Gerard Paul Charette

Lawyer Bencher Candidate – Southwest Region

Priorities

1) LSO must do less. Many Initiatives have nothing to do with its jurisdiction. (For example, see Human Rights Monitoring Group Initiative from LSO website) The result is a set of confusing and unmanageable activities. This leads to too many staff cranking out too many draft rules, policy papers, memos, etc. Therefore, 2) We no longer have self-governance. We have staff-governance. 3) Regulate less and, when regulating, be practical. 4) LSO spending is out of control. It projects deficits for the current and next fiscal period. 5) LSO has confused social activism with the regulation of lawyerly practice. It seeks to be a sort of all purpose NGO instead of a society that regulates lawyerly practice. 6) the Statement of Principles (SOP) is a good example of social activism run amok. SOP is demeaning to the overwhelming majority of good lawyers who respect equality. 7) Moreover, LSO is not satisfied with SOP. It want to apply more pressure. See Compliance Based Entity Regulation from the Initiatives tab on the LSO website. It lays out the plan to enforce SOP according to its rigid and unreasonable notion of equality. Watch out! 8) Lack of transparency in voting in Convocation. Some Benchers spoke against SOP and then proceed to vote for it. This is untenable.

Background

Since 1980, I have practiced tax planning in Windsor at Miller Canfield and its predecessor firms. Throughout my career, I have lectured on tax planning for diverse associations, including the Canadian Tax Foundation, the Michigan State Bar, and Michigan’s Public Accountants.
I am a past director of TV Ontario and past lay member of the Council of the College of Optometrists.
I devote personal time to part-time academics. I am about to complete an MA and begin a new project at the University of Windsor. My area of study is theological aesthetics comprising Jewish, Islamic and Eastern studies and visual arts.
I also volunteer as a church deacon by serving the needs of men recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.

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

Candidates I support

All members of the Stop SOP slate of candidates. Please visit www.stopsop.ca

Something the LSO does that it should stop doing

LSO needs to start acting within the Limits of its jurisdiction. It regularly exceeds its jurisdiction by engaging in a variety of expensive social activism projects

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

Regulate Less and be practical. For example real estate lawyers are rightly concerned that some regulations are intellectually tidy, but they don’t work in practice.

website

email

charette@millercanfield.com

social media

visit stopsop.ca

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

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Access to justice is easy to trumpet because its so vague. Just about everything gets thrown under this umbrella. We must be cautious and listen to proposals to increase ‘access to justice’ with attentive skepticism and a critical eye.
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Eliminating social activist projects that are outside of LSO’s jurisdiction will lead to a clear and concise agenda. This leads to fewer staff. No more ‘say-one-thing-and-do-another’ voting in Convocation. Benchers sometimes speak against motions and then to proceed to vote in favour. This happened with SOP
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Abysmally too high. LSO has a role. Legal education is part of its jurisdiction. Should consider applying pressure to universities that overcharge their students.
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SOP, although arguably well-intentioned, has led to serious disunity in the body of members. Many are insulted by the internally generated pretense that the bar is infected with ‘systemic racism’. (See the National Post website for Marni Soupcoff’s February 28th 2019 article eentitled: “Ontario’s ‘racialized law’ debate is based on bad research”. Soupcoff debunks the statistical and survey methodology used by the LSO Study Group to craft its report to Convocation). The consequent action by Convocation has only succeeded in increasing distrust and division among members: Some feel humiliated at being forced to pledge allegiance to anything on pain of discipline. Others still do not feel vindicated and are looking for more LSO intervention. (See Compliance-Based Entity Regulation, above) I will vote to eliminate SOP.

Artificial Intelligence in Legal Service Delivery

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AI might be useful. But it can be dangerous. Just ask Boeing Corporation. Its automatic ‘safety’ system just brought down 2 airliners.
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I am not sure about the answer on this. I need to study the issue and speak to students, and those who supervised articles for law grads. Please send me your ideas. Thanks.
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I have heard that this can create problems for lawyers who provide 100% representation to their clients (“bundled service”). 100% bundled service lawyers must contend with unrepresented clients who hire temporary lawyers for ‘this piece and that piece’ of work, such as a particular motion. Once the temporary lawyer deals with the motion he or she is gone. The result is that the 100% lawyer is left to deal with all the clean up. This shifts the financial burden of litigation to the client who has hired a 100% bundled service lawyer. Needs further study.
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When LSO comes up with a title for a topic that is complicated and vague it usually means ‘Watch out’! Compliance Based Entity Regulation (CBER) is the steel inside the velvet glove of the Statement of Principles. See item #6 on the on the LSO CBER summary. #6 is equality, diversity and inclusivity (EDI) LSO is going to control your human resources activities according to its rigid and unreasonable view of EDI. I will vote against item #6.
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Lawyers do need to have competence in this area.

Reconciliation and Indigenous Communities

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Another thing that sounds great. But what does it mean? What does this have to do with the LSO’s statutory mandate? It’s probably only indirectly related if it is at all related. Lawyers and law firms can develop their own projects as they see fit, without LSO’s intrusiveness.
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Another catchy LSO title means ‘Watch out’! LSO thinks its a good idea for Corporate charities to hang out a shingle and practice law. It the result, non-lawyers will have too much dominance and influence via Corporate charities. It plans to allow incorporated charities – so-called Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) – take over practice. Not a good idea. I will vote against this.
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The draft proposal needs a slow go approach. We need to avoid third party referral mills, just like we need to avoid puppy mills.

Specific Enhancements to Licensing System

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I need study in this area. Please contact me if you have ideas.
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Education is part of LSO’s jurisdiction. Yet, it must do so in a cost effective manner.
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Regulate less and when regulating, be practical.
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Take time off. Have serious fellowship with your friends. Meditate and pray. And avoid addictions.
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Jettison all the spending associated with social activism and items outside of LSO’s jurisdiction. Reduce staff and bring staff salaries into line. For example, no member of the staff should make more than the Clerk of Canada’s Privy Council – about $240,000. This will allow a reduction in fees.

Diversity and Inclusivity Priorities

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Please see my answer to SOP above. Diversity is only authentic when it happens naturally and organically as it does in highly ethnic cities and towns such as Windsor. We don’t need artificial rules imposed from ‘on high’. Such rules are typically regressive.

Scope of practice for paralegals and non-licensees

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This is a hot button issue. See the Bonkalo report in Family Law. We need to ensure that if paralegals gain access to new areas, especially work that may lead to litigation, that they must do so under the direct supervision of a lawyer.

FOLA asks: Thoughts on Funding Staffed Local Law Libraries

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LSO has a role here. Local libraries need adequate funding.

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