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Karen Andrews

City of Toronto Electoral Region
Karen Andrews

Candidate bio description

I became a lawyer the hard way – I worked full-time during my undergraduate degree; I worked half-time through most of law school. I was an equality litigant in the 1980’s- years before I even thought about becoming a lawyer. As a young adult and client, that experience gave me great insight into the legal profession. It made me want to join it which I did in 1995. I think the road that got me here has helped to make me a better lawyer and it has helped me understand the privilege that it is to be able to help others.

What inspired you to run for bencher this year?

My partner encouraged me to run again! And I think Convocation needs more voices of lawyers who represent marginalized, low-income Ontarians. As a lawyer who has made her career in the legal clinic system, I would bring that voice.

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

I think that most people who need a lawyer cannot afford a lawyer. An issue related to this is that access to the profession is becoming increasingly limited, as well. The study of law should not just be the purview of the rich.

What would be your first priority upon election?

I think Convocation must be attentive to the fact that some members may earn $60,000 a year, if they earn at all, while other members earn $6,000,000 a year. The circumstances of the membership varies widely. This needs to be reflected, meaningfully, in the management and operation of the Society.

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

I hope to give voice to those members of our community who are marginalized and hurting. They need to be better served by the legal profession. That has been my mission for almost 25 years in practice.

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

I think that most people who need a lawyer cannot afford a lawyer.

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

Can this seriously be a question? As an Ontarian, I have legal rights and legal responsibilities under the Human Rights Code. As a lawyer, I have obligations pursuant to the Rules of Professional Conduct. The legal profession should lead by example in this area. Of course I support the requirements related to the Statement of Principles.

Poll Question

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