I would like to highlight 3 Bencher Candidates, who I think would make excellent Benchers: Isfahan Merali, Addison Cameron-Huff, and Rebecca Durcan.
The Law Society of Ontario is governed by a board of directors, known as Benchers. Benchers set policy related to the governance of Ontario’s lawyers and paralegals. Benchers also hear discipline cases regarding the conduct, licensing, competency, and capacity of lawyers and paralegals.
The first candidate is Isfahan Merali. Isfahan Merali has an impressive track record. She is an incumbent Bencher and senior counsel at the Consent and Capacity Board. As a Bencher, Isfahan has been the Chair of the Tribunal Committee, Vice-Chair of the Equity and Indigenous Affairs, member of the Priority & Planning Committee, and member of the Challenges Facing Racialized Licensees Working Group, among other roles. She is also a member of the Mental Health Strategy Task Force and an adjudicator with the Law Society Tribunal.
Isfahan brings a deep understanding of mental health and how it affects the practice of lawyers. Helping lawyers’ mental health improves the quality of legal services provided to the public. Iahan brings a deep understanding of mental health and how it affects the practice of lawyers. Helping lawyers’ mental health improves the quality of l
Addison Cameron-Huff is a blockchain lawyer. He understands technology better than most lawyers. He has worked as a software developer and has launched several online legal businesses, including a global law search. It is important that Benchers understand technology to improve access to justice.
Addison was interviewed about his platform. Below is an excerpt of his interview.
What inspired you to run for bencher this year?
Software is changing every industry. Lawyers need to understand technological issues and the legal regulator ought to have that understanding too. I can provide this input because of my many years as a programmer and a lawyer working for the technology industry (more specifically, blockchain businesses). As a bencher I will ensure that legal professionals don’t miss out on the benefits of technology.
What do you believe is the biggest issue facing the legal profession?
The number of people in Ontario who aren’t being assisted by legal professionals is the biggest issuing facing our profession. Unserved/underserved people are a multi-billion dollar opportunity for licensees and a travesty for the affected people. We can do better as a profession and as a society.
Rebecca Durcan is a lawyer who focuses solely on professional regulation. She is “attuned to national and international regulatory trends.” As a lawyer who practices in professional regulation, she has acted as an adjudicator, prosecutor, and independent legal advisor for tribunals. If elected as Bencher, Rebecca plans to improve access to justice, continue with governance review, increase diversity of the profession, and increase transparency.
Rebecca notes in her platform that the “the Law Society can invest in technological innovation so the legal system becomes more accessible and less expensive for Ontarians. This may result in less actual interface with lawyers. However, the role of the Law Society is to determine what is best for the public interest as opposed to the interest of the profession.”
I believe that embracing technological solutions, considering alternative business structures, and investing in mental health are critical to fulfilling the Law Society of Ontario’s mandate and improving access to justice. I hope that the Benchers elected in 2019 embrace these goals.
(Views are my own and do not reflect the views of any organization.)