Fanshawe paralegal students come together to revamp law publication

The Nota Bene Student Newspaper recently published their first issue of the year. Individuals can read the online publication at

Various Fanshawe paralegal students collaborated to help inform the community regarding law-related issues, community events and the role/duties of a paralegal through their online news publication, The Nota Bene Student Newspaper.

The Nota Bene Student Newspaper committee recently published their first issue of year, which encompasses the theme of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). “We chose that theme because a big part of a paralegal's work or a lawyer's work is to solve a dispute between parties without going all the way to a trial or a hearing. We chose that specifically for our first issue, because of the strike that happened here at Fanshawe and at all the public colleges in Ontario,” Angela Oakey, one of the editor-in-chiefs for The Nota Bene Student Newspaper said. When the provincial government implemented back-towork legislation, the outstanding issues between Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) and the College Employer Council (CEC) were resolved through binding mediated-arbitration, a method of ADR.

The issue includes a variety of articles, information on upcoming community events, a look at past events organized by the Fanshawe Paralegal Student Association, comics and a “did you know” section. “Our goal is to not only reach the paralegal students within our class, but also to reach the Fanshawe community and anyone interested in law because it affects everyone,” Alison Janssen, one of the editor-in-chiefs for The Nota Bene Student Newspaper said.

Stephanie Yiu, the chair for The Nota Bene Student Newspaper, explained that she and Julie Ahn had the opportunity to job shadow a paralegal named Emma Sims for their article titled “A Day in the Life of a Landlord & Tenant Paralegal”. Yiu said that she and Ahn chose a timeline format for the article rather than a Q&A style to help the reader feel more immersed with the events of the article. “We also gave tips for our paralegal students if they want to appear in front of the Landlord and Tenant Board and what kind of steps they would have to take. [The article] is informative for people who are in the field and who are not in the field [of paralegal studies],” Yiu said.

Janssen said that the featured article for the issue discusses how failed mediation led to the Ontario colleges' faculty strike.

The current issue and upcoming issues of the newspaper will consist of a “ask a paralegal” column, in which individuals can ask common questions regarding paralegal matters. Landlord and tenant issues are featured in the current issue's “ask a paralegal” column.

Oakey explained that the newspaper also assists individuals in learning what a paralegal is and does. “It is a new profession and a lot of people think a paralegal is the same as a law clerk but there are many differences. The main [difference] being that a paralegal can represent in various courts: small claims court, provincial offenses court, many tribunals like the Landlord and Tenants Board and human rights tribunals. We want to educate the public and help them understand that a paralegal is a very good option if you are facing issues in any of the courts I just mentioned, among others.” Oakey said.

The Nota Bene was established in 2017 through the Fanshawe Paralegal Student Association to promote the paralegal student association, inform classmates of the latest happenings in the community and provide various legal-themed articles. Oakey explained that the name “Nota Bene” translates to “Note Well”. The name suits the newspaper, because in the legal community, communication must be clear, concise and accurate.

“This year, we decided to expand on the original idea of The Nota Bene and re-name it to The Nota Bene Student Newspaper and also reach out to the general public, the legal community and paralegal community,” Oakey said.

Yiu explained that the writers for the newspaper are paralegal students; however, the publication is open to submissions from the public to be considered for future issues. According to Yiu, the next issue is planned to be published around the end of May. Individuals can visit to view the latest issue of the newspaper.