Jeremy Devereux is a commercial litigator in the Toronto office of Norton Rose Fulbright Canada, with a focus on securities and financial services. Jeremy has practiced at two national firms (McCarthy Tetrault and Ogilvy Renault), a global firm (Norton Rose Fulbright, following the merger with Ogilvy Renault) and a business law boutique (Meighen Demers). He has held several management positions at the firms where he practiced, including serving as Chair of the Toronto Litigation Group during the merger between Ogilvy Renault and Norton Rose and between Norton Rose and Macleod Dixon. Jeremy is currently a member of the OBA Civil Litigation Executive.
I have practiced law for 25 years and have been fortunate to have had a very fulfilling career and fantastic mentors and colleagues. I would like to give back to the profession and I believe that I have the experience now to be able to do that as a bencher
What do you believe is the biggest issue facing the legal profession?
I think the biggest issue facing the legal profession is change. While the profession has always evolved, the pace of change in the last few decades has been unprecedented, and the pace of change is accelerating rapidly. Technology has radically changed the practice already. The introduction of new technologies such as artificial intelligence will bring far more radical changes. The market for legal services has become much more competitive. This has resulted in new billing models and that are replacing hourly fees in many cases, as well as outsourcing and other alternatives. The settings in which we practice are changing with the growth of regional, national and international firms, and the creation of novel lower-cost practices. These changes will cause tremendous disruption to lawyers throughout the profession, but they also present opportunities for lawyers who are prepared for them.
What would be your first priority upon election?
My first priority upon election would be to get to know my fellow benchers and to learn about their concerns and ideas, and to share my concerns and ideas with them. It would be particularly valuable for me to learn of the concerns and ideas of benchers who practice in different settings, including benchers from outside of Toronto.
What do you hope to achieve over the next four years as a member of Convocation?
Over the next four years, I would like to help our Law Society to take the following concrete steps (through subcommittees or otherwise) to ensure that the profession as a whole, and individual lawyers, are prepared for the disruptive changes to the practice:
- identify trends and potential changes, whether in technology or otherwise, that affect the profession;
- ensure that lawyers are informed on a timely and regular basis of these trends and potential changes, and have the opportunity to raise issues or concerns with the Law Society;
- determine whether potential changes require active regulation, either to facilitate the change (as in the case of disaggregated legal service) or to ensure that issues raised by the change are addressed (in the Rules of Professional Conduct or otherwise);
- ensure that lawyers (and students) are provided with the education and training they require to be prepared for, and benefit from, changes.
After four years I want people to say that our Law Society helped them to recognize, prepare for, and benefit from these disruptive changes.
What's the most pressing concern for the profession in your region of the province?
I think change and the pace of change is the most important issue in the Toronto region, but I believe that that issue is one that affects all lawyers in the province, wherever they practice. However, some changes may affect lawyers in some regions more than others. For example, the disaggregation of legal services, the use of outsourcing and the mobility offered by technology may see some legal work that has traditionally been done in Toronto move to lawyers and firms outside of Toronto that can do the work more competitively due to their lower costs.
Do you support the requirement to create and abide by a statement of principles?
I support the statement of principles. I see the goal as being simply to require every member of the legal profession to take some time to turn their mind to these important issues.