Election Statement

LSO Bencher Election 2019

After decades of both working with and creatively challenging conventional concepts, I would urge the LSO to:

1.         Encourage Ontario and Federal courts and tribunals to make all public documents available online for free or at low cost;

2.         Improve mandatory CPD by making professionalism courses more informative, more useful, and less costly;

3.         Consider CPD credit for skill development that can enhance access to justice, e.g. training in “digital literacy” skills including social media, web site development, podcasting, and media interaction skills;

4.         Advocate for adequate criminal and civil legal aid;

5.         Address access to justice issues for individuals and small and medium sized businesses, including the encouragement of cost-beneficial legal insurance plans by third party insurers and possible LSO endorsement of such plans when appropriate;

6.         Address whether LSO can enhance access to justice by providing, for example, basic annotated templates for litigation documents, links to CanLII, court and other useful websites, as well as mechanisms and information for limited scope retainers;

7.         Raise the threshold for civility complaints – especially lawyer v. lawyer – and consider imposing administrative costs for frivolous, vexatious, tactically motivated or unnecessary lawyer-based complaints;

8.         Consider whether the LSO Rules of Professional Conduct regarding conflicts of interest need to be updated along with “best practices” guidance;

9.         Investigate the high costs of legal education and suggest solutions;

10.       Promote and improve the operation of the Coach and Advisor Network to better facilitate an informal “mentor” network whereby experienced senior practitioners with particular expertise can provide informal and pro bono advice on substantive and practice issues to less experienced lawyers in smaller firms;

11.       Address the administrative costs of various LSO “initiatives”, such as “Compliance-Based Entity Regulation” and whether these are all necessary or can be more cost effective; and,

12.       Address the high cost of LSO membership including examination of whether money is being well spent and/or providing greater transparency of costs in areas such as re-branding, advertising, CPD, and unnecessary reporting requirements

Additional comments may appear from time to time on Twitter account @HowardKnopf.

For those interested in intellectual property issues, particularly copyright law, my long running and widely read blog can be found at