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Jonathan Rosenthal

City of Toronto Electoral Region
Jonathan Rosenthal

Candidate bio description

I was called to the bar in 1989 and since that time I have always been in private practice as a criminal defence lawyer. I have been a sole practitioner for almost the 30 years. I have appeared at every level of Court in Ontario and the Supreme Court of Canada. I am a Professor Adjunct at Osgoode Hall Law School where I am co-director of both the Trial Advocacy and Criminal Intensive programs. I am the 2019 McMurtry Visiting Clinical Fellow. I have taught trial advocacy to lawyers and law students for the past 20 years in Canada and the United States. I am a former Vice-President of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association and a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. I have served as a Law Society bencher since 2015. As a bencher I was a member of the following committees: Professional Development and Competence, Professional Regulation (Vice-Chair 2016-2018), Access to Justice, Government Relations, Proceedings Authorization, Litigation (Chair 2018-present) and Paralegal Standing. I was a member of the following working groups, Coach Advisory Network, Advertising and Fees Working Group and the Bill C-75 Working Group. I am also a trustee of the Law Society Foundation and a strong supporter of the Lawyers Feed the Hungry Program.

What inspired you to run for bencher this year?

I decided to seek re-election in order to continue with many of the initiatives I was part of during my four years as bencher. I am proud to have contributed to many of the new advertising rules governing lawyers and paralegals in Ontario. We now must concentrate our efforts into ensuring education and enforcement of these rules. I also helped initiate the Coach and Advisory Network where participants can obtain all their CPD through participation in this program. I would like to see other opportunities for lawyers to obtain full CPD hours outside of attending education programs. Our profession is facing many new and continuing challenges. I am confident that my experiences as a litigator, teacher, sole practitioner and bencher give me the perspective and connection to all members of the bar, from recent calls to multi-decade practitioners to continue to serve you as a bencher.

What do you believe is the biggest issue facing the legal profession?

Access to justice is definitely at the top of the list. Access to justice IS within the mandate of the Law Society and part of the Law Society Act. Sadly however, I strongly suspect we will see more cuts to the justice system in the very near future. There are already too many citizens who cannot afford a lawyer. The LSO needs to continue taking a leadership role in solving this problem by continuing to engage governments for better legal aid funding as well as working with the courts to develop procedures which specifically address the needs of self-represented litigants. The Law Society has worked hard to improve access to justice. I hope to continue this important work. The expansion of paralegal scope is NOT the solution to our access to justice challenges.

What would be your first priority upon election?

To craft a strong plan so that the justice system is not adversely affected by cutbacks. The Law Society must take the lead in addressing these issues.

What do you hope to achieve over the next four years as a member of Convocation?

In addition to improving access to justice, the Law Society needs to work further and harder to address the diversity issues we continue to face. We do not need more studies to tell us what we already know about the challenges faced by women and racialized lawyers in our profession. We must take bold steps to address these issues including ensuring diversity Convocation. We also must continue to support our young lawyers as they are the leaders of tomorrow.

What's the most pressing concern for the profession in your region of the province?

All of the above.

Do you support the requirement to create and abide by a statement of principles?

I strongly support the statement of principles and voted in support of the statement of principles during my time as LSO bencher. The statement of principles is a very small step in the right direction towards recognizing racial and gender inequity in our profession. In my opinion, the lawyers and paralegals who oppose this initiative do not understand our profession or our public responsibilities.

Poll Question

What do you see as the top issue that prospective benchers need to address if they are elected?