Law Times

December 10, 2018

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Page 2 December 10, 2018 • Law Times also tabled a proposed bencher code of conduct, which will be discussed at a Dec. 10 Convoca- tion meeting. Over the past de- cade, the law society has moved away from lifetime membership, introducing term limits in 2009. Heather Ross, a lawyer at The Ross Firm PC, will lose her right to speak at Convocation and said in an email statement that she had already decided to retire from the LSO effective June 30, 2019 and she supports the gover- nance reforms. "We can still serve on and vote in committees; however, a series of recent successive trea- surers have eliminated our abil- ity to serve on committees by simply not appointing most of us ex-officio benchers to com- mittees," said Ross in the state- ment. However, Toronto lawyer Bob Aaron, who practises at Aaron & Aaron, said ex-officio benchers have "effectively been shut out of participation in Law Society business." "This and having our ex-of- ficio status taken away . . . is the thanks we get for more than 16 years of diligent service to the profession," said Aaron in an emailed statement. Sole practitioner and life bencher Julian Porter said he is most concerned that a smaller Convocation will affect com- munities in Northern Ontario, "who need representatives to struggle with the problems of a vast area with many difficult problems in daily practice." "A reduction of size will just give Toronto more power, which is a mistake," said Porter in an emailed statement. WeirFoulds LLP counsel and Toronto lawyer Derry Millar, the last life treasurer who helped champion the 2010 governance reforms, told Law Times in an emailed statement that he al- ready opted to stop attending Convocation, instead participat- ing with the law society as vice chairman of LibraryCo and vice chairman of the Law Society Foundation. Emeritus bencher John Cam- pion, a partner at Toronto-based Gardiner Roberts LLP, said in an emailed statement that the new structure of Convocation is a "rational" first step as the pro- fession confronts new challenges brought on by the digitization of legal services. LT they were the right thing to do." Emeritus and life benchers are both past elected LSO bench- ers but have two different sets of privileges created by governance reform passed in 2009 and im- plemented in spring 2010. As it stands now, former trea- surers after 2010 are currently referred to as "emeritus" trea- surers and have had the right to participate in Convocation debates but not the right to vote, according to the report submit- ted to Convocation on Nov. 30. As for former benchers, emeritus benchers are those who served 12 years as of the last gov- ernance reform and have since had no rights at Convocation. The law society has more governance changes left to de- bate, including the number and size of committees, and meeting schedules — but those debates will wait until Convocation can determine "the effect of the ini- tial changes that come into effect in 2019." "This approach will help Convocation assess the changes and assist it in recommend- ing the most appropriate future changes," said Law Society Trea- surer Malcolm Mercer in a state- ment in the Law Society of On- tario Gazette from Nov. 30. Former treasurers from be- fore 2010, such as Krishna, can, as of now, both debate and vote at Convocation. But at Convoca- tion's May 23, 2019 meeting — the first under a new governance structure — that will change and Krishna will only be able to speak at Convocation but not vote. According to the LSO's Gov- ernance Task Force November 2018 report, ex-officio benchers without the "emeritus" title — life benchers that served 16 years or more as of the 2010 reforms, former treasurers and for- mer attorneys general — were "grandparented" into Convoca- tion with the 2010 governance reform, which also imposed 12- year term limits, the report said. Life benchers and attorneys general cannot vote at Convoca- tion but can debate. Those rules are set to change after April 30, 2019. The new 2018 governance reform proposal essentially con- solidates these groups — mean- ing that all former treasurers will not be able to vote at Con- vocation but will be able to par- ticipate in debates, and all other former ex-officio members will not have Convocation rights. In particular, Convocation approved ending the role of "emeritus bencher," axing Con- vocation rights of ex-officio benchers who served 16 years or more in office, barring voting rights for former treasurers and terminating Convocation rights for former attorneys general. But the LSO also struck down some initiatives, such as a pro- posal to shrink bencher term limits to eight years, down from 12 years. The role of emeritus treasurer, too, remains intact after the vote, despite the com- mittee's recommendation to eliminate the office. Benchers like, and we would be prepared to support them in that." Macdonald, who also spoke at a Nov. 5 community meeting, said that negotiations continue with the landlord regarding the 1266 Queen Street West loca- tion, Usher Properties Inc. Usher Properties Inc. said it was unable to comment on indi- vidual tenants for legal and pri- vacy reasons. The clinic, which says it was established in 1971 by Osgoode Hall Law School as one of the seminal locations in Ontario's community legal clinic systems, provides direct client service, legal representation and public legal information to low-income clients in the Parkdale commu- nity, including services in hous- ing, income maintenance and workers rights, says Mallin. The clinic has 23 staff and 20 students, who provide some of the legal services, she adds. The clinic is mainly funded by Legal Aid Ontario, and in her speech, Macdonald said the core funder had yet to agree to enter- ing into a long-term lease in the community. "Our core funder is Legal Aid Ontario," says Macdonald, in an interview with Law Times. "Right now, we are really hope- ful it is able to commit to a long- term leasing that we require as part of our commitment to the community . . . [O]ur relationship with the community is to be re- sponsive to them and to stay root- ed there to defend their rights." Mallin says Legal Aid On- tario funds PCLS for about $2.6 million for the entire pro- gram, and there's an additional $100,000 contribution by Os- goode Hall Law School, which pays for the position of academic director. Mallin says there was a pro- posal for a lease at another space that would have been available in February 2019, but that would not move forward, which has raised concerns for PCLS. "There would be a signifi- cant build out involved in that move, so we knew a move into that location was not likely un- til summer or fall," says Mallin. "So rather than rush into a lease — that was going to need a sig- nificant buildout cost that we would be required to fund in our current situation — we decided to pause and say, 'Let's move for- ward with an interim plan.'" Oriel Varga is an alumnus of the legal clinic who worked there as a law student in 2013. She was called to the bar but is not practising law while she completes her PhD. She says there has been long-standing pressure to consolidate the space used by legal clinics. In 2014, there was a proposal to replace 16 Toronto-area clin- ics with three larger clinics, which faced opposition within the Parkdale community, says Varga. "Community-based lawyer- ing is something different than something that, say, an individ- ual practitioner would do," says Varga. "For example, if you have 100 cases of the same thing happen- ing in the neighbourhood, it doesn't really make sense to do individual cases for each one of these 100 people. It makes more sense that the community comes together and strategizes a collective way to address issues: to organize, to face the issues in a more systematic way, whether through legal means or a joint action in the community," says Varga. The third chapter of the Of- fice of the Auditor General of Ontario 2018 Annual Report, presented to the Legislative As- sembly of Ontario on Dec. 5, in- dicated that 73 per cent of clinics expecting a lease increase in the next two years had not received a commitment from LAO. The report also said that most clinics do not receive their budgets until about July, which makes it difficult for clinics to plan spending. LAO said in a statement to Law Times that the organiza- tion agrees with, and has already started to address, the recom- mendations from the auditor general's report. LT NEWS Working to prevent service disruptions Continued from page 1 Continued from page 1 'A reduction of size will just give Toronto more power' THE CANNABIS C C What are the implications of the Cannabis Act? Visit the website that provides reliable news, analysis, experts and resources for professionals looking for answers – whether they're dealing with cannabis in the workplace, interpreting legislation, managing M&A transactions or nailing down intellectual property rights. Untitled-2 1 2018-12-04 2:52 PM

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