Teresa Donnelly

Lawyer Bencher Candidate – Southwest Region

Priorities

Priorities for our profession include:
• Promoting equality, diversity, and inclusion and implementing the Challenges report
• Ensuring fiscal accountability
• Regulating in the public interest and achieving effective oversight through our governance structure
• Facilitating access to justice including through collaboration with stakeholders
• Embracing opportunities and confronting challenges of technology and globalization
• Supporting all lawyers, with a focus on sole and small practices to ensure access to supports and resources
• Implementing enhancements to Articling and Law Practice Program to reduce barriers and to ensure quality placements free from harassment and discrimination
• Supporting Women including the reconstitution of the Retention of Women in Private Practice Working Group; a review of the Justicia Project and a review of the Parental Leave Assistance Program.

Background

Elected Bencher in 2015.

Currently Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee; Co-Chair of Compliance Based Entity Regulation Task Force; Co-Chair of the Working Group on Bencher Remuneration and Expenses. Chair of the Human Rights Monitoring Group.

Member of Committees/Groups including: Strategic Planning; Professional Development and Competence; Priority and Planning.

As a Prosecutor with the Ministry of the Attorney General since 1994, I have dedicated my career to increasing access to justice for victims of domestic violence and sexual violence. Since 2015, I have been the West Region Sexual Violence Crown with the Sexual Violence Advisory Group with the Ministry. The mandate of the Sexual Violence Advisory Group is to enhance the quality of sexual violence prosecutions and the victim’s experience in the criminal justice system.

While I am a government lawyer, I practice in Goderich, Huron County – a small town on Lake Huron. I understand the challenges facing sole and small firms and rural practitioners. I am a proud member of a legal family and a third-generation lawyer. I am the first female lawyer in my immediate family and the first female Crown Attorney in Huron County.

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Candidates I support

Something the LSO does that it should stop doing

The LSO should move on from the Articling debate and focus on competence.

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

While the LSO does promote its resources and supports, it should do a better job of ensuring that licensees understand all the resources and supports available for them through the LSO.

website

www.donnellybencher.com

email

teresa.donnelly@ontario.ca

social media

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

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“Access to justice is a basic principle of the rule of law. In the absence of access to justice, people are unable to have their voice heard, exercise their rights, challenge discrimination or hold decision-makers accountable”: United Nations. While the LSO can facilitate access to justice through the implementation of the LSO’s Legal Aid Working Group recommendations, by supporting the expansion of the Unified Family Court province-wide and other initiatives, access to justice is not an issue that the LSO can solve alone – it needs to work, in a coordinated manner, with the judiciary, legal organizations, people, agencies and others to address this complex issue. The LSO has a current call out for comments seeking input on the LSO’s current approach to access to justice. As many people and organizations as possible need to complete the call for comments to ensure that the LSO’s approach to access to justice is as comprehensive as possible.
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I support changes to LSO’s governance to reduce the size of the board and to increase efficiency and effectiveness. Diversity of background, experience and expertise are important as is diversity in geographic location, practice area, practice size and type.
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The LSO does not regulate law schools. However, the LSO and law schools should work together to address the current costs of legal education.
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I support the Statement of Principles.

Artificial Intelligence in Legal Service Delivery

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I look forward to a report of the LSO Task Force on Technology chaired by Jacqueline Horvat.
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I support Articling and the Law Practice Program. I support enhancements to these placements to ensure that they are quality placements free from harassment and discrimination.
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As Co-Chair of the Task Force on Compliance Based Entity Regulation I seek to continue to move forward in this area – 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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This issue is being studied a the LSO Task Force on Technology.

Reconciliation and Indigenous Communities

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I am committed to reconciliation and support the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action. I support the work of the Indigenous Advisory Group (IAG) at the LSO, the Indigenous Framework, and the work of the Equity and Indigenous Issues Committee. I was a member of the LSO’s Review Panel on Regulatory and Hearing Processes Affecting Indigenous Peoples. I seek to continue to learn about the multi-generational traumatic impact of colonization, discrimination and marginalization on indigenous peoples.
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I do not support ABS.
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I support the Advertising and Fee Arrangement Working Group’s recommendations adopted by Convocation.

Specific Enhancements to Licensing System

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I am a member of the Professional Development and Competence Committee and support enhancements to Articling and the Law Practice Program to ensure quality placements free from harassment and discrimination.
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Yes. One of the functions of the LSO is professional competence.
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The Law Society has excellent resources to assist members including: Coach and Advisor network, Confidential Practice Management Help Line, Great Library/research resources, CPD programs, Equity supports and resources, Confidential Member Assistance Program including the Peer Support program, confidential, arms-length Discrimination and Harassment program. We need to ensure all lawyers and paralegals know about these member services and how to access them.
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I was a member of the LSO’s Mental Health Strategy Task Force in 2015/6 and support implementation of the strategy.
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The funding priorities are set out in the LSO’s budget.

Diversity and Inclusivity Priorities

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I support the Statement of Principles and implementation of the recommendations in the Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group Final Report – Working Together for Change: Strategies to Address Issues of Systemic Racism in the Legal Professions.

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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I support funding local law libraries. Local law associations are very important because they provide resources, mentoring, support and opportunities to come together to learn, to share and support each other through challenging times. They form a network which reduces isolation, enhances competence and enables lawyers to practice in urban and rural areas thereby enhancing access to justice. For my position on supporting local law associations see the attached article from the Law Times: https://www.lawtimesnews.com/author/anita-balakrishnan/pay-attention-to-lawyers-outside-toronto-say-bencher-hopefuls-17038/

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