Candidate bio description
I have been in Kenora since my graduation from Robson Hall (Manitoba) in 2005. As Past Chair of the Federation of Ontario Law Associations (formerly CDLPA), I was involved extensively with the LSO and other stakeholders in issues facing the profession, including library system challenges, responses to Alternative Business Structures, paralegal regulation, and Legal Aid funding. I practice in a six lawyer firm and appreciate the challenges facing rural solo and small firm practitioners. I am a Deputy Judge of the Small Claims Court, board member of LibraryCo and an appointee to the Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee. I am hardworking and dedicated. I am 39 years old and live off-grid at a fishing camp with my husband and dog.
What inspired you to run for bencher this year?
The profession and the practice of law are facing significant challenges, and as someone anticipating working for at least 20 more years, I wanted to be a voice to debate and respond to these challenges. Personally and professionally I am in a position to commit to the substantial time and effort being a bencher requires, and as a “front-line” practicing lawyer, I understand and can speak to the practical realities of providing legal services to clients and how expectations are evolving.
What do you believe is the biggest issue facing the legal profession?
Without a doubt, its access to justice. The LSO is required to promote A2J, yet our system remains inaccessible to the vast majority of Ontarians. And access to justice permeates all the challenges the LSO is facing, including articling/LPP, paralegal regulation, pro bono, library funding, supports for soles and smalls; the list is almost endless. We need to be proactive, not reactive to take meaningful steps to address this issue.
What would be your first priority upon election?
Other than doing some serious learning to get up to speed? The LSO needs to be a leader in emerging and transformative technologies. This coupled with serious consideration of how we regulate the practice of law, and working to eliminate the excessive, burdensome parts, are top priorities for me.
What do you hope to achieve over the next four years as a member of Convocation?
I would like to work on initiatives to improve the delivery of legal services, and make the profession more transparent, accessible and inclusive. I want to help foster ideas and governance that will bring us into the future, because change is happening, whether we like it or not.
What's the most pressing concern for the profession in your region of the province?
Like most areas, sustainability of the practice of law is a primary concern. Finding, training and retaining new lawyers to complete the myriad of services for our communities, particularly solicitors work, is a significant challenge in the north. We need strategic plans to ensure the viability of providing legal services to ordinary Ontarians. In my view, this falls within the LSO mandate as the public interest is best served with a strong, competent and healthy bar.
Do you support the requirement to create and abide by a statement of principles?
This requirement was debated and passed in Convocation and I support Convocations decision on this issue. The SOP, as well as the other equity initiatives, were part of extensive studies and inputs from racialized licencees. I must, and do, respect those voices and their experiences. I believe we can do more to make the profession more inclusive, and tackle the barriers that exist both to get in, and remain in, the profession.