Law Society of Upper Canada

Law Society of Upper Canada

May 02, 2011 12:31 ET

Ontario lawyers Elect Governing Body: Many Women Among the New Faces for Law Society Board of Directors

Attention: News Editors

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 2, 2011) - The Law Society of Upper Canada has a new governing board for the next four years, following the election of 40 directors from a list of 106 candidates.

Eighteen of the 40 elected benchers are women, tying the 2007 result, which was the highest number of women ever elected. In 2003, 11 women were elected.

"This is an excellent board and well-equipped to lead the Law Society through the challenges and opportunities of the next four years," says Law Society Treasurer Laurie H. Pawlitza. "We have a broad range of legal expertise and skill in this group of men and women. I am confident that they will carefully consider the matters we will address in meeting the Law Society's mandate to govern in the public interest. It is encouraging to see so many women engaged in the leadership of the profession. They are role models for the increasing number of women called to the bar each year."

A total of 15,592 lawyers voted in 2011, representing 37 per cent of the profession, and reversing a longer-term trend of declining voter turnout. The turnout in 2007 was 34.5 per cent.

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 are 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 appears beside their name.

TorontoOutside Toronto

Linda Rothstein *
Laurie H. Pawlitza
Raj Anand
Paul B. Schabas
Julian Porter
Mark J. Sandler
Wendy Matheson
Janet E. Minor
Julian N. Falconer
Alan D. Gold
Christopher D. Bredt
Janet Leiper
John A. Campion
Barbara Murchie
Beth Symes
William C. McDowell
Malcolm M. Mercer
John E. Callaghan
Mary Louise Dickson
Howard Goldblatt

Robert F. Evans (CE) *
Joseph J. Sullivan (CS) *
M. Virginia MacLean (CW-CO) *
Adriana Doyle (E) *
Jack Braithwaite (NE) *
Nicholas John Pustina (NW-NO) *
Michael M. Lerner (SW-SO) *
Constance Backhouse (E)
Thomas G. Conway (E)
Susan T. McGrath (NE)
Robert Wadden (E)
Carol Hartman (NE)
Jennifer A. Halajian (CE)
Susan M. Hare (NE)
Susan Armatage Richer (E)
James A. Scarfone (CS)
Alan G. Silverstein (CE)
Jacqueline Horvat (SW-SO)
Larry Eustace (NW-NO)
Judith M. Potter (SW-SO)
*The eight regional benchers included in the above list of 40 are:
Linda Rothstein - Toronto
Robert F. Evans - Central East
Joseph J. Sullivan - Central South
M. Virginia MacLean - Central West
Adriana Doyle - East
Jack Braithwaite - Northeast
Nicholas John Pustina - Northwest
Michael M. Lerner - Southwest

In addition to the 40 elected lawyer benchers, the Law Society's governing body, Convocation, also includes two elected 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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