SOP MOTION PLANNED
A group of licensees say they plan to ask the Law Society of Ontario to alter its Statement of Principles requirement to protect licensees that fail to comply from audits or suspension.
The motion, which would be introduced at the LSO’s annual general meeting on May 8, recommends that the LSO adopt certain guidelines around the Statement of Principles, including: that the Statement of Principles “is intended to promote reflection, and not impose any belief”; that the Statement of Principles requirement refers to “existing legal and professional obligations”; and that the law society cannot audit or suspend a lawyer for failing to have a Statement of Principles.
The law society said it would ask licensees in 2017 annual reports to create a statement that “acknowledges your obligation to promote equality, diversity and inclusion generally, and in your behaviour towards colleagues, employees, clients and the public.”
Toronto lawyer Omar Ha-Redeye signed and drafted the motion, which he says was a personal motion on his own behalf. It says that there is a “significant dispute” around the implementation of the requirement “to the extent that these misunderstandings directly affected the 2019 bencher election.”
He said he met someone opposed to the statement of principles at a bencher election event and had a healthy conversation about the issues.
“That conversation for me affirmed much of what I already suspected — that the Statement of Principles controversy is not so much about what the law society is doing or trying to do, it is more about what this might mean and about what they might do down the road,” he says.
LEAF NAMES NEW DIRECTOR
Megan Stephens will replace Justice Shaun O’Brien as executive director and general counsel at the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, LEAF announced on April 1 on Twitter. Stephens, who begins the role on June 1, was previously seconded as Commission Counsel to The Public Inquiry into the Safety and Security of Residents in the Long-term Care Home System, the announcement said.
WALTERS DEAN OF QUEEN’S LAW
Queen’s University appointed Mark Walters to a five-year term as dean of the faculty of law, the school said in an email. Walters, currently at McGill University, becomes dean on July 1, the school said.
LAW TIMES POLL
All 22 incumbent lawyer benchers that ran for re-election in the last bencher election kept their seats in Convocation, of 40 available spots in 2015, according to statistics from the Law Society of Ontario analyzed by Law Times.
This week’s Law Times poll asked readers if non-incumbents have better chances of being elected in this year’s bencher election, which begins later this month and ends April 30.
Readers were split, with 55 per cent of respondents saying yes, non-incumbents have a better chance of being voted as benchers in this election.
About 45 per cent of respondents said it is an uphill battle for non-incumbent candidates, and the non-incumbents do not have a better chance of being voted as bencher.