Candidate bio description
Born in Hamilton, Ontario I was called to the Bar in 1976. I joined Miller Canfield in 2017 as Senior Counsel, providing specialized counsel pertaining to real estate, mortgage remedies, commercial and business law, financial institution securities, civil litigation, real estate and real property transactions, construction lien matters, banking and bills of exchange, franchising, patent and trademarks, time share and time share interval conveyancing. I am one of 26 lawyers in the Province of Ontario Certified as a Specialist in Real Estate by the Law Society of Ontario. I also lecture frequently on behalf of the Law Society of Ontario and Canadian Bar Association in the Real Estate/Mortgage Remedy/Secured Transaction areas. I was elected as a Law Society of Ontario Bencher (outside Toronto) in 2015. In 2016 I had the honour to receive the Ontario Bar Association Award for Distinguished Service and the OBA Award for Excellence in Real Estate in 2017.
What inspired you to run for bencher this year?
I want to continue to represent Solicitors in Convocation. I am the only lawyer in Convocation who has an active practice in both residential AND commercial transactional real estate matters. I am also the only member of Convocation from outside of the GTA with this background. Since over 90% of the current elected Benchers don't practice in this area, one of my roles has been to mentor and educate Benchers on what happens in this area of practice so that educated, informed decisions are made.
What do you believe is the biggest issue facing the legal profession?
1.More aggressive consultation with the profession before changes are implemented;
2. Having Convocation deal with “real" issues facing practitioners; and
3. Creating a more positive perception of lawyers; I will focus on the unique challenges facing Solicitors today. The LSO must do a better job in surveying and consulting the Profession before taking action, e.g. changing our Society’s name and the inclusion of mandatory statements /requirements in annual reports. Throughout my career, I have mentored countless Articling Students and associates. I have also taught at the CBA, LSO, OBA and Windsor Law. The proposed changes to the Articling program, demand a mentorship program beyond articling so that high practice standards will be maintained. I pledge to focus on ensuring that we implement a program to assist new lawyers and benefit the profession and the public. The negative public perception of our profession (mainly due to lawyers who have misbehaved) must be addressed. I have, and will continue to advocate, for a more public, transparent discipline process so as to ensure that all complaints and issues are fair to all parties, including lawyers.
What would be your first priority upon election?
Deal with issues that face the Profession so that the practicing bar is educated, prepared to be better able to serve the public.
What do you hope to achieve over the next four years as a member of Convocation?
As noted above, I am the only member of Convocation from outside of the GTA with this background. Since over 90% of the current elected Benchers don't practice in this area, One of my roles has been to mentor and educate Benchers on what happens in this area of practice so that educated, informed decisions are made. I want to provide a voice in Convocation relating to the practice of law outside of the GTA.
What's the most pressing concern for the profession in your region of the province?
1.More aggressive consultation with the profession before changes are implemented.
Do you support the requirement to create and abide by a statement of principles?
Checking boxes doesn't make you a better lawyer. I would revisit the SOP as presently set out so as to allow those lawyers who have issues with it to have input or comments that allow everyone to participate both ethically and with a clear conscience (as we are obligated to do). Our first obligation is to provide the public with the best, ethical, honest and educated representation they are entitled to under the law.