Robert Shawyer

Lawyer Candidate – Toronto Region

Priorities

1. Ensuring that a robust and properly funded Pro Bono program thrives across
Ontario; and

2. working with Legal Aid Ontario and the Government of Ontario to ensure a
robust and well funded legal aid system is in place that provides access to
legal services not only for the most disadvantaged but also for those
Ontarian’s who work but can not afford legal services without assistance.

Background

I am the founder of Shawyer Family Law & Mediation PC. My practice focuses on collaborative law, mediation and litigation.

Recently I graduated from the Rotman Independent Corporate Directors Not for Profit Governance Program. I currently sit as a public member of on the Council of the College of Dental Technologists of Ontario (“CDTO”).

As a family law lawyer, I acted as counsel for two separate litigants who challenged the constitutionality of section 31 of Ontario’s Family Law Act in Court and led to the wording of section 31 being amended on December 14, 2017. I am also one of only two lawyers, too challenge Ontario’s adoption law that prevent biological parents from appealing an adoption in Ontario.

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

Candidates I support

Ian Speers
Isfahan Merali
Heather Zordel
Orlando Da Silva

Something the LSO does that it should stop doing

Public Advertising

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

1. The promotion of Pro Bono by the Bar; and

2. Governance Reform through the implementation of light touch regulation

website

www.robertshawyer.com

email

robert@shawyerlaw.ca

social media

@robert_shawyer
https://www.facebook.com/robert.shawyer.9
https://ca.linkedin.com/in/robert-shawyer-m-a-oafm-12923728

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

Expand to read Robert's views
In order to improve access to justice the LSO needs to ensure Pro Bono Ontario’s sustained and ongoing funding. As a bencher I will propose and support a motion that will see $25 of each member’s dues contributed towards PBO’s annual Budget.
Expand to read Robert's views
Good Governance is a journey without end. In order to ensure that Convocation fulfills it primary function, protecting the public and strengthening public trust of the legal profession, Convocation needs to be reformed. If elected Bencher I will propose and support the [reforms listed as Additional Topics on my candidate page]
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The Law Society has no authority or jurisdiction to regulate the tuition charged by Law Schools in Ontario. However, I agree with Orlando Da Silva that something the LSO could do is partner with willing law schools to create incentives for law schools to provide transition training to its students.
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The Statement of Principles have been debated and duly approved and passed by Convocation.

Artificial Intelligence in Legal Service Delivery

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Expand to read Robert's views
The time has come for the LSO to implement a one size fits all set of exams that each candidate seeking to obtain a licensee to practice from the LSO would have to pass.
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I fully support licensees providing unbundled legal services. So long as mandatory training for licensees is in place that the licensee is required to take prior to being able to offer unbundled legal services to the public.
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I do not support and as a bencher would not support entity based regulation. The legal profession is already overly regulated. Adding another layer of regulation would add yet another barrier to entry to lawyers who intend on and want to practice either in a sole or small firm.
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Licensees have a responsibility to provide the public with legal services at a cost that they can afford no matter their income level. Therefore, each licensee has an obligation to be proficient in the use of technology.

Reconciliation and Indigenous Communities

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The LSO has an obligation to support reconciliation. The LSO also has an obligation continue its outreach to the various indigenous communities across Ontario. Finally, the LSO has an obligation to work with the various indigenous communities across Ontario on access to justice initiatives and encourage indigenous enrollment in law school.
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I would support alternative business structures that would allow licensees to enter into partnerships or other types of arrangements with other professionals such as accountants, etc…
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The current advertising rules are effective and should be kept in place. However, referral fees should be banned, especially in the area of real estate law.

Specific Enhancements to Licensing System

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The implementation of a one size fits all set of exams that each candidate seeking to obtain a licensee to practice from the LSO would have to pass.
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No. Continuing Professional Development should be delivered by associations such as the OBA and FOLA.
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Reduce the amount of regulation by transitioning to a light touch regulatory governance scheme similar to the College of Nurses Vision 2020 proposal.
Expand to read Robert's views
I support the current program that has been put in place by the LSO. However, I believe that the LSO can and should do more to promote the utilization of the Lawyer’s Assistance Program.
Expand to read Robert's views
The LSO has expanded into many areas that fall outside it core mandate, which is to regulate the profession in a manner that protects the public. I therefore again agree with my fellow candidate Orlando Da Silva that there should be a line-by-line review of its expenditures with a view to eliminating unnecessary and duplicative costs if it is not already being done.

Diversity and Inclusivity Priorities

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The LSO is on the right track in regards increasing diversity and inclusion.

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 the funding of staffed local law libraries

Other topics

Candidate contributions on additional topics

Expand to read Robert's views
Proactive Regulation – The LSO must be proactive in order to strengthen public trust. The participation of the profession in regulation is the core of self-regulation.

Other topics

Candidate contributions on additional topics

Expand to read Robert's views
Shrink the size of Convocation – A smaller convocation intentionally structured to bring different perspectives, composed of members possessing the required governance competencies, and provided with additional perspectives through feedback from Advisory Groups and stakeholder engagement, will be able to raise and discuss these diverse perspectives more effectively.

Other topics

Candidate contributions on additional topics

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Appoint of Members of Convocation – Members of Convocation selected based on having the competencies required to be a member of a Regulatory body. Doing this will ensure that all members are appointed to Convocation in the same way. Doing so builds mutual respect as each member has met the same expectations and gone through the same process to join the board. Further, the appointment of the members of convocation will ensure and support diversity.

Other topics

Candidate contributions on additional topics

Expand to read Robert's views
Mandatory “Governance Boot Camp” – The LSO should run a Creation of a mandatory “governance boot camp” for licensee interested in participating on the board or committees that would support potential board and committee members understanding the voluntary roles they are considering, and the requirements needed to serve. It would mean that once appointed, they would begin the orientation process with a basic understanding of the roles and expectations.