Lawyers and Other Jurists: Who Does What?

Lawyers, notaries, judges, legal counsels, paralegals and other employees in the legal world are all jurists, but certain of these professions are more clearly defined by law. A quick look at what differentiates a lawyer from a jurist: they get confused for each other sometimes, however they’re not interchangeable.

“Objection, Your Honour!” although, in the popular imagination, the lawyer is an employee of a private company, who spends his days in court before a judge defending a reprehensible client, in reality the profession has many other faces. The legal adviser, the research lawyer and the Crown prosecutor for example, are lawyers: they have successfully passed the Bar Admission Course, have completed their internship, have been sworn in and pay yearly dues to their professional order. This is what defines a lawyer, apart from his actual function in his work place.

“There are numerous legal professions and numerous careers, but certain actions can only be accomplished by a lawyer,” explains Christine Aubé-Gagnon, legal techniques teacher at St Jerome CEGEP. “The Bar Association ensures that those that join its ranks are fully qualified to be a lawyer. But their official job title may vary depending on the case.”

Warning: In Canada there is no provision for a “company jurist”, a profession similar to that of a lawyer and practiced in Europe by jurists, someone who carries a degree in law, possesses the legal competencies, but has not necessarily obtained the title of lawyer. Several French expatriates are bitterly disappointed when on their arrival in Quebec they realize that the regulated profession of a lawyer has an absolute monopoly in terms of legal advice and representation. You may however work as a paralegal or legal assistant, without being a member of the Order. Neither the assignments nor the salary are the same.

Jurist, a word with wide meanings

According to the “CAID” legal dictionary, the legal information guide for members of the Quebec Bar Association, a jurist is a “person who has great legal knowledge or who drafts legal documents, or someone who practises a legal profession.”

“Thus, this includes the lawyer, the notary or the law student (who hasn’t yet completed the Bar Admission Course),” explains Christine Aubé-Gagnon. The same applies to the lawyer who stops being registered with the Order because he has stopped paying the dues: he is no longer a lawyer, but remains a jurist.

As for notaries, they are jurists, but not lawyers; their profession is also regulated and requires a different path specifically to obtain a degree in notarial law.

Latest articles by
Comments network