David Milosevic

Lawyer Bencher Candidate – Toronto Region

Priorities

My priorities are securing a stable source of funding for Pro Bono Ontario, focusing on retaining women and racialized licensees in the profession, reforming the tribunal process and addressing inefficiencies in the LSO budget.

Background

I am a commercial litigator and principal of a small commercial litigation boutique in downtown Toronto. I am a McGill law grad, 2005 call, having articled at a large Bay Street firm. I have an LLM in civil litigation from Osgoode. I have significant trial experience and am familiar with the business of running an office, mentoring young lawyers, and providing pro bono services to enhance access to justice.

For 12 years I have maintained a weekly shift at the Pro Bono Ontario centre at 393 University Avenue in Toronto. In that time, I have served thousands of clients there, and have represented PBO clients at the Supreme Court of Canada. I am intimately familiar with the needs of the public for access to justice, and I am running on a platform of ensuring a stable source of funding for pro bono organizations.

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

Take the lead in ensuring access to justice by supporting pro bono organizations.

website

www.davidmilosevicforbencher.com

email

dm@mlflitigation.com

social media

twitter @milosevicfiske
LinkedIn: David Milosevic

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

Expand to read David's views
The current LSO budget provides $50,000 in support to Pro Bono Ontario (a rental rebate for the 393 University centre). This despite the 29,000 Ontarians served by PBO last year. This program needs support and the LSO must see support of pro bono initiatives as a central part of the LSO mandate.
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We must reduce the number of Benchers and ensure a diversity of representation among Benchers. There are currently 90 members of convocation (40 lawyers and five paralegals), 8 lay benchers appointed by the Ontario government, the Treasurer, the current Attorney General of Ontario and 35 ex officio benchers). The Board, as outlined in the “Hansell Report” is far too large for an organizations such as the LSO. The Hansell Report also outlined potential conflicts of interest in how Benchers were permitted to serve on boards of organizations governed by the LSO itself. Such conlicts have lead to self-regulation having been revoked in the U.K and Australia. No doubt we can agree that we wish to preserve self-regulation. In order to do so, we must address the issues that risk this mandate.
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The cost of legal education as with most forms of higher education continues to rise dramatically. The LSO should work closely with law schools to address this issue and advocate for tuition increase restraints. However, ultimately this is an issue that lies outside of our mandate and is difficult for the LSO to influence directly.
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I support it. It is not an onerous requirement but sends an important message about our values as a profession.

Artificial Intelligence in Legal Service Delivery

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AI in delivery of legal services is a reality. Recent decisions have emphasized that lawyers have a responsibility to use AI where doing so can reduce time and disbursements claimed. The LSO should assist licensees by providing access to CPDs that train lawyers in the use of AI in their practices.
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The results of the LSO “Options for Lawyer Licensing Consultation Paper” released in May 2018 recommending articling/LPP with the addition of work placements is a good addition to the licensing process. It is important that this process acknowledges that there are barriers to licensing faced by certain licensees and that the LSO takes steps to ensure such barriers are reduced as paid positions are implemented as part of the licensing process.
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I support them. They provide opportunities for many younger lawyers to gain access to files and they provide many clients necessary and lower cost options for legal services. I have seen BLS work very well for many years at Pro Bono Ontario with the thousands of clients I have served there.
Expand to read David's views
The “Practice Management Principles” adopted by the LSO are a good guideline. However, these guidelines do not answer a fundamental issue of entity regulation: how are rules that apply to larger firms going to apply to sole practitioners and small firms? Entity regulation is a good start toward ensuring that the regulatory playing field is even, but it is important that it does not slowly result in an undue burden for smaller firms.
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I support it as a statement of what lawyers should be required to know, but do not support it as a new area for disciplinary measures. It is a useful goal and the LSO should assist lawyers in reaching it by providing free CPDs aimed at lawyers who need to develop this area of their practices.

Reconciliation and Indigenous Communities

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This is an important goal for the LSO, especially as regards bringing in more indigenous lawyers into the profession. My office has recently provided a 4 year bursary for an indigenous student to study law at my alma matter, McGill University. Initiatives such as this should be supported by the LSO as well.
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We have a thriving Bar in this province, made up of many small firms, especially in the personal injury field. I am concerned that ABS as we have seen in the U.K., could have a negative impact on the quality and diversity of choices of legal service providers available to the public.
Expand to read David's views
Regulation of the content of lawyer advertising is a central part of the LSO mandate. Advertising is the way we communicate with the public, and the quality and content of that advertising must be regulated strictly in the public interest. However, I do believe that the referral fee regulations are too restrictive. It would be better to sanction individuals or firms that abuse referral fee arrangements, rather than to make referral fees unduly limited for all practitioners.

Specific Enhancements to Licensing System

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According to the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, by 2025 there will be 29,500 law school graduates per year, but only 11,000 articling positions.

The LSO proposal for mandatory paid articling is a good one. But the effect on articling positions may exacerbate an already growing problem. We need to continue to support and develop the LPP to balance what will be a problem of even fewer articling positions going forward.

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Yes, but with many more lower cost and free options. The costs of programs are far too high. We need more options to fulfill mandatory CPD hours at lower cost. This is a requirement we have no choice but to fulfill, we should have options regarding costs.
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The LSO can support licensees by reforming aspects of the tribunal system, in particular, the Proceedings Authorization Committee (PAC). It is the PAC that authorizes a conduct application into a licensee. Yet the deliberations of the PAC are confidential, and the materials upon which they base their decision to proceed is not disclosed.

An opaque system such as this is not acceptable for the LSO. As part of the reform of the tribunal process, the LSO should establish a duty counsel office within the LSO to help licensees. Far to many licensee are unrepresented in disciplinary matters, and far too many of these licensees are small firm or racialized practitioners.

This system requires reform to make it more transparent and to provide more resources to those facing professional sanctions that can have serious consequences for their careers.

Expand to read David's views
Mental health issues are a major reason for complaints made against lawyers by clients, fellow practitioners and the court. They are a major contributor to disciplinary measures. Mental health is a medical matter and is one that can have a devastating effect on a lawyer’s career, through no fault of his or her own. The LSO should take the lead in addressing the mental health needs of practitioners.

An ombudsman office at the LSO, to which members can reach out confidentially if they are suffering from a mental health crisis would be a good way to address mental health needs in a confidential manner before these health issues lead to more serious problems for clients and for the lawyer.

Expand to read David's views
LSO has declared the following 5 strategic priorities for the period ending in 2019:
1.Leading as a professional regulator
2.Increasing organizational effectiveness
Prioritizing life-long competence for licensees
4.Engaging stakeholders and the public
5.Enhancing access to justice
There is much that can be said about each of these priorities. My main critique is on the access to justice priority, which emphasized increased collaboration with access to justice organizations. The goal of increased access to justice is one I strongly support and is why I ran. However, the plan to meet that goal is underdeveloped and does not have the necessary commitment of funding to make a real difference in this area.

Diversity and Inclusivity Priorities

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Priorities should be on retaining women in the profession and providing greater opportunities to racialized licensees.

Regarding retaining women in the profession, I support the Parental Leave program, but would raise the means test and would raise the maximum eligible amount and the duration of leave. Right now, the LSO expense for this program has averaged $205,000 over the last five years. Even doubling this program within our overall budget of $133 million (in which significant efficiencies can be found) would not be too onerous. Supporting this program is a policy choice we should advocate for. The effects on retaining female lawyers in the profession yield significant dividends for a low cost with this program.

Regarding racialized licensees I agree with the recommendations in the Final Report of Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working
Group generally, and think that the inclusion index is a good idea as is the inclusion survey to develop adequate quantitative information about the effects of these policies in addressing lack of diversity in the profession. However, I think that the benchmarks are set too high. I do not think it would be unduly onerous to have the inclusion index apply to firms of 5 lawyers and more (not 25) and that the inclusion survey interval of 4 years is too long. This should be reduced by half to every 2 years at most.

Scope of practice for paralegals and non-licensees

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I do not support proposals for increasing the scope of practice of paralegals and non-licensees. Access to justice is a concern, and methods to address it such as rules changes and increased support for pro bono are important tools. But I do not believe that permitting paralegals and non-licensees to practice in areas for which they do not have training are appropriate for the public in Ontario.

FOLA asks: Thoughts on Funding Staffed Local Law Libraries

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There are 48 county and district law libraries in Ontario, and 28 of these are local and small libraries. These libraries are crucial to the ability of lawyers in smaller firms or smaller jurisdictions to provide legal services to their clients. I am not sure of the cost of the staffing proposal and would need to consider the issue in more detail based on the specific staffing recommendations and costs, but I can agree that it is a significant issue affecting many practitioners and I would be prepared to approach it with a view toward preserving and enhancing the availability of these library resources.

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William Trudell
Charles Gluckstein
Donald Fiske
Paul Bates
Jennifer Stam
David Cassin
Cameron Fiske
Sheila Varadan
Erin Durant