The Law Society of Ontario is one of the last self-regulating professional bodies.
It is a public trust.
Self-regulation ensures the separation of the legal profession from the state.
The legal profession in Ontario was entrusted with self-regulation so long as it does so in the public interest.
The LSO has abandoned its public interest mandate, directly threatening the trust placed in our profession by the public, and threatening the existence of an independent legal profession.
As Bencher, I support returning the Law Society to its mandate of regulating the profession in the public interest.
THE PUBLIC INTEREST
The public interest is served by access to justice, and a strong, competent, diverse, and independent legal profession.
– The public interest is not served by politicizing the profession.
– The public interest is not served by increasing the regulatory and financial burden of practicing law in Ontario.
– The public interest is not served by operating a $150M/year budget for the Law Society while continuing to run up $7M/year deficits.
– The public interest is not served by erecting artificial barriers to the practice of law including burdensome articling regulations, ever increasing annual filing requirements, mandatory diversity statements and training, mandatory demographic reporting, and continued expansion of the reach of the regulator into other areas including Law Schools.
The public interest is best served by an efficient, focused, and responsive regulator. Refocusing convocation on regulating the profession in the public interest and returning the Law Society to its core mandate will ensure access to justice, and a strong, robust, diverse, and independent profession.
AS BENCHER I WILL:
1) Restore the independence of the legal profession
2) Return fiscal responsibility to the Law Society (no more deficits)
3) Reduce annual fees (by scaling back mission creep at the LSO)
4) Reduce the regulatory burden on the profession
5) Depoliticize the Law Society
6) Restore ideological diversity to Law Society governance by, inter alia,revoking the compelled Statement of Principles.