I love my job. I work with incredible lawyers and dynamic clients at SML. SML is a small firm (9 lawyers) and we practise exclusively in professional regulation.
My practice is diverse and incredibly interesting. As prosecution counsel I represent the regulator in discipline hearings. As independent legal counsel to discipline committees, I assist lay panels in providing advice so that they may make informed decisions. As general counsel I assist registrars and councils manoeuver through governance matters by developing policy, drafting by-laws, and providing practical advice. All of my roles are tethered to ensuring the public interest is protected. I believe that this experience is particularly helpful to being a bencher.
I ran in 2015 at the behest of former Bencher, Beth Symes. I came in 24th (only the top 20 are elected). However, by August of 2018 I had made my way up the list (through appointments to the Bench and elections of Treasurers) and was officially a Bencher. I have only been a Bencher for a few months. But I believe that my voice and perspective is unique and will assist Convocation. For example, as a working mother, I know the pressures placed on the profession. As a partner of a small firm, I know the realities of trying to create a healthy and supportive environment while complying with the various regulatory requirements. As a lawyer who focuses solely on professional regulation (which is translated to mean that I assist regulators), I am attuned to national and international regulatory trends. I have co-authored a text used by law schools and administrative tribunals. I am currently the co-author of a judicially cited loose leaf and co-authoring a text dedicated to professional regulation. I have acted as adjudicator, prosecutor, and independent legal advisor for tribunals. I am asked to speak nationally and internationally on various matters of professional regulation. All of these experiences will allow me to bring a distinctive, balanced and individual voice to Convocation.
Access to justiceRead more
There are many factors that contribute to Ontarians not being able to access justice. The Law Society has a platform to address some of these factors. For example, I believe that there is a correlation between the massive student debt load that many new lawyers are saddled with and their ability to practise in areas that directly affect Ontarians. The Law Society could assist by reducing or eliminating licensing fees for new calls, and providing financial support or incentives for law students and recent calls who commit to working in underserviced areas of Ontario. This would ensure that new graduates do not defer licensure (due to the cost) and allow themselves to invest those fees into repaying their debt or their area of practice.
Increase diversity within the profession and leadership ranksRead more
The public benefits with a robust and diverse legal profession. It is in the interest of the public that women, Indigenous, parent and racialized licensees remain within the profession and assume positions of leadership. Continued efforts to ensure inclusion are required and necessary. The Law Society has done a great job of creating the Discrimination and Harassment Counsel. But more work is needed. The Law Society needs to amplify its efforts to address the #METOO movement.
Continue with Governance ReviewRead more
Convocation is too large (40 Lawyer Benchers + 5 Paralegal Benchers + 8 Public Benchers + Other Ex Officio Benchers). The Law Society should continue its efforts to make the board smaller. The Law Society should look to Bencher selection criteria other than simply geographic location. Other factors should be considered when selecting benchers - such as year of call (thereby ensuring that Convocation includes a bencher that is within 10 years of call) and look to competency based criteria.
Commit to heightened transparencyRead more
Lawyers pay $2,201 per year to maintain their license with the Law Society. The Law Society can make greater efforts in being transparent with its licensees to show how and why their money is being spent. For example, the Law Society could share with its licensees the actual cost of committee meetings, Convocations, investigations, hearings, conferences, Calls to the Bar, and other costs of doing business. In doing so the Law Society is showing where your money is being spent.
I was born in Dublin, Ireland and raised in Burlington, Ontario. I am married to Shane Smith and mother to Harry (12), Jude (10) and Teddy (7).
Anticipated publication of Understanding Professional Regulation, co-authored with Robin McKechney: Emond Publishing
Elected as Bencher, Member of Professional Regulation Committee and Law Society Tribunal; Co-Author of A Complete Guide to the Regulated Health Professions Act: Carswell
Certificate in Risk Management
Attended University of Toronto Obtained my Certificate in Risk Management; Co-Author of Annotated Statutory Powers Procedure Act, with Julie Maciura: Thomson Reuters
Joined Steinecke Maciura LeBlanc
Partner in firm dedicated to professional regulation
Founded by Richard Steinecke, Julia Martin and Julie Maciura in 1997
Attended Osgoode Hall Law School
Obtained my Masters in Health Law
Joined Miller Thomson LLP in Toronto
Practice focussed on malpractice defence on behalf of hospitals and regulated health professionals
Called to the Bar
Articled at Miller Thomson LLP
Assisted at the Walkerton Inquiry and lived in Walkerton
Attended University of Windsor Law School
Attended Queen’s University
Obtained my BAH in History