A new perspective: Why you should vote for me for bencher on the Law Society of British Columbia

Voting for the Bencher by-election is underway and if you’re planning to cast your ballot this weekend you have a decision to make about which direction The Law Society should take. You can go for more of the same. Or, you can choose to bring a fresh voice to the Law Society who cares about the needs of all lawyers.

As a relatively young member of the bar, I will ensure all lawyers are well-represented at Bencher meetings. I aim to affect real change by bringing my unique perspective and experiences as a young criminal defence lawyer.

Clearer guidelines for gender equality

I believe in setting out clear parameters for acceptable and unacceptable conduct among lawyers. These clear guidelines will promote gender equality and prevent disciplinary issues regarding sexism. The landscape is changing rapidly and, as a criminal defence lawyer, I understand why otherwise good people can find themselves caught up in unprofessional or unacceptable conduct. Everyone would benefit from knowing where they stand and how they can help promote gender equality in their everyday lives.

Highlighting the work of Indigenous lawyers

Indigenous people are overrepresented in the justice system but underrepresented in the bar and on the bench. I believe we can begin to address this issue by increasing the visibility of lawyers of Indigenous descent. I am of Métis heritage myself and early in my career I felt guilty that I was not practicing Aboriginal Law, but then I came to realize there are Indigenous lawyers working across all areas of law. We should celebrate these accomplishments and send a signal both to lawyers and people in the justice system their that rights will be protected. Having Indigenous benchers on the Law Society is an important step in this process.

Protect the independence of the bar

Right now, self-regulation of the legal community is under threat. The government is considering taking away the profession’s ability to self-regulate. I am a firm defender of the independence of the bar and I would hate to see the legal community follow in the footsteps of the realtor industry and lose its oversight responsibilities. The people who work every day in courtrooms understand how and why mistakes are made and we are best positioned to decide what punishments are appropriate.

Make sure the needs of all lawyers are heard

As a criminal defence lawyer, I am confronted with the same issues most lawyers have to deal with on a daily basis. Certain statements suggest The Law Society appears to believe lawyers who deal with minor summary offences and administrative hearings – the types of cases most lawyers are dealing with everyday – do not exist. It is vital we have someone working in the system represented on the benches. These are cases I handle every day. They are important to my clients and I feel I am well-placed to address this issue if elected bencher.

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