a. Ensure the implementation of the “Strategies to Address Issues of Systemic Racism in the Legal Professions”. This includes defending the Statement of Principles Requirement in Court.
b. Advocate for Additional Research and Reform on Key Areas:
i. The on-campus recruitment process
1. Create a taskforce to amend the "Toronto Summer Student Recruitment Procedures" and “Articling Recruitment Procedures" (both inside and outside Toronto) to ensure best practices are implemented in the student recruitment process. The taskforce will consider initiatives such as the name blind resume review, mandatory unconscious bias training for interviewing lawyers, and develop standards and best practices regarding interview set-up and social events.
ii. Revisit LSO parental leave guidelines under PLAP (Parental Leave Assistance Program)
1. Develop a task force to consider PLAP reforms. For example, concerns have been expressed regarding the prohibition on remunerative work/practice of law during PLAP payment and the impact that has on those taking a leave and their successful return to practice.
iii. Modernization of previous initiatives
1. Develop a task force to consider the Justicia Project materials and ensure modernization and up to date reporting. The Justicia Project provided insightful snapshots of the profession on the advancement of women in private practice. The project was launched in 2014 and the statistics are also from that era. Continuous updating and periodic follow-up snapshots are required to maintain the relevance of the project.
a. Support ‘Pro Bono Ontario – Law Help Centre’ by putting pressure on the provincial government and if necessary, with a funding backstop (achieved without a universal levy)
i. Access to Justice is the legal profession’s biggest challenge. The Law Society is a key stakeholder in trying to address access to justice. The Law Society must take on a greater advocacy role and push back on governments who roll-back much needed funding of critical services like Pro Bono Ontario –Law Help Centre. The Law Society must step in if necessary, but in a way that does not add additional burdens on our members who can bear it the least. If any levy in support of Pro Bono Ontario is applied, I will advocate for an opt-out system or an exemption for those under 10 years of call or in certain practice settings.
b. Ensure transparency with respect to law school tuition to monitor and ensure tuition is not an inequitable barrier to legal education and membership in the legal profession
i. Greater information is required so that we can have a meaningful conversation about access to a legal education. I would advocate for disclosure from law schools seeking accessibility and/or that are accredited by the LSO to provide an annual report disclosing revenues received from tuition, amount of financial aid provided to students, the percentage of students receiving financial aid, the average and median amount of aid received, etc.
1. Note that the LSO is “entitled to interpret the public interest in the administration of justice as being furthered by promoting diversity in the legal profession — or, more accurately, by avoiding the imposition of additional impediments to diversity in the profession in the form of inequitable barriers to entry. A bar that reflects the diversity of the public it serves undeniably promotes the administration of justice and the public’s confidence in the same. A diverse bar is more responsive to the needs of the public it serves. A diverse bar is a more competent bar.” –SCC in Trinity Western
c. Advocate to remove barriers for unbundled legal services: The LSO should take concrete steps to support lawyers who are interested in providing limited scope services, including by creating best practices and providing training programs. The LSO should facilitate ongoing discussions with the insurer and judiciary to cultivate support for and recognition of these retainers.
I support governance reform at Convocation that favours renewal and diverse perspectives including, reducing term limits from 12 years to 8 years to ensure renewal and fresh perspectives at Convocation and advocating for the creation of an under 10 years of call bencher role.