The Good Governance Coalition running in this year’s Bencher election said the Law Society of Ontario’s responsibilities are too important to risk electing members of a slate that belatedly entered the race today.
The Coalition, a representative group of experienced lawyers and paralegals from all corners of Ontario, was formed to prevent the vote-splitting that almost allowed the slate to take over the LSO in the last election.
“The Law Society’s responsibilities are too important to risk electing slate Benchers,” said Andrew Spurgeon, a Coalition candidate and Hamilton lawyer. “Issues like our ability to self-regulate depend on Benchers who take their fiduciary responsibilities seriously—and focus on the LSO’s mandate without being side-tracked. I’m confident that when lawyers and paralegals compare the diverse experiences and proven leadership of Coalition candidates with the slate, they’ll see which candidates are up to the job of being a Bencher.”
He also said it’s important that Convocation reflect the legal and paralegal professions. Coalition candidates are diverse. They are sole practitioners and work in firms of all sizes. Some are professors, lead NGOs, or are in-house counsel. Still more work in legal clinics or for the Ministry of the Attorney General. And most, like the majority of lawyers under 44, are women; in total, 47% of lawyers are women. But among the slate, only 20% are.
“The body that regulates every lawyer and paralegal should reflect our professions—how we practice, where we live, and who we are,” said Michelle Lomazzo, a Coalition candidate and paralegal from Windsor. “The Law Society’s responsibilities affect all lawyers and all paralegals. It simply shouldn’t be controlled by people who plainly have no interest or ability to reflect our professions. And by voting for the Coalition, we can stop the vote-splitting on which the slate depends and elect representative, experienced Benchers.”
Of the Coalition’s 45 candidates, including a full contingent of paralegals, 29 are women. It also counts candidates from Timmins to Windsor, and from Kenora to Cornwall.