Candidate bio description
B.Sc. and LLB. (Toronto) LLM. (Osgoode) called to bar 1979; Law Society Medal, OBA Award for Excellence (Real Estate), Distinguished Service Award (OBA), Certified Specialist Real Estate; Qualified Real Estate Expert before the Ontario Courts. Counsel Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP Commercial Real Estate, Mortgages, Mortgage Enforcement, Easements, Standards of Practice. Founding Chair Six Minute Real Estate Lawyer since 1998; Adjunct Professor Toronto Faculty of Law. Former Adjunct Professor Queens and Osgoode Law Schools, Co-Chair LLM Real Estate (Osgoode); Past Chair OBA and CBA Real Property Sections and Education Committee OBA; Former Member of Counsel OBA. Co-Author Agreements of Purchase and Sale, Falconbridge on Mortgages and Real Estate Transactions; Chaired Programs on Mortgages, Mortgage Remedies, Ground Leases, Title Insurance, Waterfront Law, Title Searching, Easements, Residential Real Estate, Options; Contributed over 100 papers on various real estate and commercial topics. Currently writing a Treatise on Easement Law in Canada.
What inspired you to run for bencher this year?
It is important that solicitors have a voice at Convocation. We have traditionally been underrepresented. The challenges facing solicitors are unique. I have spent 40 years studying, teaching and practising and for solicitors to be properly represented, we need an experienced voice at the table who can educate, listen and use common sense to solve the myriad challenges facing lawyers and in particular solicitors.
What do you believe is the biggest issue facing the legal profession?
Access to justice means more than an accessible and timely adjudication process. It means having available to the public, solicitors who are competent, timely, trustworthy and are fairly compensated for the enormous investments in time necessary to build a practise. The demands and costs of technology pose a significant challenge. In my opinion, undue competition from within and without poses the greatest threat to our profession. It is time to study whether the public is ill served by too many lawyers entering the profession. The Law Society is struggling to ensure new entrants are properly trained and regulated and the downward pressure on incomes is in no one’s interest, neither the public’s nor lawyers.
What would be your first priority upon election?
I have been involved in legal education my entire career. The articling and bar admissions process have been studied and tinkered with but continues to be broken. We need to think outside the box and frankly this must be done with a view to at least looking at restricting numbers in the profession. I also want to set up a process so lawyers have more input into the decisions made at convocation that affect their practises.
What do you hope to achieve over the next four years as a member of Convocation?
My hope is to fix the articling and bar admissions process and bring it into the 21st century. I also hope to ensure the Law Society focuses its regulatory authority on matters affecting competency and the relationship between the bar and the public in order that the Law Society regulates lawyers in a respectful manner with the goal of protecting the public through a healthy and reasonably compensated bar.
What's the most pressing concern for the profession in your region of the province?
Do you support the requirement to create and abide by a statement of principles?
I believe strongly in equality and diversity in the profession. I therefore support the fundamental goal behind the statement of principles. There should be no barriers to success in our profession based on gender, race or sexual orientation. I have seen enormous positive changes in our profession since I began practising 40 years ago. I hear the concerns raised by some lawyers about the statement of principles being compelled speech and understand a constitutional court challenge is being pursued. I believe this is a proper approach, to let the courts decide if the current requirement to create a statement of principles is beyond the statutory authority of the Law Society.