Candidate bio description
I have been the Regional Bencher for Central South since 2015. I practice in the fields Civil Litigation, Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice. I am a past President of the Hamilton Law Association; a former Director of the Advocates Society; a recipient of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association Distinguished Service Award; a Small Claims Court Deputy Judge and an Adjunct Professor of Law at Western where I teach Insurance Law. As a Bencher I have chaired the Advertising and Fee Arrangements Working Group, been a member of the Audit and Finance Committee; the Real Estate Committee; the Professional Development and Competence Committee; the Equity and Indigenous Affairs Committee; the Compliance and Entity Based Regulation Working Group; and also I am a Member of the Board of Directors of LawPro.
What inspired you to run for bencher this year?
It has been a tremendous honour to represent Central South as the Regional Bencher at the Law Society over the last four years. In that time I have met and worked with some remarkable people and been involved in some challenging, thought-provoking and inspiring debates, discussions and projects all focused on making our profession better. I wish to continue in this work and consequently ask for your support and most importantly your vote.
What do you believe is the biggest issue facing the legal profession?
Long term the biggest issue the profession faces is the disruptive power of technology to displace lawyers as trusted intermediaries in transactions and in the resolution of disputes. The pressure to address these issues is not immediate but urgent. If not addressed, a crisis will approach us faster than we think. It requires careful attention now so that the profession is not overwhelmed by technological change; but rather can adapt and utilize it effectively for the benefit of our clients and the public in general.
What would be your first priority upon election?
My priority as a Bencher is to advance the Law Society's core mandate: to advance the rule of law, promote access to justice, uphold standards of competence and regulate the profession in the public interest.
What do you hope to achieve over the next four years as a member of Convocation?
By the end of the forthcoming term, I would hope to have seen significant enhancement of support and funding from the Law Society to local and county law associations and libraries. These are crucial support mechanisms for sole and small firm practitioners all over Ontario. They are a concrete means through the Law Society can do something positive for its members, rather than just to its members.
What's the most pressing concern for the profession in your region of the province?
In smaller cities and towns the bar is having trouble replenishing itself. The cost of legal education, the debt load young lawyers have, the ever increasing cost of legal practice in an increasingly complex legal environment makes it harder and harder to have a viable small practice and earn a living. As lawyers in smaller centres and smaller firms age and approach retirement, they are not being replenished at a rate necessary to meet the legal needs of their communities. This is creating access to justice issues in smaller towns and cities all over Ontario.
Do you support the requirement to create and abide by a statement of principles?
As a Bencher I voted to implement the Statement of Principles. It serves a positive, iterative function – self-reflection on how we interact and treat others. We as lawyers have a duty to abide by the Rules of Professional Conduct and the Human Rights Code, to not discriminate and to protect the rights of our fellow citizens to be free from discrimination. We also have a duty to protect the freedoms of our fellow citizens to think, opine, believe and express themselves as they see fit. The requirement to have a Statement of Principles while not requiring any member of the Law Society to subject the content of their own personal Statement of Principles to review strikes the right balance between these competing ideals and obligations.