James Mays

Lawyer Bencher Candidate – Southwest Region

Priorities

– Promoting and supporting the goal of equality, diversity and inclusion.
– Giving voice to smaller and remote population area practitioners to help them continue to serve their communities.
– Oversight of our professional regulatory process in the public’s interest anchored with an understanding of the challenges most practitioners face outside the GTA.
– A reasonable budgetary process ensuring that licensees pay a fair fee and that the LSO provide effective and efficient services.

Background

I have practised for 32 years mainly in London and SW Ontario. I grew up in Windsor, and then attended Western for a B.Sc. in Computer Science before earning my Ll.B. My professional background is in Civil Litigation for both Plaintiffs and Defendants with an emphasis in personal injury and insurance litigation. Having a significant amount of experience with both the Plaintiff and the Defence ba makes me particularly well suited to represent the Civil Litigation constituency. The Law Society has recognized me as an expert in Civil Litigation.
My professional volunteer experience includes serving as a trustee for Middlesex Law Association Board and eventually serving a president. I spent 13 years as part of the management team of my firm. I served for a few years as a councillor for the OBA and I have also served on ad hoc committees for the Advocates Society most recently contributing to a position paper on mandatory Personal Injury Retainer Agreements.
In my personal life, I have had the good fortune to be married for over 30 years and together have raised our 4 children who are now all in their 20’s.

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

Candidates I support

Something the LSO does that it should stop doing

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

The LSO could do a better job of educating licensees of it’s mission AND the breadth of services, resources and supports it provides to members

website

www.maysbencher2019.com

email

jim.mays@siskinds.com

social media

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

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Without access to Justice the Rule of Law becomes meaningless. The LSO alone cannot provide better access to Justice through regulation but it can bring its collective experience and knowledge together with other groups/government to improve public access.
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Effective and Efficient Governance must be the goal. Our profession will be regulated in the public’s interest either by a group practitioners the profession chooses and funds OR by a government selected group who will be still be funded by our profession. I hope we can agree that while the first model has significant issues it is vastly superior to the second
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The LSO has no regulatory authority over Universities. I acknowledge that Universities are educating too many law students at too great a price. The LSO role is to ensure that anyone who receives a license to practice must have the requisite level of competency. The one area that the LSO could address in the fee to gain entry and the fee for the first few years.
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Support

Artificial Intelligence in Legal Service Delivery

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It’s coming …… our profession and our society generally needs to prepare.
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I support the current model. I would be open to listening to suggestions to improve the current model, or even a new model as our society evolves.
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I believe this issue must be approached with caution. I understand the argument within the GTA is that unbundling will improve access to Justice. However, in smaller and remote communities I believe unbundling will have the opposite effect. If the LSO shears away areas of legal work which create needed revenue for smaller centre and remote practitioners who struggle to make ends meet those practitioners may not be able to continue. The consequence is that the communities impacted loose a much needed point for access to the justice system.
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I support the current task force efforts. Many decisions which were once made by an individual licensee are now being made by a firm yet the LSO has limited ability to regulate firms. Entity Regulation looks to better protect the public and to enhance regulatory efficiency.
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There must be a base line. I would suggest that it the ability to send and receive email, faxes and Data is a reasonable base line.

Reconciliation and Indigenous Communities

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Having worked with SW Ontario Indigenous communities I believe I have a starting point to begin to understand the trauma our greater society has inflicted upon them. Thus, I support fully efforts to reconcile.
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Generally – no.
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I strongly support the current working groups recommendations

Specific Enhancements to Licensing System

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Yes – At its core, LSO is about competency
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I would support efforts to ensure our licensees learn about and have available to them affordable and accessible CPD, Libraries, Confidential Member Assistance, Peer support and responsive Help lines.
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After 32 years I understand the need to provide assistance to licensees who need help when problems arise – I support.
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While admittedly simplistic, the order in which I would approach this issue is to first understand a fair budget and then work backwards from there.

Diversity and Inclusivity Priorities

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I fully support the SOP but wonder whether the current measurement questions in the annual report are fulfilling their purpose. I would support the retention of qualified professionals to explore the utility and effectiveness of the current measurement model and, if found wanting, create an improved model.

Scope of practice for paralegals and non-licensees

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FOLA asks: Thoughts on Funding Staffed Local Law Libraries

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As a past president of the MLA and with a practice that allows me to travel through most of SW Ontario – I understand that the county library system is a centre for competency, mentoring, collegiality, CPD and the formation of support networks. I support the county library system.

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