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Criminal, Real Estate, Human Rights, The Profession

Sa'd hopes to bring diversity to LSO bench

Toronto criminal and landlord/tenant lawyer Caryma Sa’d says she is looking to add diversity and a “fresh perspective” to the ranks if elected as a bencher for the Law Society of Ontario (LSO).

Sa'd tells AdvocateDaily.com that she wants to “understand as much as possible about the inner workings of our law society.”

“I think we’re at a crucial point in time,” says Sa’d, founder and principal of SADVOCACY Professional Corporation, adding that if elected, she plans to keep an open mind to “help shape the direction” of the LSO.

As a relative newcomer to the profession, I am mindful that I have a fair amount to learn. My intention isn’t to go in guns blazing,” she says. “I will take time to listen and ask questions. I am someone who cares and I will bring a fresh perspective from a demographic that is currently unrepresented at Convocation. That’s really the reason I’m running.”

Sa'd says, “It is easy to pay lip service to lofty ideals, but concrete and collective action is urgently required.” If elected she would:

  • promote mental wellness initiatives, including examining the strengths and weaknesses of the current Member Assistance Program
  • advocate for improved support to recent calls and solo/small firms
  • continue to push for platforms to amplify unheard voices

Sa’d maintains the LSO “should be at the forefront of helping lawyers and paralegals serve the public,” and says access to justice includes ensuring that the makeup of the profession reflects the clients and communities it serves.

We should be striving to attain diversity in every form,” she says. “Access to justice doesn’t only mean affordability.”

Sa’d says the LSO must include people who are in touch with the ever-evolving legal landscape.

“Law is transformative profession in the sense that lawyers help shape the laws governing our society. There are systemic barriers to justice that remain unaddressed,” she says. “Hopefully a bit more diversity among the benchers can bring these issues to the forefront.”

Sa’d, who was recently profiled in Law Times, says she would push for the law society to “exert pressure” to combat rising tuition fees at law schools and advocate for educational programs for those who intend to open a small practice.

“Personally, I faced many hurdles when trying to set up my firm,” she says. “We’re taught how to become lawyers, but not how to run a business. I would support the creation of a module or toolkit for lawyers opening their own practice. The process of hanging out one’s own shingle should be less overwhelming.”

Sa’d says she spearheaded the #WhatsABencher social media campaign to elicit discussion about key issues facing Convocation and plans to continue that.

I post daily editorial cartoons which reflect my thoughts and priorities. I’ve been interviewing lawyers, paralegals, and law students, and asking them how they would like to see the next four years unfold. This content is being shared across my platforms on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram,” she says. “I hope that by the time people are casting their votes, they’re going to be very familiar with the campaign.”

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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