This will be my last post on the Treasurer’s Blog, as I left office today — Convocation Day, June 26. Janet E. Minor has been elected as the Law Society’s 65th Treasurer, and the cycle of renewal will start again.
I want to thank all of the benchers and staff with whom I have worked over these past seven years. We haven’t always agreed on the direction we should take on the various issues we have faced, but everyone with whom I have had the pleasure of working has been motivated by the same commitment to the common purpose of regulating legal services in the public interest.
The legislative changes of 2006 that introduced paralegal regulation to the Law Society continue to have a significant impact. With the stroke of a pen, our Law Society was transformed from an institution dedicated to the self-regulation of a single profession to a regulator of all legal services. We are still working through the implications of that change, but it has presented us with both challenges and opportunities. During my tenure as a bencher and as Treasurer, we have successfully implemented paralegal regulation in Ontario. This is not just a significant achievement, it is virtually unprecedented in the world of legal regulation, both here and abroad. We are and should remain justifiably proud of this achievement.
It has been my privilege to have been involved in many projects and initiatives here at the Law Society in my seven years: the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, LibraryCo, the Retention of Women Working Group, the Justicia Project, the Articling Task Force, finalizing the national mobility agreement, the Trinity Western University application, and, last but not least, the Treasurer’s Advisory Group on Access to Justice, renamed The Action Group on Access to Justice (“TAG”).
I am convinced that our enhanced role in access to justice, a role that Convocation unanimously endorsed, presents for us significant challenges in implementation, but also some significant opportunities for making a substantial impact on the access to justice problems we face in this province. TAG’s work is not complete; in fact, it has not even started. I would urge Convocation to remain focused on this initiative and ensure that it is successful. It will take time. There will be setbacks, no doubt, but with the continued good will and support of all those who urged the Law Society to create TAG, I believe the TAG initiative holds for all of us a real prospect of substantive progress on the access to justice front.
My thanks to the many benchers and staff at the Law Society who supported my work as a bencher and as Treasurer over these last seven years. It was a privilege to have worked with you and to have led the Law Society during some interesting times.
Thomas G. Conway, 64th Treasurer of The Law Society of Upper Canada