Joseph Groia

Lawyer Bencher Candidate – Toronto Region

Priorities

When I decided to run for Bencher in 2015, I was in the middle of my nine-year battle with the Law Society over the proper limits on the rules of civility. During my first term as a Bencher, my principled opposition to the civility movement was finally vindicated by the Supreme Court. I also found myself regularly voicing strong opposition to proposals that did not move the Law Society in the right direction; towards becoming a disciplined modern regulator that narrowly focuses on its core mandates of ensuring that Ontario lawyers meet appropriate standards of competency and integrity.

I believe we need to be more proactive to prevent discipline cases. We need to provide education and mentoring so that lawyers do not make mistakes and support to lawyers who are suffering from mental health issues. We also need to apply a balanced approach to discipline cases. An honest lawyer who makes a mistake or is suffering from a health issue should not be prosecuted and should be diverted as early as possible into a non-adversarial process. A dishonest lawyer needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Over the next four years I expect we will need to start to really tackle the harsh new realities of the changing legal marketplace. There are far too many candidates for too few articling positions. At the same time we are wrestling with an access to justice problem. There are solutions – but they are not easy ones and will likely take several years to implement.

I believe we need to make it a priority for the Law Society to take another good hard look at how we spend the money we receive from licensees, narrow the number of initiatives we spend money on and reduce to a bare minimum the money Benchers’ spend on themselves.

In my last term, I supported diversity and equality initiatives, especially for those who have their own principles and live by them, by asking for a conscientious objection option to the Statement of Principles. Today, a lawyers SOP is theirs alone – and does not have to espouse prescribed value.

If I am re-elected, I intend to spend the next four years zealously advocating for the Law Society to do less, and spend less, so that lawyers can do more to advance the legal profession and the public interest in Ontario.

Background

I have worked with the OSC from 1985-1990, in a large firm Heenan Blaikie from 1990-2000 and in my own small firm Groia & Company from 2000-2019. Groia & Company is one of Canada’s leading securities litigation boutiques.

I am a frequent teacher, lecturer and speaker at law schools as well as continuing education programmes.

In 2007, together with Ms. Pamela Hardie I published Canada’s first and only textbook on securities litigation, “Securities Litigation and Enforcement”. A second edition followed in 2012.

I have been ranked as one of Canada’s 500 Leading Lawyers (Lexpert) since 2000, I was also chosen as one of Canada’s 25 most influential lawyers in 2013 and 2018.

On June 1, 2018, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in my favour in my professional misconduct case with the Law Society of Ontario which arose from my zealous defence of John Felderhof in a 10 year prosecution of charges arising out of the collapse of Bre-X Minerals Ltd.

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

Candidates I support

Sidney Troister, Jacqueline Horvat, Teresa Donnelly and Peter Beach

Something the LSO does that it should stop doing

The Law Society needs to stop trying to over regulate Ontario’s lawyers. We need to just focus on doing a better job at our core mandates of ensuring that lawyers are both honest and competent. We need to stop spending time trying to be a super regulator that jumps into every battle that comes our way.

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

We need to start focusing on breaking the glass ceiling for women, ethnic minorities and lawyers with other differentiating factors instead of collecting intrusive data from law firms.

We also need to take a closer look at the current system that puts working class students with no connections at a disadvantage as they are disproportionately unable to find articling jobs. This is another good reason to eliminate articling.

website

www.ZealousAdvocacy.com

email

jgroia@groiaco.com

social media

Twitter – @GroiaJoseph

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

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I will continue to do my best to represent the interests of the mainstream of the profession, especially those lawyers at small firms whose needs are often overlooked.
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I am in favour of it.
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The cost of legal education is obscene – but it is not an issue the LSO has any control over.
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While my motion to allow conscientious objection to the Statement of Principles was unsuccessful, I believe we won the war by making it clear that a lawyer’s SOP did not need to espouse LSO prescribed values – it is enough to say that I am a person of tolerance and respect and I live by my conscience and faith.

Artificial Intelligence in Legal Service Delivery

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There should only be one – a licensing exam followed by additional training for anyone going into sole practice.
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I am in favour of it if it is done right. I am opposed to compliance based regulation.
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Reconciliation and Indigenous Communities

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I am in favour of them as long as they are properly structured and regulated.
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Specific Enhancements to Licensing System

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To improve our efforts on competency, as a member of the Professional Development and Competency Committee, I supported our decision to expand the range of continuing education programmes. I have spoken out repeatedly on problems with the Articling and LPP programmes and serious concerns that I have with the qualifications of many of the NCA candidates.
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We need to ensure that we are providing proactive support to lawyers who are suffering from mental health issues. We also need to make sure they are not in the discipline system.
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Too many and too much.

Diversity and Inclusivity Priorities

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In my last term, I supported diversity and equality initiatives, especially for those who have their own principles and live by them, by asking for a conscientious objection option to the Statement of Principles. Today, a lawyers SOP is theirs alone – and it does not have to espouse prescribed values.

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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Other topics

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Endorsements of this candidate

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Adam Dodek – University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law – Ottawa
Al Wiens – Wildeboer Dellelce LLP – Toronto
Alexander Sennecke – Baldwin Sennecke Halman LLP – Toronto
Andrea Hill – SkyLaw – Toronto
Andrew Faith – Polley Faith LLP – Toronto
Andrew Morganti – Morganti Legal PC – Toronto
Arthur Cockfield – Queen’s University, Faculty of Law – Kingston
Brian Smeenk – Fasken – Toronto
C. Michael Kray – Barrister & Solicitor – Oakville
Catherine Brayley – Miller Thomson LLP – Vancouver
Celeste Poltak – Koskie Minsky LLP – Toronto
Chris Partridge – Wildeboer Dellelce LLP – Toronto
Christos Nitsis – IA Financial Group – Toronto
Christopher P. Naudie – Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP – Toronto
Claudia Cappuccitti – Dyer Brown LLP – Toronto
David Chong – David Chong, Barrister & Solicitor – Toronto
David O’Connor – Roy O’Connor LLP – Toronto
David Sischy – Groia & Company PC – Toronto
David Sterns – Sotos LLP – Toronto
Donald Campbell – Barrister & Solicitor – Kitchener
Donald E. Milner – Fasken – Toronto
Doug Bourassa – Chaitons LLP – Toronto
Earl A. Cherniak, Q.C. – Lerners LLP – Toronto
Elizabeth Wolfe – Toronto
Ermanno Pascutto – Toronto
Frank Cameron – Frank Cameron and Associates, Barristers & Solicitors – Clinton
George Karayannides – Clyde & Co. Canada LLP – Toronto
Gervas W. Wall – Deeth Williams Wall LLP – Toronto
Glenn J. Mullan – Golden Valley Mines – Quebec
Graeme R. Kirkland – Argosy Securities Inc. – Toronto
Grant Sawiak – Barrister & Solicitor – Toronto
Greg Temelini – Wright Temelini LLP – Toronto
Hatty Reisman – Reisman Law Offices – Toronto
James D.G. Douglas – Borden Ladner Gervais LLP – Toronto
Janice Wright – Wright Temelini LLP – Toronto
Jason J. Tan – OSC – Toronto
Jay Strosberg – Strosberg Sasso Sutts – Windsor
Jeff Beedell – Gowling WLG – Ottawa
Jeffrey W. Lem – Ministry of Government and Consumer Services – Toronto
Joanna Kourakos – CACEIS – Mississauga
John D. MacNeil – MacNeil Law – Toronto
Julia Dublin – Julia Dublin, Barrister & Solicitor – Toronto
Kip Daechsel – Dentons, Toronto
Kirk Baert – Koskie Minsky LLP – Toronto
Laura A. Li Preti – OZZ Clean Energy Inc. – Toronto
Laurie Crocker – Skyline Asset Management Inc. – Guelph
Marijo Coates – Deeth Williams Wall LLP – Toronto
Mark Polley – Polley Faith LLP – Toronto
Mark S. Redinger – Dickinson Wright – Toronto
Marla Bond – Continental Press – Toronto
Martha McCarthy – Martha McCarthy & Company LLP – Toronto
Matthew Scott – CI Investments Inc. – Toronto
Matthew Stroh – Wagner Sidlofsky LLP – Toronto
Nicholas A. Richter – Nicholas A. Richter Barrister & Solicitor – Hamilton
Patricia A. Speight – Strosberg Sasso Sutts LLP – Windsor
Paul M. Cooper – Cooper Jorgensen – Toronto
Peter M. Deeb – Hampton Securities – Toronto
Peter Greene – Affleck Greene McMurtry LLP – Toronto
Peter Newell – Toronto
Peter Roy – Roy O’Connor LLP – Toronto
Peter Volk – Wildeboer Dellelce LLP – Toronto
Philip Anisman – Barrister & Solicitor – Toronto
Robert J. Metcalfe – Toronto
Robert Findlay – Findlay Law – Hamilton
Samuel Schwartz – The Strategy Law Group – Toronto
Sean M. Grayson – Roy O’Connor LLP – Toronto
Sidney H. Troister – Torkin Manes LLP – Toronto
Stephanie Le Coche – Garson LLP – Toronto
Susan Campbell – Kitchener