Candidate bio description
I am a 2005 Call, McGill Graduate, with an LLM in Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution from Osgoode. I am a commercial Litigator in boutique downtown firm.
I am the most active volunteer with Pro Bono Ontario over the past 10 years, having represented pro bono litigants at the Court of Appeal for Ontario and Supreme Court of Canada. I believe that together we can strengthen the LSO to best reflect the talent and diversity of our profession.
What inspired you to run for bencher this year?
I was inspired by the funding crisis at Pro Bono Ontario and by the potential closure of the Law Help Centres, which serve over 13,000 Ontarians every year. In 2018, we were unable to secure funding from the Provincial government, and it fell to the profession to make up the funding shortfall. The LSO can take the lead on ensuring stable funding for pro bono. I am running to make this a reality, and to ensure pro bono is recognized as a key aspect of our public interest mandate.
What do you believe is the biggest issue facing the legal profession?
Apart from an institutional support of pro bono, I believe that the statement of principles is another key issue that will define how the LSO sees its mandate. I understand the reasons for opposition to the SOP, and the issue deserves a thorough dialogue. But ultimately, access to opportunities within the profession is an important goal for all of us. The SOP will advance the cause of equal access. Finally, the LSO needs to focus on training and mentoring for young lawyers and lawyers working in sole practice. A disproportionate number of disciplinary matters involve these lawyers, leading to unnecessary costs for the LSO, and unnecessary burdens on the lawyers involved. We can approach this issue proactively, so as to support lawyers and reduce regulatory costs.
What would be your first priority upon election?
My first priority would be to consider all of the areas of involvement of the LSO and the costs of these initiatives, and to determine whether we could more efficiently focus on those initiatives of greatest benefit to our members.
What do you hope to achieve over the next four years as a member of Convocation?
I would hope to raise to the forefront the conversation of what we want the LSO to be for the profession. Is the LSO an administrative organization with regulatory oversight, or does it embody values we seek to advance in the profession? This is a conversation we must have and a decision we must make collectively.
What's the most pressing concern for the profession in your region of the province?
In downtown Toronto and the Toronto region, the main issue is the availability of opportunities for articling students and new lawyers, including the availability of mentorship for those young lawyers. In addition, downtown Toronto is where the pro bono centres are located and where demand for pro bono services is highest. The profession needs to ensure these services are maintained and strengthened for the future.
Do you support the requirement to create and abide by a statement of principles?
Yes. I believe the issue deserves a full dialogue between all sides of this debate, and I hope to foster that dialogue as Bencher. Ultimately, the Statement of Principles is about the inclusion and access to opportunity that we want the profession to embody.