Announcing the first book on community paralegals - download for free today!

(Vivek Maru) #1


Dear Friends,

I am thrilled to share a new book with you: Community Paralegals and the Pursuit of Justice.

Community paralegals demystify law and empower people to advocate for themselves. They are at the heart of our movement for justice. But they have been largely ignored by scholars and writers.

This book starts to fill that void. It’s been a long time coming — it’s the product of eight years of research and writing by 14 authors across 6 countries.

Download the book for free here.

Each chapter is rich with vivid accounts of paralegals helping communities to take on injustice, from domestic violence to unlawful mining to denial of wages. From these stories emerges evidence of what works and how.

This book explores questions like:

  • How have community paralegals adapted to and influenced their changing political contexts, from repressive regimes like apartheid South Africa to newfound democracies and, in some cases, back towards repression?
  • Is it possible for paralegals to receive public funding without sacrificing their independence?
  • What are five qualities of the most effective paralegals, and how can organizations nurture those qualities?

This book is for all of us. I hope it will make us better at what we do, and bring attention to our cause.

Download the book for free here.

Here’s what people are saying about Community Paralegals and the Pursuit of Justice:

“A must-read… If ‘access to justice’ is an abstraction to you, it won’t be once you read the stories in these pages of paralegals and clients seeking justice. Those stories are unforgettable. They hold lessons for all of us.”

-Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, current chair of The Elders

“Thoroughly original…Anyone interested in the future of law and justice will have to reckon with this book."

-Pratap Mehta, Vice-Chancellor, Ashoka University

“Frontline legal advocates can help people turn law into the guarantor of equality it is supposed to be. This book shows us how.”

-Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative

"[A] powerful … guide to understanding one of the most promising emerging fields in the world today… Each individual story is inspiring, and the global potential of this profession to change countless lives is thrilling."

-Ricken Patel, Founder and CEO, Avaaz - The World in Action.

Do the lessons the book draws about paralegals and legal empowerment ring true to you? How do the experiences described compare with your own? Please share your thoughts with our community here.

In solidarity,

Vivek Maru


(Faith Ochieng') #2

Dear Viveck, Thank you very much for sharing this and the good work Namati is doing in Access to Justice space.

Kind regards,



(Ali Hassan) #3

Thanks for sharing. This is great work and very inspirational cases that involves paralegals, I cant wait to read it and share with paralegal organizations in Zanzibar, Tanzania


(Alexandar Pavlov) #4

Thank you very much for sharing. Is there some specific requirement to work as a community paralegal in Canada? Is it something different from the paralegal occupation which is regulated in Ontario? Thank you very much. Alexandar.

1 Like

(Lorenzo Wakefield) #5

@vivekmaru congratulations on the publishing of this book! I’m trying to purchase a hard copy online, but with no luck. The Cambridge Press site only gives me the option to add it to my “wishlist” but not to purchase. Do you know of a reputable online site where I can purchase a hard copy?

Thanks, -L


(Vivek Maru) #6

Thank you for flagging @lorenzowakefield. And great to see you last week. @mckinleycharles or @vivektrivedi do you know what the deal is re. hard copies?

@APAVLOV community paralegals tend to be different from the traditional paralegals. (see p. 2-3 in the book). Ontario does have a remarkable experience with both though- check out work by @michelemleering.



(McKinley Charles) #7

Hi @lorenzowakefield,

I tried to order it on Cambridge Press site and it let me, and gave me an option to ship to South Africa. I am not sure why it wasn’t working for you. Perhaps the page didn’t load correctly.

I clicked on the link above, clicked ‘buy the print book’ and it led me to this page. From there, I clicked “add to cart”. When I continue on to the checkout page, it lets me select which country to deliver to from a dropdown menu. See screenshot below.

If you try this and still have problems, let me know and I will reach out to Cambridge.

cc: @vivekmaru


(Alexandar Pavlov) #8

Dear Vivek, Thank you very much for the information. Are the community paralegals licenced? From what I know Ontario is the only province where the paralegal profession is regulated. Alexandar


(Lorenzo Wakefield) #9

Thank you @mckinleycharles. It allows me to purchase it now.



(Alexandar Pavlov) #10

Hello Vivek, How can i get in touch with Michelle Leering? The email shown is not active Thanks. Alexandar


(Tobias Eigen) #11

Hi Alexandar! You should be able to select @michelemleering and then MESSAGE on the user card that pops up to send her a message via this forum. If you don’t see the MESSAGE button let me know.

You can see a list of Michele’s work that has been uploaded to the resource library following this link: Michele Leering

1 Like

(Alexandar Pavlov) #12

Thank you. I clicked the message button but it did not work. How do the community paralegals work in Ontario? They are different from the official paralegals. I will research the topic because it is so inspiring. Thanks.

1 Like

(Tobias Eigen) #13

Hmm… sorry about that! I will connect with you directly to try to sort this out. Generally, though, talking here in the forum is always better. If you have specific questions for Michele or other members you can mention them to pull them into specific conversations. They will be notified by email, which they can reply to directly.

1 Like

(Alexandar Pavlov) #14

Sure. I will ask her probably with a hashtag I assume. Alexandar


(Alexandar Pavlov) #15

Hello @michelemleering, I am interested to know more about the community paralegals in Ontario. I was referred to you by Mr. Tobias Eigen. Thank you very much! Truly yours, Alexandar


(Michele Leering) #16

Thanks Alexander.

Michael Otto will have access to a whole chapter that I helped write with others at Namati on Ontario’s paralegals. I wonder when it is being published. This would help you a lot. I will email Michael about it.

All best wishes,



(Michael Otto) #17

Thank you @michelemleering, and hello Alexandar @APAVLOV. We have been developing a series of national research briefs on recognition and financing of paralegals and are just now publishing the first 8-10 of these in our resource library. The series of briefs will be part of a broader resource guide on formal recognition and financing of community paralegals that will include supplemental resources and materials for each country and will be up on our site next month - so stay tuned for that.

For now, the paralegal research brief for Ontario, Canada can be found here:


(Alexandar Pavlov) #18

Тhank you very much. Alexandar


(Alexandar Pavlov) #19

This is very interesting material. So community paralegals are legal workers. This makes sense.




(Alexandar Pavlov) #20

Can the community paralegals give legal advice? The legal community is very protective. But maybe some significant change is underway? The legal services are so expensive. And there are so many needs.


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