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Malcolm Mercer

City of Toronto Electoral Region
Malcolm Mercer

Candidate bio description

I am the Treasurer of the Law Society and was elected as a Bencher in 2011 and 2015.  I am the former chair of the Professional Regulation Committee and Advertising and Fee Arrangements Working Group and former Co-Chair of ABS Working Group. I have been a member of numerous Law Society committees, task forces and working groups

I was active in the CBA. I served on the CBA Conflicts of Interest Task Force, was Chair of CBA Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee and was team lead for regulatory and ethics team for CBA Futures Initiative. I helped develop the new Joint Policy Statement for Audit Inquiry and Response as a member of the joint CBA/AASB committee.

I am an adjunct professor in Legal Ethics at Osgoode Hall Law School, a Legal Ethics columnist for, a member of the Canadian Association for Legal Ethics and co-chair of the annual CBA/FLSC Legal Ethics Forum.

I am a partner, former General Counsel and former National Litigation Practice Leader of McCarthy Tếtrault LLP

I was recognized with the CBA Louis St Laurent Award and as one of the 25 Most Influential Lawyers in 2014.

What inspired you to run for bencher this year?

I was elected as Treasurer of the Law Society of Ontario in June 2018. To continue as Treasurer for a second year, I must be reelected as a bencher.

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

The fact that there are significant legal needs in society that are not effectively addressed while at the same time there are so many lawyers is a terrible paradox. If lawyers do not innovate to better address legal needs, if new ways of proving legal services that lawyers cannot effectively provide are not permitted and if our legal system is not reformed, then we will not have done what we should have done – and change will be forced upon the profession. 

What would be your first priority upon election?

As Treasurer, I will be responsible for working with the newly elected bench to develop a strategic plan to guide Convocation over the next four years. While my term will end in June 2020, the effect of the work that I will do until then will continue.

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

If reelected as Treasurer, my term will only be for one more year. I hope to help set the stage for others to lead the work of the Law Society.

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

I think that the most pressing concern for many lawyers, especially younger lawyers, is finding challenging and remunerative work. The Law Society should encourage and facilitate innovation in the profession so that more work is available and so that more people are served.

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

I support the Statement of Principles. While history generally shows that our society and our profession ultimately embrace minorities, progress has always been too slow whether one looks at the challenges faced by non-English speaking Europeans, Catholics and Jews in prior generations and the challenges still faced by women and by LGBTQ and racialized peoples in varying ways and degrees. And there are particular challenges now facing Indigenous and black lawyers.

The Statement of Principles allows an annual opportunity for reflection and, for those who choose to do so, an opportunity for voluntary commitment. No belief or expression is compelled although acknowledgement of existing legal obligations is required.

Poll Question

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