I am running to be a Bencher for the Law Society of British Columbia. Voting begins today and runs until May 19, 2020. I am optimistic that I will be elected as Bencher, and I wanted to write this post to outline some of the myriad reasons why lawyers in the Vancouver county should vote for me.
This is my fourth time running in a Bencher election, which I think is emblematic of my determination and tenacity in fighting for what I think Is important. As a Bencher, I would demonstrate that same tenacity and determination when raising important issues with the Law Society and when acting on committees.
I am passionate about issues that affect lawyers, from the changes to ICBC injury claims to the ways that we can learn and grow as a profession as a result of the lessons learned in the COVID-19 pandemic.
I write a regular column for The Lawyer’s Daily, where I have published pieces related to the ethical obligations on lawyers as a result of the pandemic, developments in case law, mental health, and the role that non-lawyers can play in legal proceedings. I also publish a popular blog, where I address legal issues including, recently, the re-opening of the courts while maintaining social distancing and public safety.
I am a passionate supporter of the need for lawyers to provide access to justice solutions. However, I believe we have to be careful that we do not create solutions that will result in greater barriers to access to justice. As I wrote for Vancouver Is Awesome, asking lawyers to work for free in areas in which they are untrained is dangerous to the litigants whose lives and cases depend on those lawyers.
If elected Bencher, I would encourage the Law Society to come up with creative ways to encourage more and diverse pro-bono initiatives, including the implementation of free services to text a lawyer for summary legal advice and the creation of a free video bank, accessible to the public on the Law Society website which explains basic legal concepts for the public.
I have experience with video production and using video media to increase access to justice. I host a weekly program, Cases That Should Have Gone to the Supreme Court of Canada, But Didn’t! And a bi-weekly program called Can You Fail It!? where, along with my colleague, I test products that can cause false readings on breathalyzers.
To make the law more accessible to the public, I also host a free weekly podcast on driving law, called Driving Law, and I give regular media commentary on legal issues for major media outlets in BC.
I support the personal injury bar in their fight against current reforms to ICBC injury cases. As far as I am concerned, these changes will decrease access to justice. To require people to navigate a complicated legal process without the right to a lawyer is, in my view, unconstitutional. To open the floodgates of lawyers into other areas of law for which they are untrained is also dangerous, as it risks those untrained lawyers making mistakes that compromise cases in family, immigration, and criminal law.
If elected as Bencher, I would ensure the Law Society took a position of advocacy against this legislation, through a public engagement and information process. Right now, contemplating intervention in litigation and issuing a public statement is, quite simply, not enough to protect the public and to protect lawyers.
As a survivor of an eating disorder, I am well aware of how mental health issues can affect lawyers and our lives. I want to do more with the Law Society to ensure that it is providing appropriate mental health supports for lawyers. I would work to establish the creation of a mental health week, with video webinars offered for free through the Law Society to address common mental health issues and the creation of a mental health mentorship program offered by the Law Society.
If you are interested in my platform and the work I want to accomplish with the Law Society as a Bencher, you can follow this link to my videos about the issues that matter to me. You can learn more about me on my Bencher Election Website.
If you are a lawyer in British Columbia whose practice is in the Vancouver county, please consider voting for me. You have until May 19th to vote through your online portal on the Law Society website.