Bencher Election: Charting the Course Ahead

Posted: 04/16/2019

Guest Post by Ex-officio Bencher W. A. Derry Millar, LSM

Bencher Election 2019Elections are the cornerstone of the democratic process and reflective of our greater values and beliefs. They provide both an opportunity to build on strong foundations of work completed or underway and an avenue for change. We see the importance of the electoral process across all levels of our society in federal, provincial and municipal governments on matters that directly affect the lives of people. As lawyers and paralegals in Ontario, through the 2019 bencher election process, we have the opportunity to participate in how work of the Law Society is shaped over the next four years.

Voting in the bencher election is an opportunity to elect those who will set the direction for Ontario’s lawyers and paralegals in the public interest. Benchers are critical in maintaining this trust as they establish the strategic direction for the Law Society under its regulatory mandate.

Each election offers a diverse range of candidates, platforms and issues, with the election on April 30 being no different. This is the first time that lawyer and paralegal benchers are to be elected simultaneously.

Voting is simple. The voting guide is now available to give you an opportunity to read through the profiles of all candidates. During the week of April 15, all eligible voters will receive an email with a personal identification number allowing them to cast their votes online or by phone. This information will also be available in the Law Society Portal. Lawyers and paralegals have until April 30 at 5 p.m. to vote, with results being confirmed on May 1 on the Law Society website.

The election is conducted in accordance with the Law Society Act and allows all licensees in good standing as of April 5, to cast their votes. Lawyers can cast up to 20 votes for lawyer candidates inside Toronto and up to 20 votes for lawyer candidates outside Toronto. Voters are not required to cast all 40 of their votes. Paralegal voters can cast up to five votes for all paralegal candidates and are also not required to cast all five of their votes.

I encourage all lawyers and paralegals to take the time to read through the profiles of each candidate. As members of Convocation, benchers play a critical role in the governance of the Law Society and the regulation of Ontario’s legal professions in the public interest.  As members of the legal professions, we all have a role to play in building on what the Law Society has achieved and charting the course ahead. I urge you to vote in the 2019 bencher election.