Law Society of Upper Canada

Law Society of Upper Canada

May 03, 2007 13:19 ET

Ontario Lawyers Elect Governing Body

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 3, 2007) - The ballots are in and the results tabulated for the Law Society of Upper Canada's 2007 bencher election determining the directors of the Law Society for the next four years.

This year 18 of the 40 elected benchers are women, the highest number of women elected in Law Society history. In 2003, 11 women were elected. The previous high was 13, elected in 1995.

"This new bench offers a tremendous breadth of experience and expertise and is well positioned to lead the Law Society through the challenges and opportunities of the next four years," says Law Society Treasurer Gavin MacKenzie. "I am particularly pleased to see the large number of women elected - reflecting the changes taking place in our profession."

Ontario lawyers elect 40 benchers, 20 from inside Toronto and 20 from outside Toronto, to sit on the Law Society's governing board - referred to as Convocation. Eight of the 40 benchers are regional benchers - the candidates who received the highest number of votes from voters in their own electoral region.

The remaining 32 benchers include the 13 candidates from outside Toronto who received the most votes from all voters and the 19 candidates from inside Toronto who received the most votes from all voters.

The regions are Northwest (NW), Northeast (NE), East (E), Central East (CE), Central West (CW), Central South (CS), Southwest (SW) and Toronto.

The following is the list of all 40 newly elected benchers. For those benchers from outside Toronto, their region is listed following their name.

Toronto Outside Toronto

Gavin MacKenzie (i) Hon. Doug Lewis (CE) (i)
Bob Aaron Gerald A. Swaye, Q.C. (CS) (i)
Raj Anand, LSM Paul J. Henderson (CW) (i)
Larry Banack Thomas G. Conway (E) (i)
John A. Campion Carol Hartman (NE) (i)
Carole Curtis Nicholas John Pustina, Q.C. (NW) (i)
Mary Louise Dickson, Q.C. James R. Caskey, Q.C. (SW) (i)
Alan D. Gold Melanie L. Aitken (E)
Gary Lloyd Gottlieb Constance Backhouse, LSM (E)
Thomas G. Heintzman, O.C., Q.C. Marshall A. Crowe, LSM (E)
Derry Millar Kim A. Carpenter-Gunn (CS)
Janet E. Minor Jennifer Halajian (CE)
Laurie Pawlitza Susan M. Hare (NE)
Julian Porter, Q.C. Susan T. McGrath (NE)
Linda Rothstein, LSM Judith M. Potter (SW)
Clayton Ruby Heather Joy Ross (SW)
Mark J. Sandler Alan G. Silverstein (CW)
Paul Schabas Joanne St. Lewis (E)
Beth Symes, LSM Bonnie R. Warkentin (E)
Bonnie A. Tough Bradley H. Wright (E)

(i) The eight regional benchers included in the above list of 40 are:
Gavin MacKenzie - Toronto
Hon. Doug Lewis - Central East
Gerald A. Swaye, Q.C. - Central South
Paul J. Henderson - Central West
Thomas G. Conway - East
Carol Hartman - Northeast
Nicholas John Pustina, Q.C. - Northwest
James R. Caskey, Q.C. - Southwest

In addition to the 40 elected lawyer benchers, the Law Society's governing body, Convocation, also includes two paralegal benchers and eight lay benchers (non-lawyers and non-paralegals) appointed by the province. There are also a number of ex-officio benchers.

Benchers meet regularly to formulate policy on matters related to the governance of the legal profession. They also participate on Law Society committees and sit on hearing panels to hear conduct, capacity and competence proceedings.

The head of the Law Society is called the Treasurer, who presides over Convocation and is elected by benchers. The next Treasurer election will be held in June.

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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