Bencher candidate Tailor looks to bring 'fresh perspective' to LSO
By Tony Poland, AdvocateDaily.com Associate Editor
Mississauga family lawyer Deepa Tailor says she is running for Law Society of Ontario (LSO) bencher because the “regulation of the legal profession should reflect the demographics of the lawyers within it.”
Tailor, managing director of Tailor Law Professional Corporation, tells AdvocateDaily.com she wants to bring a “fresh perspective” to Convocation and provide a voice to recent calls to the profession.
"I truly believe that somebody needs to be representing younger lawyers, especially when you’re talking about licensing, articling and how you access the profession,” she says. “I'm hoping to be a voice for sole proprietors and small-firm lawyers. I started my practice really early on in my career, so I understand the challenges young lawyers will face when setting out on their own.”
Tailor says that despite a large number of lawyers who are recent calls to the bar, “we are severely underrepresented” at Convocation.
She says young lawyers starting out in the profession could benefit from more LSO support.
"It's a very much sink-or-swim approach, where you're expected to get all the law society regulations correct, but there's no training,” Tailor says. “One of my recommendations would be to provide guidance on the actual set-up process of your business. My goal would be for the LSO to take a more proactive approach to regulate the profession instead of the punitive approach we have now.”
She says she worked diligently to develop a comprehensive platform, and if elected she would:
- advocate on behalf of sole practitioners and small firms
- provide a voice for young lawyers
- support the expansion of the LSO’s Parental Leave Assistance Program
- work to expand the LSO Coaching and Advisor Network
- raise concerns about legal education and licensing issues
- vote no to expanding paralegal scope of practice in family law
- encourage equity, diversity and inclusion
- seek financial accountability for the LSO
Tailor says she is firmly opposed to unsupervised paralegal practice in family law, arguing the work is “complex and nuanced.”
“I think much of the commentary on expanding paralegal scope of practice in family law has revolved around competency issues, and those are also legitimate concerns in my mind,” she says.
“You can't learn through a licensing credential with the law society what it takes people years to learn in law school. You learn legal analytics skills throughout the law school process and family law, in particular, is very case law heavy. You need to have those skills."
The “stakes in family law are high,” and lawyers often work with vulnerable parties, Tailor says, adding she believes there is a potential for supervised paralegal practice as part of a family law firm, similar to how law clerks support lawyers.
“I work very closely with my law clerk on matters where she does the first draft of court documents or the financial statements. Paralegals who have that type of credential would be valuable in a quasi-substantive, quasi-administrative capacity," she says. "However, it’s a problem when the paralegal can act in certain aspects of family law, but they can't actually complete the file.”
Expanding paralegal scope of practice will not necessarily save people money in the long run “because you're paying for them to do the work and then if you need to go to court, you are paying another professional to get caught up to speed on your file on short notice to take your matter to completion," Tailor says.
She says her experience as a young lawyer building her own practice gives her a “unique and valuable” perspective.
“It’s interesting to me that more senior members of the profession question why they should vote for people who don't have their ‘lived’ experience. My response is that I understand what the legal market is like in the present day. I know the licensing process and how it interacts with new and upcoming lawyers because I've been through it," Tailor says.
"The legal market has changed, and my 'lived' experience from being a more recent call who has started and found success in her own practice is a vital perspective that I would be bringing to Convocation.
"It's not about the number of years in practice.”
Forty lawyer benchers will be elected — 20 from inside Toronto and 20 from outside. The deadline for voting is 5 p.m. April 30, 2019.
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