Megan Shortreed

Lawyer Bencher Candidate – Toronto Region

Priorities

1. We need to do more to ensure competence on entry into the profession, and an even playing field without market-driven barriers to entry. Articling has become a barrier to qualified – and often racialized – licensees; the LPP is not a permanent fix.

2. Continued governance reform is necessary for cost-effective regulation in the public interest.

3. EDI: Young and racialized lawyers need the support of the Law Society to succeed. We must do better to address the additional barriers that many members of the profession face in both entry-to-practice and seeking equity and inclusion throughout their careers.

4. The Law Society can do more to address mental health and addiction issues, through both preventive and regulatory strategies. I will bring my considerable experience in advising regulators on discipline and capacity matters to bear on issues of mental health as it intersects with the investigation and discipline process.

5. It is time for the Law Society to take a leadership role on the crisis in legal aid, by partnering with Legal Aid Ontario, the Law Foundation of Ontario, Pro Bono Law Ontario and others to address the access to justice needs of Ontarians.

Background

I am an experienced professional regulation lawyer, and will always put ethics, competence and service to the public first.

In 2008, I joined the Law Society’s Justicia Project for the Retention of Women. I dug in, and took on a leadership role. That experience was a formative one and made me passionate about the role the Law Society can play to make a real difference in the way we practice law and protect the public.

For the last four years, I had the privilege of serving as a Director of The Advocates’ Society. I had the opportunity to become engaged in the many challenges that confront our profession and the administration of justice, and to take steps to address those challenges. I believe I have more to contribute to the profession. I have the energy and enthusiasm needed to do so.

Please see my CV at: https://www.meganforbencher.com/meet-megan

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

Candidates I support

Jacqueline Horvat
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Isfahan Merali
Barbara Murchie
Paul Le Vay
Francois Baril
Teresa Donnelly
Paul Cooper
Jayashree Goswani
Jonathan Rosenthal

Something the LSO does that it should stop doing

Passing initiatives without adequate input from the public and profession.

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

Provide transparency about budgeting and the costs of Convocation.

website

https://www.meganforbencher.com/

email

megan.shortreed@paliareroland.com

social media

@MegShortreed

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

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The Law Society, as a regulator, has finite resources, so its approach to access to justice should be effective and within its statutory mandate. I support the Call for Comment on the Access to Justice Approach, and look forward to expanding the LSO’s work in (i) facilitating access to legal services, (ii) providing accurate and clear legal information for the public, (iii) supporting an accessible, fair and effective justice system, and (iv) providing assistance to external organizations. I support provision of legal services through registered civil society organizations, such as charities and not-for-profit organizations.

It is time for the Law Society to take a leadership role on the crisis in legal aid, by partnering with Legal Aid Ontario, the Law Foundation of Ontario, Pro Bono Law Ontario and others to address the access to justice needs of Ontarians.
Expand to read Megan's views
Continued governance reform is necessary for cost-effective regulation in the public interest.
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Expand to read Megan's views
I support the SOP, along with the other recommendations passed by Convocation arising from the report on Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees. I will work to ensure their implementation and enhancement.

Artificial Intelligence in Legal Service Delivery

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The Law Society can do more to ensure lawyers are supported to meet the challenges of rapid technological changes. In regulating new technologies and business models, we need a healthy balance between efficiency in the delivery of legal services and protecting the public.
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On entry-to-practice, the LSO needs to overcome the articling barrier to entry. It is a system that relies on the market to meet a necessary prerequisite to entry. I was a strong voice on the Advocates’ Society’s LPP Task Force which made submissions to the LSO that the LPP had to be maintained until the LSO can create a single solution for the articling crisis, which most adversely affects racialized candidates. I will push for a solution that makes the requirements for entry equally available to every candidate, and merit based, without barriers imposed or influenced by the market. Requirements for entry must set high standards for competence, and should be equally able to be completed by any candidate regardless of gender, race or economic circumstances. This means looking at any number of solutions, such as exams, an across-the-board LPP or other bar admission programs, and making articling or internship optional, not a mandatory prerequisite.
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Expand to read Megan's views
Expand to read Megan's views
Legal professionals must meet appropriate standards of competence, conduct and learning.

Reconciliation and Indigenous Communities

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First Nation, Métis and Inuit Peoples may face unique challenges in entering and remaining in the profession, and their success is critical to access to justice for indigenous communities and reconciliation. The LSO should collaborate with Indigenous lawyers, paralegals and elders as leaders and teachers about strategies that can improve entry and retention. The LSO can partner with and support programs at law schools to assist and promote indigenous law students. On the Advocates’ Society Board, I sat on the Diversity Task Force and actively supported the Guide for Lawyers Working with Indigenous Peoples, co-published with the LSO and Indigenous Bar Association.
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Expand to read Megan's views

Specific Enhancements to Licensing System

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On entry-to-practice, the LSO needs to overcome the articling barrier to entry. It is a system that relies on the market to meet a necessary prerequisite to entry. I was a strong voice on the Advocates’ Society’s LPP Task Force which made submissions to the LSO that the LPP had to be maintained until the LSO can create a single solution for the articling crisis, which most adversely affects racialized candidates. I will push for a solution that makes the requirements for entry equally available to every candidate, and merit based, without barriers imposed or influenced by the market. Requirements for entry must set high standards for competence, and should be equally able to be completed by any candidate regardless of gender, race or economic circumstances. This means looking at any number of solutions, such as exams, an across-the-board LPP or other bar admission programs, and making articling or internship optional, not a mandatory prerequisite.
Expand to read Megan's views
Of course it should, as a provider of accessible and affordable continuing education.
Expand to read Megan's views
Expand to read Megan's views
The Law Society can do more to address mental health and addiction issues, through both preventive and regulatory strategies. I will bring my considerable experience in advising regulators on discipline and capacity matters to bear on issues of mental health as it intersects with the investigation and discipline process.
Expand to read Megan's views

Diversity and Inclusivity Priorities

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Young and racialized lawyers need the support of the Law Society to succeed. We must do better to address the additional barriers that many members of the profession face in both entry-to-practice and seeking equity and inclusion throughout their careers.

I support the SOP, along with the other recommendations passed by Convocation arising from the report on Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees. I will work to ensure their implementation and enhancement.

I hope to bring a strong, experienced, and motivated voice to Convocation. I have a history as a progressive, feminist and activist, but I also have a great deal of Board and advocacy experience, which I believe makes me someone who can be very effective in moving the LSO’s EDI agenda forward, not backward.

Scope of practice for paralegals and non-licensees

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I support provision of legal services through registered civil society organizations, such as charities and not-for-profit organizations.

Convocation needs to seek meaningful feedback from the profession on important initiatives or changes to practice. This occurs often, but the publication of the Family Law Action Plan (creating a new license for non-lawyers to provide certain family law services) the day before it was approved by Convocation in December 2017 was a low point. The benchers need to work with the family bar to ensure that the activities permitted under the license are suitable to non-lawyers and meet A2J goals.

FOLA asks: Thoughts on Funding Staffed Local Law Libraries

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Frank Addario (Toronto)
Sarah J. Armstrong (Toronto)
Brian A. Babcock (Thunder Bay)
François Baril (Ottawa)
Sandra Barton (Toronto)
Sarit E. Batner (Toronto)
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Lisa Brownstone (Toronto)
Shantona Chaudhury (Toronto)
Mark D. Contini (Toronto)
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Scott K. Fenton (Toronto)
Rosemary A. Fisher (Burlington)
Robin Flumerfelt (Toronto)
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Jacqueline Horvat (Windsor)
Peter Hrastovec (Windsor)
Monique Jilesen (Toronto)
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Eliot N. Kolers (Toronto)
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