What I Bring to the Table:
I am submitting my candidacy for a third term as a Bencher in the hopes of contributing to improving conditions for those receiving, and for those delivering, legal services. There is much work to be done. I am committed to continuing my role as an agent of change at the Law Society. Access to justice, diversity and service to the profession are all priorities that inform my work as a Bencher and inspire my private practice.
Historically, I have led initiatives to strengthen our commitment to Aboriginal justice and to supporting the racialized bar. I have pushed for proactive steps to hear from and respect our equity partners. I believe we risk losing what gains we have made through a troubling combination of (1) ongoing resistance to change in a significant number of my Bencher colleagues, and (2) complacency in others who may wrongly believe the work is done. It is not done, and I fear that this reality is not understood.
My private practice is growing across Northern Ontario while we continue to maintain our presence in the south. My journeys are teaching me that the Law Society continues to be criticized as a Toronto-centric body lacking the capacity to address the needs of a diverse bar (lawyers and paralegals) across the province. Regrettably, I believe these criticisms are justified.
Much remains to be done. My strength is that I am a relentless advocate for change. That is also probably my weakness, as I continue to find the politics at the Law Society cumbersome and insular. I am very clear on my desire to enhance our transparency. I am equally clear on my desire to break down the tiresome walls of self-justification that make Benchers resistant to seriously contemplating reform.
I am ever hopeful that those of my colleagues who are committed to real and meaningful accountability and change will continue to partner with me to get the work done. In the meantime, I will continue to “call it the way I see it” and I will insist on progress. The work is too important to settle for less.