Candidate bio description
For more information please visit my site at: www.bencher2019.com Partner to Erin Ross and Dad to Greyson Ross. Immediate Past President of the Ontario Bar Association (OBA). OBA Chair of the Practice Innovation and Technology Committee. Past Chair of the OBA Access to Justice Committee. Past Chair of the OBA Alternative Business Structures Committee. Managing Lawyer – The Ross Firm Professional Corporation. 3 office, 10 lawyer, paperless full service regional firm. 2nd Generation lawyer of two lawyer parents. Regular speaker at OBA, LSO, and Law Schools on topics of professionalism and technology. Ultramarathon Runner. Certified PADI Dive Master.
What inspired you to run for bencher this year?
I want to help the LSO and the profession address the challenges posed by rapidly evolving technology and consequent market disruption. These disruptions have manifested in, among other things, articling position shortages and changing client expectations. While certain challenges have been born of technology, I also believe that it will provide important opportunities to address the access to justice crisis. Over 70% of legal needs are going unmet. Not only does this impact the public we serve, but is a missed opportunity for the profession. I am running for bencher because I have the skill, knowledge and passion for the role. I am an experienced corporate governor of other provincial organizations including the Ontario Bar Association, where I served as President in 2017-2018 and in my capacity as governor of the Alzheimer’s Society of Ontario. My work with the OBA has had me in contact with and addressing the issues facing the LSO and its members for a decade. I am familiar with the processes, senior management, staff and benchers who serve the organization.
What do you believe is the biggest issue facing the legal profession?
Access to Justice encapsulates all of the issues facing the legal profession. Access to Justice problems result in a relevance problem for the profession. If we can only be accessed by those with significant means, how can we hold ourselves as stewards of the rule of law. Access to Justice problems are a symptom of the barriers to practice law students face with crushing education costs and difficult pathways to licensing. Access to Justice problems are a reflection on the outmoded practices in our court system. Access to Justice problems are a symptom of a profession that doesn't have the flexibility to structure itself in a manner that would meet and indeed benefit from the currently unmet public demand. If we resolve to address the Access to Justice problem, we will go a long way to solving those related issues.
What would be your first priority upon election?
My first priority upon election would be to listen. While I intend to bring a fresh perspective and act as an agent of change, doing so without the foundation and knowledge of what came before me would be foolish. After I am up to speed, I would work to develop approaches to the delivery of legal services that would address unmet legal need while ensuring the legal professionals doing the work are able to do so in a sustainable way.
What do you hope to achieve over the next four years as a member of Convocation?
I would hope to leave the LSO and the profession better, stronger and more vibrant than I found it. I would hope to ensure self-regulation is the only choice for the legal profession in the eyes of government and the public we serve. I would hope to move the dial on the growing crisis that is Access to Justice through innovation and creativity. We cannot continue to do what we've done and expect a different result.
What's the most pressing concern for the profession in your region of the province?
As with the rest of the province, court delays in litigation and the increasing inability of the public to consume legal services is a significant concern. In the more rural portions of our region, the graying of the bar and consequent access to justice barriers need to be addressed. In these areas it isn't' a matter of economics, but the basic ability to find a legal professional able to assist.
Do you support the requirement to create and abide by a statement of principles?
I consider this to be an exercise in intention. I believe the vast majority of legal professionals support the need to ensure equality, diversity and inclusion in the profession. I see the statement as an annual review of what we have done and what more we could do to meet that goal. I do not think it will change the minds of those who resist equality or deny the problem in first instance, but hope it will cue those who do to think about it.