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#BencherElection2019

Editorial Obiter

By now, if you’re a regular reader of Law Times, you may have heard about the upcoming election for Law Society of Ontario benchers to take place on April 30.

The number of candidates running — now 145 people, after Bencher Jack Braithwaite was elected as the only candidate nominated in the northeast electoral region — is the highest it’s been since 1995.

Law Times has launched a website focused exclusively on election issues, at bencherelection.ca, that features nearly 40 self-authored candidate profiles (and growing) of paralegals and lawyers who want to be elected.

We’ve also seen a huge response in the debate that’s been taking place online through the hash tag we created, #BencherElection2019.

In particular, since reporter Anita Balakrishnan reported on a slate of candidates that are all running on a joint platform of repealing the statement of principles, there has been a vociferous discussion about how voters see the future of their profession and who they want representing them. In our coverage, we have intentionally committed to covering a wide variety of issues, including a look this week at what some candidates would like to see scrutinized when it comes to annual fees they pay to the Law Society of Ontario.

“If you look at the budget, the starting proposition is ‘This is what we want, therefore, this is what it is going to cost,” says E. Patrick Shea, a partner at Gowling WLG in Toronto, who is running for bencher.

“Maybe we can’t do it all, though.”

As part of the piece, we’ve included figures about the fee changes over time, so voters and readers can determine their top issues as they select the next members of Convocation.

We’ve also included information about the overall dropping rate of voter turnout in elections. Our goal in having a dedicated site is to share as much information as possible with readers.

Whether it’s online or in print (not all lawyers are on Twitter, as some have very crucially noted), we’re working hard to follow up on issues of importance to our readers and the profession as a whole.


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The Law Society of Ontario is in the midst of a major overhaul of the role of paralegals in family law — and a proposal on the issue could become an imminent issue for the regulator’s newly elected benchers. Do you agree with widening the scope of family law matters that paralegals can address?
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