Candidate bio description
I practice civil litigation in Toronto in a 2-lawyer firm. I am a member of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association and the Toronto Lawyers Association. I was called to the Bar in 1983. LL.B. Windsor 1981 M.Sc. (Econ.) London School of Economics, 1978 B.A. University of Toronto 1977.
What inspired you to run for bencher this year?
I was born and raised in communist Czechoslovakia. My parents and my brothers left in 1969, leaving behind family, friends and employment because my father, a government functionary, was unwilling to publicly declare his support for the 1968 occupation by “the fraternal forces” of the Warsaw Pact and for the new regime and its “principles”. The Law Society’s requirement of a Statement of Principles is abhorrent to me. . To be clear, I am not opposed to diversity itself, but rather to the imposition of personal or political principles by our professional regulating body on all of its members. Some other members who also support diversity may not readily view the imposition of similar beliefs on all members as an erosion of their rights. My personal background makes me uniquely aware of the fundamental difference between encouraging laudable principles, and imposing them My parents left behind all they had to oppose the government’s imposition of required beliefs on them and I will not betray their sacrifice by complying with the Law Society’s diktat.
What do you believe is the biggest issue facing the legal profession?
The Law Society’s Equality,Diversity and Inclusion initiative, which produced the Statement of Principles requirement, is a symptom of the mission creep and the Law Society’s loss of focus on its core mission, licensing and discipline.
What would be your first priority upon election?
Revoking the requirement for mandated Statement of Principles.
What do you hope to achieve over the next four years as a member of Convocation?
The mission creep results in an ever-expanding bureaucracy, where the Law Society’s 2019 budget calls for 619 full-time employees, with an average annual remuneration, including benefits, of $113,758 per employee and total expenditures of $142,535,700. For historical perspective, the Law Society’s total expenditures for 2006, (the earliest budget figures available online) were $66,486,000. The 2019 budget represents an increase, even after adjusting for inflation, of nearly 100% in just 13 years. This is also equivalent to the annual budget of Oshawa, a city of 160,000 residents. It compares rather unfavourably to the budget the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario (with 80,000 members and licensees), who seem to be able to self-regulate at less than $25 million a year. The Law Society must re-focus on its core responsibilities of licensing and discipline and on advocating on behalf of its members. The Law Society must carefully manage the funds it receives from its members and should not embark on new initiatives without directly consulting its members.
What's the most pressing concern for the profession in your region of the province?
Access to justice. Ever increasing LSO fees and government court fees are contributing to the high cost of legal representation.
Do you support the requirement to create and abide by a statement of principles?
NO - see above.