Law Society of Upper Canada

Law Society of Upper Canada

May 28, 2009 10:05 ET

Law Society Treasurer Elected by Acclamation for Second Term

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 28, 2009) - Treasurer W. A. Derry Millar 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.

"Leading the Law Society is a tremendous privilege," says Treasurer Millar. "I am particularly grateful for the opportunity to work with so many dedicated individuals, within Convocation, the Law Society and the legal and paralegal communities at large. I look forward to the continuation of our work."

During his tenure, Treasurer Millar has overseen the initiation and implementation of a number of vital projects. Several of the recommendations of the groundbreaking Retention of Women in Private Practice Working Group Report have been realized over the past year.

These include the launch of the Justicia Project, a collaboration of more than 50 medium and large firms committed to sharing best practices and adopting programs to support women lawyers; the Parental Leave Assistance Program which provides business income replacement to sole practitioners and practising lawyers who meet the eligibility criteria; and the Locum Registry, a registry of lawyers who are available to provide legal services on an interim basis.

The Ontario Civil Legal Needs Project, approved at the beginning of Treasurer Millar's first term, is a joint project with Pro Bono Law Ontario and Legal Aid Ontario that will build a better understanding of the civil legal needs of low and middle-income Ontarians and lead to new strategies to meet those needs.

Raising the level of civility and professionalism within the legal community is a key focus for Treasurer Millar. In his first term, he led a number of initiatives with this aim, in conjunction with the judiciary, the bar, the government, Legal Aid Ontario and legal organizations. He directed the Professional Regulation Committee to develop measures to address courtroom misconduct. He met with the Criminal Lawyers' Association to discuss means to develop additional mentoring support and he worked with the Chief Justices and representatives of the bar to develop mechanisms to facilitate the reporting of conduct issues that arise in the courts.

The Law Society's implementation of a regulatory scheme for paralegals continued under Treasurer Millar's guidance. Ontario broke new ground two years ago when it became the first jurisdiction in North America to license and regulate paralegals. Today, more than 2,300 paralegals are licensed and insured, providing consumers throughout the province with more choice, protection and improved access to justice. In March 2009, the Law Society's two-year report on the implementation of paralegal regulation was tabled in the Ontario legislature.

"I am proud of all we have accomplished over the last year," says Treasurer Millar. "Much of what we have done will have an enduring impact on access to justice for Ontarians."

Treasurer Millar is a partner at WeirFoulds LLP in Toronto and the fourth member of that firm to serve as Treasurer of the Law Society. Treasurer Millar received his LL.B. from Dalhousie University in 1971 and was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1974. Prior to his call and articling, he clerked for Mr. Justice Ritchie of the Supreme Court of Canada. Between 2003 and 2007, he served as lead commission counsel for the Ipperwash Inquiry. As an advocate, he was recognized in 2001 when he was elected as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Active in the legal community throughout his career, Treasurer Millar has served as a director on a number of boards, including Legal Aid Ontario, LAWPRO, LibraryCo, and Pro Bono Ontario. He is a member of the Civil Rules Committee and a co-editor of the Ontario Annual Practice. He is a member of the Ontario Bar Association, The Advocates' Society, and an honorary member of the Commercial Bar Association of England and Wales.

Treasurer Millar was first elected Treasurer in June 2008. He was elected a bencher for his first term in 1995 and was re-elected for a fourth consecutive term in 2007.

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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