Law Society of Upper Canada

Law Society of Upper Canada

May 29, 2007 11:26 ET

Law Society of Upper Canada Treasurer Acclaimed for Another Term

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 29, 2007) - Lawyer Gavin MacKenzie, Treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada, has been acclaimed for a further term as the head of the Society, which regulates Ontario's paralegals and lawyers. Treasurer MacKenzie was first elected Treasurer in February 2006, and was acclaimed for a further one-year term in June 2006.

"Being granted another term as Treasurer is a great privilege," says Treasurer MacKenzie. "I am both honoured and excited to lead the Law Society as the landscape in which we regulate in the public interest continues to evolve in fundamental ways."

During his tenure, Treasurer MacKenzie has overseen the expansion of the Law Society's mandate to include the regulation of paralegals. "The regulation of paralegals is a significant milestone in the history of the Law Society and an important step in the evolution of legal services in Ontario," says MacKenzie.

Paralegal regulation is just one of a number of Law Society initiatives directed by Treasurer MacKenzie that look to the future of legal services.

Treasurer MacKenzie oversaw the delivery of a seminal report from Task Force on the Rule of Law and the Independence of the Bar. The report is a comprehensive reference work that articulates the reasons underlying the fundamental principle that an independent bar is essential to the Rule of Law.

The Retention of Women in Private Practice Working Group, created early in MacKenzie's term, has undertaken a comprehensive consultation with law firms aimed at identifying successful tools, resources and practices to promote the retention of women in private practice.

In addition, MacKenzie led the Law Society's continuing efforts to address issues identified by the Society's Sole Practitioner and Small Firm Task Force. These include the establishment of a working group with representatives from the Law Society, the County and District Law Presidents' Association and the Ontario Bar Association, as well as the creation of the role of Counsel, Sole Practitioner and Small Firm Practice Management at the Law Society.

"My fellow benchers and Law Society staff have accomplished a great deal," says Treasurer MacKenzie. "I am extremely proud of the advancements we have made and will continue to make as we work to ensure access to justice and protection of the public through diligent regulation of the legal professions."

The Treasurer is the president and head of the Law Society's governing body, called Convocation. Under the Law Society Act the Treasurer is elected each year by Convocation, which is composed of 50 directors, referred to as benchers. There are 40 lawyer benchers, two paralegal benchers and eight non-lawyer and non-paralegal benchers as well as a number of ex-officio benchers.

As Treasurer, Mr. MacKenzie chairs the meetings of Convocation and recommends priorities for its approval, liaises with government officials and other legal and community organizations and appoints chairs, vice-chairs and members of committees and task forces, subject to Convocation's approval.

A partner in the Toronto office of Heenan Blaikie LLP, Treasurer MacKenzie graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University in 1975. He was called to the Ontario bar in 1977 and has appeared as counsel before courts at all levels including the Supreme Court of Canada.

He has been honoured by induction as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and has been certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as a Specialist in Civil Litigation since 1989. Mr. MacKenzie is the author of Lawyers and Ethics, a leading text on professional responsibility and discipline.

Treasurer MacKenzie is a former director of The Advocates' Society and of LINK - The Lawyers' Assistance Program. He was first elected a bencher of the Law Society in 1995. Since then, he has held a number of high-profile positions including Chair of the Society's Professional Regulation Committee (responsible for professional conduct and discipline), and Co-Chair of its Strategic Planning Committee and its Task Force on the Review of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

The Law Society governs legal service providers in the public interest by ensuring that the people of Ontario are served by lawyers and paralegals who meet high standards of learning, competence and professional conduct, and by upholding the independence, integrity and honour of the legal professions for the purpose of advancing the cause of justice and the rule of law.

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