Obviously, it would be utterly impossible to comprehensively address the topic of ‘Why I Hate the Law Society’ in the depth that it so richly deserves while complying with the LinkedIn limit on the length of a post. So, I will try to just hit the high points.
So, what exactly do I hate about the Law Society? Primarily its arrogance, and the high-handed nature of its decision making.
Way, way back in the 1980s, the Law Society of Upper Canada, as it then was, surveyed its members as part of its process of developing its mission statement. It was clear from reading the survey that it was structured to obtain the results that the Benchers wanted. Being somewhat contrarian, I made a point of answering every question in the opposite manner to what the Law Society wanted to hear. No matter how many ways they posed the same question as to whether the Law Society should have a role to play in protecting the interests of its members, or should solely exist to protect the public, I answered that championing the interests of its members should also be part of its role.
Apparently, I was not alone. Many of the respondents answered the survey in the same way that I did. So many, in fact, that the Law Society announced that many of the survey respondents did not properly understand the role of the Law Society and that they were pleased to announce that the role of the Law Society was to govern the profession in the interest of the public, which was the answer that they were looking for in the first place.
Not a word about taking care of lawyers. I must give the Law Society credit for staying close to its mission statement. It certainly never gave me the slightest hint that it cared about its members.
Fast forward to 2017 when the Benchers decided that the name of the Law Society should be changed from The Law Society of Upper Canada to The Law Society of Ontario, despite abundant evidence that at least half of its members (if not more) preferred the old name. (I for one loved the old name because it was abbreviated ‘LSUC’ which allowed me to say that the Law Society put the ‘suck’ in LSUC). Again they did a survey, this time to choose the new name. Despite knowing that many, if not most, lawyers wanted to retain the old name, they did not even list it as choice in the survey.
There is nothing that the Law Society did during my forty years of membership which changed my mind about them. They certainly did not change my mind when they used my fees to persecute (not just prosecute) Joseph Groia for the high crime of ‘incivility’ right up to Supreme Court of Canada and lost. It sounded very much like a personal vendetta to me. And at my expense.
Now just in case anyone thinks that I have an axe to grind, I don’t. I was a member of the Law Society for 40 years. I did not have a single complaint levied against me or any interaction with them other than to write cheques to them.
And for those who may suppose that I just do not like authority, I would mention in passing that I think that Law Pro (the insurance company which insures all lawyers in Ontario) does a great job, despite being owned by the Law Society of Ontario. Thankfully, LawPro is independently managed.
If you are not a Bencher and disagree and think that the Law Society is doing a great job, please tell me why in the comments.
If you are a Bencher and disagree, please have another glass of wine at the expense of the members, haughtily disapprove of my point of view and turn your head slowly back and forth and mention that I just don’t get it. While you are at it, you may want to lament that I am no longer a member and there isn’t a damn thing that you can do about it. (I hope.)