It is with great honour that we announce Steve Benmor‘s candidacy for the upcoming Law Society of Ontario (LSO) Bencher Election in 2023. Over 30 year ago, Steve founded Benmor Family Law Group, gaining unparalleled experience in settling divorce cases for families with significant wealth and assets. As a family lawyer, divorce strategist, mediator, parenting coordinator & arbitrator – he has decided to volunteer as a LSO Bencher with a mission of making a real difference in the legal profession.
The Law Society of Ontario (LSO) and a Bencher
The Law Society of Ontario (LSO) is the governing body for lawyers and paralegals in the province of Ontario. In accordance with its mandate, the commission is responsible for ensuring attorneys and paralegals operating in the province are competent, ethical, and trustworthy, in the best interests of the public.
Benchers are lawyers and paralegals who have been elected to the governing body of the LSO. Benchers set the strategic direction of the LSO, make policy decisions, and ensure that the legal community in the province observes the professional standards of lawyers and paralegals.
The Law Society of Ontario Bencher Election 2023
The forthcoming LSO Bencher Election will see the selection of a total of 45 benchers. 40 representing lawyers and 5 representing paralegals. The elected benchers will choose one individual to serve as the Law Society Treasurer, and all benchers possessing the right to vote will elect them for a term of one year. The 40 lawyer benchers will divide evenly, electing 20 from within the city of Toronto and 20 from outside Toronto. Additionally, lawyer voters within each particular region will select eight regional benchers based on the candidate with the highest number of votes.
To gain access to the list of candidates running for the esteemed position of Bencher in the 2023 LSO Election, kindly click here for the complete list.
Steve Benmor For the LSO Bencher Election in 2023
As a bencher, Steve intended to achieve the following three goals:
1. To Address The Public’s Access To Justice Problems In Family Law
To address the Access to Justice problems in Family Law including SRL’s, Virtual Hearings, FLSP’s, ABS & AI.
We have a major problem to solve in family justice. 2 out of 3 separating spouses are not retaining lawyers. There is a backlog in the courts caused by self-represented litigants. The LSO is granting licenses to paralegals to appear in court instead of lawyers. Additionally, Canada’s Department of Justice is funding the School for Family Litigants so they can represent themselves on their own.
However, many rural areas have few or no lawyers, with no prospect of more coming soon. Despite this, neither our federal government, provincial government nor Legal Aid has solved the problem.
The LSO and the Benchers must address this important public issue.
2. To preserve LSO’s Certified Specialist Program
On May 26, 2022, Convocation voted to wind-down the Certified Specialist Program. Four months later, Convocation approved a motion to suspend the wind-up ‘pending further consideration’ by LSO’s Professional Development and Competence Committee.
The public need to know who the lawyers are in Ontario with expertise in each of the 17 specific areas of the law.
The LSO’s Certified Specialist Program is a designation that recognizes lawyers who have demonstrated a high level of expertise in a specific area of law.
3. To Protect The Mental Health Of Lawyers & Paralegals
In “The Litigator and Mental Health”, past Chief Justice Strathy stated that success in the practice of law is correlated with depression and anxiety in lawyers.
His Honour stated: “feelings of isolation, uncertainty and stress experienced by Black, Indigenous, racialized, LGBTQ2S counsel, women, those with different accents and internationally trained lawyers are too frequently viewed as an individual issue rather than understood as the result of subtle acts of exclusion.”
At Benmor Family Law Group, I am doing my part to mentor and train my team of junior lawyers, paralegals and clerks to better manage the stress of practicing law and to take their mental health seriously. Lawyers and paralegals can no longer suffer from high levels of anxiety, depression, substance abuse and other forms of psychopathology. The LSO and its Benchers must prioritize the mental and physical health of its licensees, which is also in the public interest.
The LSO has scheduled the Bencher Election 2023 to occur between April 19 and 28, 2023. We urge all members of the legal profession to exercise their right to vote during the election.