Law Society of Upper Canada

Law Society of Upper Canada

June 23, 2011 10:51 ET

Law Society Treasurer Elected by Acclamation for Second Term

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 23, 2011) - Treasurer Laurie H. Pawlitza has been elected by acclamation for a second term as head of the Law Society of Upper Canada, which regulates Ontario's lawyers and paralegals. As president, the Treasurer oversees Convocation, the Law Society's governing body.

"I am grateful to my fellow benchers for supporting me in the continuation of the work we began over the past year on critical issues such as the articling requirement and access to justice," says Treasurer Pawlitza. "The Law Society has a significant role to play in addressing the needs of self-represented individuals, particularly in the area of family law, and we will be defining that role in the coming months."

During her first term, Treasurer Pawlitza directed the initiation and implementation of a number of vital projects. The former co-chair of the Retention of Women in Private Practice Working Group, she continued to oversee the implementation of this groundbreaking initiative's many recommendations including the Justicia Project.

Treasurer Pawlitza also undertook an ambitious outreach effort to engage the profession in the 2011 bencher election. Throughout the end of 2010 and beginning of 2011, she travelled across the province to meet with lawyers, discuss issues facing the profession and provide information and encouragement to run for bencher. Treasurer Pawlitza plans to continue focusing on outreach to the profession in the coming term.

Most recently, Treasurer Pawlitza announced the formation of the Articling Task Force, which will consider additional and alternative approaches to the articling requirement in light of the increasing number of lawyer licensing candidates who are unable to find articling placements.

"I feel very privileged to lead the Law Society and to be working with such an accomplished and dedicated group of benchers and staff," says Treasurer Pawlitza. "I very much look forward to my second term."

Treasurer Pawlitza is a partner at Torkin Manes LLP in Toronto and practises family law. Ms. Pawlitza received her LL.B. from the University of Saskatchewan in 1983 and was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1986. Ms. Pawlitza is a committed advocate with extensive knowledge in the area of family law. In 1995, she was counsel in the first Canadian case that allowed same sex couples to adopt. She was recognized by the Women's Legal and Education Action Fund for her work on the retention of women in private practice and was recently awarded the Women's Law Association of Ontario 2011 President's Award, which recognizes women who have made a substantial contribution to the legal community.

Treasurer Pawlitza has played an active role in the legal community throughout her career. She has served as director of LawPRO, a member of the Ontario Bar Association Family Law Executive, the Family Law Rules Committee and as a trustee of The Lawyers Club. She has also served as the chair and director of the Casey House Foundation and was actively involved in Metro Central YMCA's Regional Council.

She was first elected a bencher of the Law Society in 2003 and was re-elected in 2007 and in 2011. Ms. Pawlitza has held several high profile positions as bencher, including co-chair of the Retention of Women in Private Practice Working Group, and member of the Licensing and Accreditation Task Force. Most recently, she served as chair of the Professional Development & Competence Committee and vice-chair of the Government & Public Affairs Committee.

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.

The Law Society of Upper Canada regulates Ontario's lawyers and paralegals in the public interest by ensuring that every individual who practises law or provides legal services in Ontario meets standards of learning, professional competence and professional conduct that are appropriate for the legal services provided.

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