The County & District Law Presidents' Association

The County & District Law Presidents' Association

November 27, 2012 16:31 ET

The County and District Law Presidents' Association Announces New Chair

SARNIA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 27, 2012) - The County and District Law Presidents' Association ("CDLPA") is pleased to announce the selection of Janet Whitehead as Chair of the organization. Following a three-day plenary conference in Toronto, marking the completion of past Chair Michael Johnston's term, Janet assumes the role for an 18-month period ending May 2014.

"We're all very proud of the commitment Michael made to the CDLPA and our member associations," said Ms. Whitehead. "For the past year and a half, Michael has significantly strengthened our capacity to advocate on issues that affect the practicing Bar and I will continue to build on this important work."

Janet, a lawyer at Sarnia-Lambton's George Murray Shipley Bell, LLP, was previously Vice-Chair of the CDLPA. With strong roots in Lambton County, she has strong familiarity with the issues that affect the viability of the profession, especially those of sole and small firms throughout Ontario.

"As the legal profession continues to evolve," noted Ms. Whitehead, "it has become even more important to be able represent the experience of our membership to government and the Law Society of Upper Canada as they consider changes to the justice system."

Recently the CDLPA was asked to provide submissions to the Ministry of the Attorney General on the regulation of the paralegal profession, and the Law Society on the future of articling. Positions of the CDLPA were reflected in conclusions reached by each.

"As a province wide organization with member associations in every region of Ontario, the CDLPA is uniquely positioned to provide thoughtful and relevant comment on the matters that affect our profession," said Ms. Whitehead. "Our responsibility is to ensure we are making positive contributions on behalf of the public we serve while promoting the sustainability of our practices and the justice system."

The CDLPA reflects the consensus voice of the 46 law associations across Ontario, and in affiliation with the Toronto Lawyers' Association, has over 12,000 members.

Backgrounder - Biography

Janet Whitehead was born and raised in Lambton County and received her high school education at East Lambton Secondary School in Watford. In 1991, Janet graduated from the University of Western Ontario with her Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) degree. She worked as a summer and articling student at the law firm of Cohen Highley LLP in London, Ontario. After being called to the Bar, Janet was hired back as a commercial litigator. In 1996, Janet relocated her practice to Sarnia, and has been with George Murray Shipley Bell, LLP as a partner since 2006.

Janet has significant experience in civil and commercial litigation, family law, collaborative law, and estate litigation. She has litigated matrimonial disputes at the trial and appellate levels. Janet is also trained as a collaborative family lawyer, and is experienced in alternative dispute resolution.

Backgrounder - CDLPA

The County and District Law Presidents' Association reflects the consensus voice of the 46 law associations across Ontario on matters that affect the practicing Bar. In affiliation with the Toronto Lawyers Association, the CDLPA represents over 12,000 members through a volunteer Executive Board that includes a Chair, Vice Chair, Second Vice Chair and designates from the seven judicial regions across Ontario.

In consultation with, and through submissions to the Law Society, the Government of Ontario and other community justice partners, the CDLPA provides insight and comment on issues affecting the legal profession in Ontario. The broad based membership and strong regional outreach of the CDLPA provides unique perspective on the policies that affect our profession, with emphasis on the experience of sole and small practitioners throughout the province.

In addition to supporting our member associations, the CDLPA is an active participant in LibraryCo, which manages the County Law Library System, as well the Alliance for Sustainable Legal Aid, the Chief Justice's Advisory Committee on Professionalism, the Working Group on Real Estate and others.

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