• John Quaggin

    Striving For Success

    Portrait of John Quaggin.
    John Quaggin
    Paralegal Certificate Graduate

    Paralegal’s business benefits from classroom experiences

    After nearly three decades working in graphic design, John Quaggin felt it was time for a meaningful change.

    I was always interested in law, but made some decisions back in my twenties that resulted in my pursuing a communication arts career. I didn’t find that was efficiently stimulating me, he says.

    With amendments to Ontario’s Access to Justice Act paving the way for the paralegal profession, in 2009 John decided to launch a six-year academic odyssey to acquire the qualifications necessary to secure employment in the legal profession.

    That decision eventually brought this mature student to our Paralegal Certificate, a program accredited by the Law Society of Upper Canada. Our central location, flexible schedule and acknowledgment of prior learning helped John to make his choice.

    I’d just completed a two-year full-time (law clerk) diploma, and it was quite a distance to be commuting every day. I realized that I needed something that was not only in closer proximity but in a more urban environment, explains John. George Brown seemed to be the ideal fit, and there was great flexibility for entering into the program. The Legal Studies co-ordinator was very accommodating and spoke with me at length – I actually obtained some transfer credits to enter the program.

    Completing the certificate and gaining a paralegal license allowed him to take on his own clients, an element of independence he couldn’t pursue with only a law clerk diploma.

    I had recognized that it wouldn’t be sufficient for me to simply work as an employee in the legal services profession. I wanted to become an independent and go into private practice, he says. There’s a tremendous amount of opportunity for those who are motivated and have the necessary skills. I think George Brown prepared me well for that.

    While John enjoys being an independent legal service provider, he also values the sense of community he found while studying at George Brown.

    Even though it’s in the heart of Canada’s largest city and it’s a big facility, George Brown is really quite an intimate environment. So you develop relationships with people, John notes. With any module system, that would be one of the great dividends, as people will remain together and study together and form those bonds. That’s a tremendous asset when you’re attempting to compete in the really fast-paced environment of legal services – you need to have those relationships in place. They will be a tremendous support when entering the profession.

    John also formed a strong bond with his teachers, recognizing the value of their experience.

    “Every day I apply the substantive principles, procedural knowledge, and client management skills that I acquired at George Brown College, and for me they have formed the foundation of a successful and growing paralegal practice.”

    I wanted to ensure that I seized every opportunity to extract as much information as possible from the instructors. They are all very senior, highly experienced paralegals or for the most part, senior lawyers who have been practicing in the profession for 30 years, says John.

    They are absolutely a tremendous resource for students – they encourage intellectual curiosity.

    Since graduating in 2014, John says the skills learned during his time with us inform his day-to-day business.

    Every day I apply the substantive principles, procedural knowledge, and client management skills that I acquired at George Brown College, and for me they have formed the foundation of a successful and growing paralegal practice.

    The connections formed during his time in our Paralegal Certificate program have proven invaluable as he pursues his dream career.

    The greatest benefit I’ve derived from the certificate program was establishing relationships with other likeminded students, says John.

    I can think of no greater dividend paid by any course of academic studies than the support, friendship and enthusiastic collaboration of former fellow students who have become invaluable professional colleagues.