Candidate bio description
I graduated from Western Law School in 1985 and have practiced Civil Litigation since being called to the bar at Siskinds LLP in London. I represent both Plaintiffs and Defendants in injury and insurance-related disputes. The LSO has recognized me as a Specialist in Civil Litigation. I have been a councillor for the OBA, a director and past president of the Middlesex Law Association, a member of The Advocates’ Society who has been asked to participate in Ad Hoc Committee work most recently as part of a province-wide group who informed The Advocates Society’s position on Mandatory Retainer Agreements. I have been part of the Siskinds LLP management team for 13 years ending in 2012. With my wife of 30+ years, I have enjoyed the roller coaster ride of raising four young people. For more information please visit www.maysbencher2019.com.
What inspired you to run for bencher this year?
I believe I am one of the few civil litigators who has extensive experience representing both Plaintiffs and Defendant insurers which makes me particularly well-suited to represent the interests of that constituency. Additionally I have participated in managing a mid-sized law firm, volunteered within the legal community and within the general community as well as co-parented four children. I believe I have developed a skill set to make a meaningful and reasonable contribution to both our profession and the public we serve.
What do you believe is the biggest issue facing the legal profession?
My concern is that the majority of the public no longer see lawyers as standard bearers for the Rule of Law. We have failed to provide reasonable access to justice for many, there is slow LSO response time for public or professional complaints, we are debating the details of statements about inclusion and allowing tawdry and misleading advertising to name a few of the issues which impact the public’s confidence in us as a profession. These issues contribute to a deterioration in the public’s confidence in the Rule of Law.
What would be your first priority upon election?
My first priority will be to gather and create a coalition of similarly motivated benchers to continue to creatively inspire a positive change in the public's perception of both lawyers and understanding of the importance of the Rule of Law.
What do you hope to achieve over the next four years as a member of Convocation?
At the risk of sounding repetitive, I hope to contribute to the start of a process to turn around the public’s perception of lawyers by helping all Ontarians to see us as standard bearers for the Rule of Law and that the Rule of Law is a crucial concept to protect.
What's the most pressing concern for the profession in your region of the province?
Seeking ways to maintain the viability of law practices in small towns and reducing the wait time for trial which are both access to Justice issues.
Do you support the requirement to create and abide by a statement of principles?
I believe in the principles stated. I also believe that it is in our collective best interest to thoughtfully and innovatively seek ways to implement the principles to ensure that the Canadian justice system reflects the varied faces of Canadian society. I believe that the opposition to the SOP is misguided because the language used communicates that the action to address bigotry and prejudice people of colour face daily is less important than the right to free speech. By nature, I resist being told what to think and I did not like the way the LSO handled the SOP. However, I hope that we can all recognize the short sightedness of such a reaction and understand that it is important to stand up and be counted on one side of this divide or the other. Inclusion is crucial for our future stability as a society – that is where I will stand.