear a trial with or without a jury. Without a jury, a judge decides on the credibility of witnesses and the strength of the evidence and imposes a punishment or determines the amount of damages awarded to the plaintiff. With a jury, the judge overseas the proceedings by making sure that they run smoothly and efficiently. At the appeals and the Supreme Court level, judges decide based on evidence given at the lower level, whether the lower court judge made the correct decision under the law.

Judges are appointed by judicial appointments advisory committees made up of a diverse group of people from the community and from the legal profession.

General requirements:

  • At least 10 years membership in the Bar, meaning the applicant is a lawyer, though not necessarily a trial lawyer
  • Applicants must have a good credit rating (bills and debts paid), must have paid up any child support payments and must not have a criminal record
  • Applicants must show a good understanding of the law and understand the social values of the day
  • For additional information about Ontario provincial appointments go to the Ontario Courts website; go to the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs website for information on federal appointments

Court Reporters

Court reporters record and transcribe the proceedings in a court of law, tribunal, government hearing or anywhere else that an exact record of the proceedings is required.

General requirements:

  • A court reporting college course that can take up to six months to complete
  • Additional training and certification, which includes passing standardized tests with the Court Reporters’ Association of Ontario
  • For additional information, see the Court Reporters’ Association of Ontario’s website.