Andrew Spurgeon

Lawyer Candidate – Central South Region

Priorities

My priority as a Bencher is to advance the Law Society core mandate: to advance the rule of law, promote access to justice, uphold standards of competence and regulate the profession in the public interest.

 

Priorities

I have been the Regional Bencher for Central South since 2015.
I practice in the fields Civil Litigation, Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice.
I am a past President of the Hamilton Law Association; a former Director of the Advocates Society; a recipient of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association Distinguished Service Award; a Small Claims Court Deputy Judge and an Adjunct Professor of Law at Western where I teach Insurance Law.
As a Bencher I have Chaired the Advertising and Fee Arrangements Working Group, been a member of the Audit and Finance Committee; the Real Estate Committee; the Professional Development and Competence Committee; the Equity and Indigenous Affairs Committee; the Compliance and Entity Based Regulation Working Group; and also I am a Member of the Board of Directors of LawPro.

 

Enjoy this candidate’s “Of Counsel” interview while you read more about them!

Candidates I support

Janis Criger, John Callaghan, Rebecca Durcan, Atrisha Lewis, Isfahan Merali, Barb Murchie, Sid Troister, Tanya Walker, Malcolm Mercer, Steve Rastin, Claire Wilkinson.

 

Something the LSO does that it should stop doing

Be too quick to spend money.

 

Something the LSO doesn't do that it should start doing

The LSO needs to enhance its focus on facilitating competence and growth of its members rather than just acting as a check on them. The Law Society must emphasize what it does for its members, not just to its members.

 

website

spurgeonforbencher.com

 

email

aspurgeon@rossmcbride.com

 

social media

 

All Candidates were invited to comment on any or all of the following topics

Expand to read Andrew's views

The Law Society does some remarkable things to promote access to justice in Ontario. It advocates for enhanced Legal Aid and provides funds for a multiplicity of projects, and programs through the Law Foundation. It mandates liability insurance for the benefit of clients and provides compensation for losses caused by unscrupulous licensees. The Law Society cannot however, undertake the entire burden of providing access to Justice. Working with partners, sharing the burden and coming up with creative solutions is the only way forward. It is the cultivation of those partnerships which enhances access to justice.

Expand to read Andrew's views
The Law Society’s remit does not lend itself not to governance by a traditional Board of Directors. It is rather suited to a mini-parliament. We have taken steps to reduce and eliminate ex-officio members which will enhance the democratic character of Convocation. However, reducing the number of elected Benchers will not enhance the diversity of voices at Convocation.
Expand to read Andrew's views
Accessibility to our profession is endangered by the cost of legal education. The Law Society does not directly regulate law schools nor their funding. It can however, ask some hard questions: Does law school need to be three years long? Why do we accept students in our admission process from the UK with only two years in law school there? How do we force the law schools to take practical training seriously? Pressing these questions in a way which challenges the current model of legal education in Ontario can have a significant impact on the price and accessibility of that education.
Expand to read Andrew's views

As a Bencher I voted to implement the Statement of Principles. It serves a positive, iterative function of self-reflection on how we interact with and treat others. We as lawyers have a duty to abide by the Rules of Professional Conduct and the Human Rights Code, to not discriminate and to protect the rights of our fellow citizens to be free from discrimination.
We also have a duty to protect the freedoms of our fellow citizens to think, opine, believe and express themselves as they see fit.
The requirement to have a Statement of Principles while not requiring any member of the Law Society to subject the content of their own personal Statement of Principles to review strikes the right balance between these competing ideals and obligations.

Artificial Intelligence in Legal Service Delivery

Expand to read Andrew's views
Blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI) and other technological changes will disrupt the role of lawyers as trusted intermediaries in the social and economic relationships which make our society to function. It is imperative that lawyers understand and harness these changes rather than be eclipsed by these changes. The Law Society is uniquely positioned to aid lawyers individually and collectively as they evolve in these shifting environments as well as in shaping the environment in which lawyers operate.
Expand to read Andrew's views
I support maintenance of articling and the LPP.
Expand to read Andrew's views

The biggest barrier to unbundling legal services and making a la carte legal services accessible to a broader swath of the public is lawyers’ legitimate fear that if they do not have control of all aspects of the file, they can be held responsible and liable for things they have not been retained to handle. If the unbundling project is to continue this fundamental problem has to be addressed.

Expand to read Andrew's views
Regulation of firms as entities unto themselves is a step forward. So too would be the implementation of a stronger risk-management approach to regulation which would enable lawyers to practice better.
Expand to read Andrew's views
Technological competence of practitioners is something which the Law Society should facilitate through aid in each lawyer’s commitment to lifelong learning. It cannot be enforced. We can also be assured that pressures on lawyers in the marketplace to compete will force lawyers to embrace new technologies otherwise they will not survive.

Reconciliation and Indigenous Communities

Expand to read Andrew's views

Reconciliation will inevitably be slow and probably be ever incomplete. The Law Society takes its role in this process seriously. There are many projects and initiatives – big and small – within the Law Society that I support which are designed to foster humility, respect, tolerance and listening. These must be patiently pursued over the long term if true progress to the goal of reconciliation is to be made.

Expand to read Andrew's views
I am completely against non-lawyer owned law firms. I support Civil Society Organizations which provide legal services to under-served and marginalized communities on a non-profit basis. The real long-term concern we should focus on is how technology commodifies legal services and diminishes or eliminates the role of trusted intermediaries like lawyers in transactions. I actively support initiatives which aid lawyers in addressing this challenge.
Expand to read Andrew's views
I am the Chair of the Advertising and Fee Arrangements Working Group at the Law Society. We are completing development of a mandatory standard form contingency fee agreement which would greatly simplify the relationship between clients and lawyers who work on contingency. It will be a tremendous step forward for the profession and the public we serve.

Specific Enhancements to Licensing System

Expand to read Andrew's views

We have recently reviewed licensing.

Expand to read Andrew's views
LSO as a provider of CPD should continue as long as it does not dominate or undercut the market. As well, it must partner with local law associations and other providers outside of Toronto to make it accessible and relevant in all parts of Ontario. In addition, it is fit and proper for the LSO to provide low cost CLE to members whose means are limited.
Expand to read Andrew's views
Being from outside of Toronto, and a former President of a county law association I know how important local law associations are as places of learning, mentorship and practical support for practitioners. Enhanced financial and other supports to them from the Law Society are key to providing local solutions to local challenges experiences by practitioners.
Expand to read Andrew's views

A lawyer’s stock in trade is their ability to manage conflict. Constant engagement in the conflict and trauma suffered by others takes its toll. The Law Society is in a unique position to through programs and partnerships with a multiplicity of groups to help address the challenge of mental health among lawyers. Prime among those is strong support of the Lawyer Assistance Program. We need to enhance and expand these partnerships to serve the needs of all lawyers.

Expand to read Andrew's views
The funding priorities of the Law Society should be and generally are aligned with the core mission of the Law Society – ensuring that its members are competent and capable of serving the public. In aid of this mission, the Law Society should enhance funding to local county law associations as they are the front line support for sole and small firms serving the public throughout Ontario.

Diversity and Inclusivity Priorities

Expand to read Andrew's views
At its core, diversity and inclusivity is all about one simple proposition – treating others as you would wish to be treated yourself. Each of us wants to be accepted and respected by our colleagues, clients and the public. Moreover, we all want to be fulfilled in our profession regardless of who we are. I am committed to advancing the cause of inclusion and acceptance within our profession.

Scope of practice for paralegals and non-licensees

Expand to read Andrew's views

I am against expanding the scope of independent paralegal practice into family law. Paralegals may be useful within family law if and only if they were under the supervision and in the employ of a lawyer with carriage of the matter.

FOLA asks: Thoughts on Funding Staffed Local Law Libraries

Expand to read Andrew's views
As a former president of a county law association, I understand just how much local law associations and libraries are key supports for sole and small practices throughout the Province. The Law Society has maintained funding of them over time but that needs to be increased. Any changes to the library management and funding model in LibraryCo. must be premised on the real needs of the users – lawyers not the prescriptions of “experts”.

Other topics

Candidate contributions on additional topics

Expand to read Andrew's views

 

 

 

Other topics

Candidate contributions on additional topics

Expand to read Andrew's views

 

 

 

Other topics

Candidate contributions on additional topics

Expand to read Andrew's views