Passionate about being a Lawyer? Want to Improve the Legal Profession in Ontario? Consider Running to be a Bencher!
It’s easy for lawyers to sit back and complain about the lack of progress in our profession, whether it be with advances in technology; access to justice; equality, diversity and inclusion, etc. However, now is your chance to get involved and (hopefully) make a difference: the next Law Society of Ontario (LSO) bencher election is taking place during the last two weeks of April 2019 and the nominations are now open!
What is a Bencher?
Yes, the name is confusing, but basically a bencher is a member of the board of directors at the LSO. That “board of directors” is called Convocation. The “president” is called the Treasurer. (The LSO is considering changing the terminology.)
Benchers play a critical role in the governance of the LSO and the regulation of lawyers and paralegals in Ontario. For example, they are holding a special convocation on December 10 to address the future of the lawyer licensing process in Ontario.
There are 20 elected lawyer benchers from Toronto and 20 from outside of Toronto. There are also paralegal benchers, appointed benchers, and ex-officio benchers, however Convocation just approved changes to limit the rights of honorary benchers to contribute to debates. (Fun Fact: His Royal Highness Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales is an Honorary Bencher)
Why Should You Run?
We need a more diverse group of benchers who reflect the legal professionals in Ontario and the clients we serve. New lawyers? Racialized lawyers? Solicitors? Solo/Small firm lawyers? Women? We need you all.
How Do You Apply?
Go to the LSO’s webpage for the Bencher Election 2019. Download the Lawyer Nomination Form, fill it out (including the names and signatures of at least five lawyers that will nominate you) and submit it by 5:00pm on February 8, 2019.
Are You Running for Bencher?
Let us know!
Photo by Parker Johnson on Unsplash