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Suzanne Bemrose is a partner at Bellum Legal in Whit by, Ontario, Canada. She is a licensed paralegal who focuses her practice in the landlord and tenant matters and Small Claims Court.
Ms. Bemrose grew up at a summer resort in Muskoka, Ontario. She earned her B.A. in Law from Carleton University in 1998 and received her Law Clerk Diploma from Algonquin College in 2000. Ms. Bemrose earned her Alternative Dispute Resolution Certificate the following year from York University. She also completed her Graduate Certificate in Paralegal Studies from Durham College and she became licensed as a P1 (paralegal) with the Law Society of Upper Canada in 2012.
Prior to becoming a paralegal, Ms. Bemrose worked in downtown law firms as a clerk/assistant (2000 to 2007). In 2007, she became the Coordinator of Student and Associate Programs for a large law firm. Ms. Bemrose was responsible for coordinating all of the student recruitment for Ottawa and Toronto offices as well as all of the associates for those offices. She is a member of Paralegals of Durham, the Ontario Provincial Offences Advocacy Group (OPOAG), and Group 74.
When she isn't working, she enjoys being a mom to three children (twin girls and a boy). Ms. Bemrose also enjoys mountain biking, martial arts, and eating at Chili's when she visits the United States.
Ms. Bemrose's Successful Career
Why did Ms. Bemrose decide to become a paralegal? "Paralegals only required licenses by the Law Society of Upper Canada in 2006 and I was an assistant at the time to a lawyer who worked on having the law passed to license paralegals. That was when I knew I wanted to become licensed. When the opportunity arose to go back to school and become licensed, I jumped on it!"
What advice would she give to someone who's brand-new to her position? "Volunteer, volunteer and volunteer. Any experience you can get will help greatly when you first start practicing, it may also give you a network to rely on when you need help with your own files."
What information does Ms. Bemrose wish she had when she started out? "I went to a wonderful college, Durham College, and the education there was amazing. My professors were even more amazing and I am still able to go to them for help when I need it. I think I was pretty prepared!"
What does she think are the keys to becoming a successful paralegal? "Knowing your legislation and rules, knowing customer service and working hard."
What does Ms. Bemrose think makes the difference between a good paralegal and a great paralegal? "Being consistent and building relationships."
What's one of the things that she finds most challenging about her job? "Ensuring your client has reasonable expectations and making sure they know they may not get exactly what they want in the end."
What would Ms. Bemrose say is the most important thing she learned as a paralegal? "To never assume anything."
What is the difference between her and other paralegals doing the same thing that she does? "I have several colleagues that do what I do and I think they are all great at what they do. I wouldn't say we do anything different; we all follow the same rules and procedures. We rely on each other for support and help when needed. There is enough work for all of us!"
What is the best part of Ms. Bemrose's job? "The people. I love meeting people from all walks of life."
What's her favorite part of her day as a paralegal? "Going to the Tribunal or Court. I love thinking on my feet and fighting for my client."
What is Ms. Bemrose known for professionally? "Being blunt. My clients hire me to tell them exactly what their situation is. Sometimes it is great, sometimes they are behind the eight ball. I don't sugar coat the answer."
What does she think about the paralegal field in the Oshawa-area today? "I love it! There are so many incredible people out here. We have the best Courthouse and our Landlord Tenant Board has wonderful people working there. I can't think of anything I would like to change off the top of my head, except getting the Tim Horton's in the Courthouse to stay open later!"
If Ms. Bemrose were not in this profession, what would she most probably be doing?
"I really don't have an answer. There were several paths I could have taken. That is the great part about our country, we have the ability to be anything we want to."
Where do you see yourself in five years' time? "Right here. Doing the exact same thing, having the same flexibility for my kids."
What motivates Ms. Bemrose to be a paralegal every day? "I love my profession and being a business owner. I can make my own hours and have that flexibility for my family."
Still Learning Her Profession, Volunteer Activities, People Who Inspire Ms. Bemrose and Her Goals
Does Ms. Bemrose consider herself a mentor? "No, I still have way too much to learn."
Is she involved in any volunteer activities? "Yes, I started the group Paralegals of Durham. It is a networking group. I also do a lot of volunteer work in our community outside of my profession."
Who inspires Ms. Bemrose? She stated:
"My teachers at Durham College - because they all have so much passion for the profession.
My mentors and they know who they are - because they are willing to take the time to teach those of us who are still learning and just want to see our profession grow.
My colleagues - They also work so hard and I love hearing how their day went and the difficulties they encountered and how they handled it."
She has accomplished a lot in her career. What's next for Ms. Bemrose? "I have had so many different careers. This one is just starting. To keep going!"
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