Candidate Bio Description:
I have been a Realtor, (9 years); Truck driver, (18 years); Lawyer (27 years).
I have opened and operated a courier, and driver supply business.
I have been an organizer and member of the Teamster's International Union (Canada & USA) and the Candian Auto Worker's Union.
I have worked in production and management in Ford Motor Company (Windsor and Talbotville) and Chrysler Canada Ltd (Windsor) as a Foreman and General Motors,(Windsor, Oshawa).
As a driver, I organized and operated a trucking company, a courier operation and a driver supply corporation in conjunction with Ryder Truck Rental, Bricklyn Motors, International Carriers (500 power units) and Yellow Freight.
I worked as a service supplier to International Carriers Ltd., Yellow Freight, Namasco Steel, Wells Wayne, (Ontario and Indiana USA), Westinghouse Canada, M. Loeb, Bricklyn CanadaLtd. (USA and St. John’s NB).
I campaigned with |Sheila Copps,(lib), in her campaign to be elected into the Hamilton West Riding formerly occupied by the Hon. John Munroe.
I have been married for 44 years, we have 4 children and 4 grandchildren.
I have 2 degrees BSc, Western,(1983); Law, Windsor, (1990).
I have been a sole practitioner since my call in 1992 at age 48.
My areas of practice as a sole practitioner are Criminal, Civil Litigation; Estates and Class Actions, (Plaintiffs).
I enjoy time with my 4 grandchildren; learning the Spanish language and restoring automobiles (Cadillac 87‑92).
I have been a motorcycle rider since I was 16. (Harley Davidson and Honda).
What inspired you to run for bencher this year?
I am eligible to be a candidate for election as a bencher. The timing is right; I have some good ideas I want to promote; I want to help people get lawyers to help them; I have the time to participate in both my practice, the election campaign and the work of Convocation; I view the provision of legal services for 27 years as an opportunity to serve the profession.
What do you believe is the biggest issue facing the legal profession?
Access to Justice; bringing more clients into affordable contact with more members of the profession.
What would be your first priority upon election?
My first priority would be to meet and know as many of the other Benchers as is possible.
What do you hope to achieve over the next four years a member of convocation?
I have tried to answer this question but four years is a long time over which to predict one’s achievements. I am not a critic of the LSO. From 1992 to where I am today, I have always been treated fairly by my regulator. There is nothing I have seen so far that needs to be quickly changed. The Lawyer Referral Service, the feed the hungry program, CPD, Pro-Bono, diversity in licensees, anything that improves the image of the LSO in the eyes of both lawyers and clients alike are the things that I want to be a part of.
I would like to see a move towards a regime where no lawyer can proceed to the competition between lawyers for clients who can pay without first acquiring the vote of those who need legal services and can not pay. We should somehow elevate the provision of legal services to those who cannot pay to the status of an admission ticket to the competition between lawyers for the fees from those who can pay. If the poorest of those who need legal services were first satisfied before anyone was allowed to go any further, then very quickly the term “poverty law” would disappear from our vocabulary. As it is, the opposite is satisfied, the provision of legal services to those who can pay comes first and the needs of those that can not pay are simply ignored, to be satisfied by those lawyers who are willing to practice poverty law or to government. If we search for ways to do this we will find them. As it is, we allow competition between those who “have” to control the provision of services to those who “have not”. I believe a “Nobody goes without” regime is possible within the competition for legal fees already in place. We do not need to ask anyone to assist us. The solution is already visible. We are simply not seeing it.
What’s the most pressing concerns for the profession in your region of the Province?
Access to Justice, in every Region of the Province. There are too many people who look at the price they are expected to pay and are throwing their hands in the air and simply giving up, Why? because they do not have the money to pay lawyers to represent them. The price of legal services is too high. They are pleading guilty to offences the Crown can not prove and they are consenting to civil judgment because they can not afford a defence, or, as is often the case, they appear in court representing themselves, especially in family law. I believe the solution to this issue is in the hands of the members of our profession, not Legal Aid, not government. It is the lawyers who provide access to the ”system”. This is our domain and we must accept responsibility for the problem and do something to resolve it. It is impossible to work for free but once the tools of practice are acquired, how about working for less? In fewer cases a lot less? In just a few cases, for free? Is that impossible? Don’t know how to do it? Bored with what you do? Willing to take some risk? Spread out, Train yourself. Attend the University of CPD. In many cases, a CPD program provides the names of the few cases that control the issues, pay the fee, get the materials, read them on the train or flight; ask a friend or somebody you don’t know to give you a hand. Judges will pitch in if they see you lack something and are saving them time. Don’t be the Turtle, stick your neck out. If you do then suddenly, the job is interesting again, fun like it was in the beginning, everything new again, then, go back to the old to fund it all. No more of the one thing. Develop a circle of friends you can refer part or all of a client’s problem to. The cycle starts with a personal decision to get involved and you control the involvement. A lot of happy faces, clients eternally grateful. Get on the LRS, end up with a sea of people happy with you, refer everything to you, all good, no bad at all, all free publicity, have a good life. Be a lawyer !!
Do you support the requirement to create and abide by a statement of principles?
No. It is not tied to anything that promotes Access to Justice. More time spent on debate that could be spent brainstorming for new ideas on how to help people.