The Law Society of Ontario’s Bencher Election is underway, and voting begins on April 19, 2023. All Ontario lawyers and paralegal licensees in good standing are eligible to vote. Information on the election and how to vote can be found here. Lerners’ Senior Partner and esteemed counsel, Earl A. Cherniak, LLD, K.C., FCI.Arb recently penned a letter to members of the profession regarding the election, the issues at stake, and why voting is so critical. It is our privilege to share his letter here:
The Bencher Election 2023
I am writing this to urge you to vote in the forthcoming 2023 Bencher Election. In my view, it is the most important bencher election in years. A large voter turnout is crucial to the continuation of self-regulation and the future of the profession as we know it.
While I would ordinarily deplore the necessity for candidates running for election to the bench as a “bloc,” because of the existence of what is now known as the “Full Stop,” it has become a necessity. The “Full Stop” group of candidates is not only not interested in governing the profession in the public interest, but rather what they have in mind is the antithesis of it. They demonstrated it at every turn in the last four years, as anyone who is familiar with what went on in convocation will attest.
On the contrary, the 40 candidates, 20 in Toronto and 20 outside of Toronto, are running under the banner of the Good Governance Coalition (GGC). Contrary to what the Full Stop group does, they do not propose to vote as a bloc, but rather to govern and vote as individuals committed to seeing that the LSO is run in what, in their view, is in the public interest and is efficiently managed. This includes, among much else, fiscal responsibility, enhancing access to justice, and seeing that the Rules of Professional Conduct are followed, properly enforced, and revised as necessary, as new developments in the law and the practice require; a necessity given the dramatic pace of change that we experience daily.
So my plea is this - look at the election statement of the GGC candidates and vote for all, or as many of them as you can support, and vote for none of those running under the “Full Stop” banner. “Plumping” for one or two candidates plays into the hands of Full Stop, and I urge you not to do so.
In particular, vote for my partner and good friend Kevin Ross, who I have known as a student, associate, and partner for 43 years, whose election statement is attached. Kevin is an excellent lawyer with wide public and community experience. He will make an excellent bencher.
Earl A. Cherniak