From tools to tort: Roger Dinner, Belleville Paralegal

From tools to tort: Roger Dinner, Belleville Paralegal

After decades of working with his hands, using power tools, following schematics and using common sense—Roger Dinner dropped out of the trades several years ago and has since forged a successful professional path he always wanted to fulfill--as a paralegal.

Dinner is a Belleville-based paralegal who has worked in numerous professions before eventually launching his own business.

“I became a trades-person, which afforded me a good living. But at about the age of 50, I became increasingly tired and unhappy with the trade and I sold my business,” says Dinner, a former HVAC, gas fitter, and sheet metal installer.

But years of working in such fields imparts a certain straight-forward approach to getting a job done right the first time around. And that's exactly the feeling you get if you visit Dinner's paralegal firm, which is called GetLegalResults. Even the name suggests clients can expect a no-nonsense and practical legal remedy for the problems they’re facing.

Seated beneath an array of professional certificates hanging above him (which obviously include his Law Society paralegal licence), Dinner says his diverse background in the trades helps him better understand and interact with people from similar backgrounds.

“I enjoy helping or trying to help correct the imperfections of people’s lives so to speak,” Dinner says. “Due to my trades background I have a bit of a leg up, so to speak, when it comes to Small Claims matters involving tradesmen. Also, being in people’s homes--the ultra rich to the very poor—and listening to them, their trials and tribulations...It gives me a better understanding of human nature. I am more apt to put myself in the other person’s shoes.”

Dinner represents a minority of Ontario paralegals whose professional talents don’t start nor end at the courthouse. Not all legal minds operating in Ontario’s courts marched from adolescence into college to immediately become a lawyer, paralegal, or judge.

At first, the transition to practising law wasn’t easy, admits Dinner.

“Schooling and changing my whole mindset and way of thinking; from a trades-based thinking and reasoning, to a legal way of thinking.”

Dinner might not be using wrenches or tape measures for his clients anymore, but instead he’s in Small Claims court and other areas of law as well as arbitration and mediation. These are exciting times for the legal profession and paralegals in general--  ie. uncontested divorces —an area of legal representation formerly only reserved for costly lawyers.

The paralegal profession is changing quickly in Ontario.

Dinner says he’s noticed a rapid shift in the way paralegals are conducting their business—on two fronts. One, he says, has to do with the ever-changing status of paralegals and how they’re regulated in Ontario. The second, of course, is how technology is affecting things.

“There are a few jurisprudential shifts (taking place), such as the push to reform family law to allow paralegals to have the ability to practice in this area albeit in a limited way. It shows that paralegals can be a cost effective alternative for access to justice for the general public, who do not have the means to pay for high cost legal assistance,” he says.

In the five years he’s been in business, Dinner says he’s already had to switch up the way his business is run in order to remain rigorous in the ever-changing legal landscape.

“I have witnessed an explosion of ways in which technology has been put into use, such as cloud based legal programs like uLaw, Onenote, and ShieldBasic...(these programs) make the lives of paralegals and lawyers so much easier than in years gone by. Courts are now allowing filing to be done electronically, and this will only expand as time progresses.”

GetLegalResults can assist individuals in Criminal Law (summary), Landlord/Tenant, MPAC, Provincial Offences, Small Claims and more. Learn more about the services offered by GetLegalResults by clicking here, or by calling 613 827.5585