In the midst of a changing landscape for professionals in the legal world, Christina De Palma took the chance to expand her firm and provide legal services in Orillia and area.

De Palma is the owner of De Palma and Associates, a legal firm that opened in Wasaga Beach in 2016. The firm opened its new location in Orillia on May 31.

“We had done a few cases that took us to the various courthouses in Orillia,” said De Palma. “When I did some market research in Orillia, I noticed there were not many paralegal firms in the city offering the services that we do. I saw a need with how many people were representing themselves.”

Aside from representing parties at landlord-tenant boards and assisting people with their traffic tickets, De Palma said the firm mainly deals with civil cases in small claim courts. She also said the firm assists individuals with their entry waiver applications to the U.S., assisting with record suspensions of criminal records and the mediation of divorce, neighbourly disputes, or employment issues.

De Palma said opening her firm at a new location in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic was difficult. Like the rest of the legal world, adapting to the shift to an online format, with virtual courthouses and trials, brought on its own set of challenges.

“We were not a profession that was technologically savvy at all. There was no Zoom court prior to the pandemic,” said De Palma.

But even with the challenges, De Palma said that working for her clients is what motivates her.

“When we get to an end of the case and the result is positive for our client, the relief that we see on their faces … that’s what gets me up and going every morning,” said De Palma.