The Distinguished Paralegal Award has a new name.
Convocation voted today to rename the annual honour the “William J. Simpson Distinguished Paralegal Award,” in honour of former Bencher Simpson’s contribution to paralegal regulation under the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC).
The change is retroactive, to affect past recipients Brian Lawrie and Elaine Page, and current recipient Paula Stamp.
Simpson was instrumental in developing paralegal licensing, as chair of the LSUC Paralegal Task Force; that group made recommendations to the Attorney General about how to accomplish paralegal licensing. The task force’s report to Convocation passed unanimously. When the legislation was introduced, it incorporated much of the task force’s extensive work.
Simpson was a Bencher from 1999 to 2011. He co-chaired the Access to Justice Committee, and served as vice-chair of the Paralegal Standing Committee. An Ottawa lawyer, Simpson was called to the Bar in 1967. He has practised in civil litigation, professional negligence, and employment. He received the Law Society Medal (1994), Ontario Bar Association Award for Distinguished Service, and County of Carleton Law Association Medal.
In 2011, Simpson wrote:
“Our members for more than 20 years sought a resolution to the problems presented by unregulated non-lawyers delivering legal services. Agents had the right, by legislation, to appear in Provincial Offences Court, Small Claims Court and Boards and Tribunals. The amendments to the Law Society Act in 2006 gave the Law Society the mandate to govern those paralegals. Since then, without any costs to lawyers, the regulation of paralegals has been successful.”