A standing ovation punctuated paralegal bencher Paul Dray’s last meeting at Convocation, Feb. 27.
Dray is not running for re-election to the Paralegal Standing Committee (PSC), so the Feb. 27 Convocation was his last. Speeches and a legal all-star luncheon helped to send the long-serving paralegal off in style.
Treasurer Tom Conway spoke to Convocation about Dray’s history with the Law Society and thanked him for his guidance and leadership. Appointed a lay bencher in 2003 by then-Attorney General Norm Sterling, Dray was a key player in developing the regulatory framework of 2006. He was elected a paralegal bencher in 2010 and worked under six treasurers.
Attorneys General Instrumental in Paralegal Regulation
Dray thanked the current and former Attorneys General who attended a luncheon in his honour. These included Michael Bryant — who brought in the Access to Justice Act and appointed Dray to chair the PSC — and John Gerretsen, who introduced legislation that updated the Solicitors’ Act and increased the number of paralegal benchers from five to two.
Speaking to members of the legal profession who gathered for the retirement luncheon, Dray thanked former Attorney General Chris Bentley, who raised the small claim limit. Dray complimented senior LSUC staff and PSC members for their work on behalf of the profession.
Dray said he has seen a change in attitude among lawyer benchers and his paralegal colleagues, since regulation. “Law Society regulation is the best thing that could have happened in recognizing paralegals as a profession,” he said. “Convocation led the way in providing more access to justice, by regulating paralegals. Now is not the time to stop being the leaders in access to justice.”
Dray said his proudest moment was becoming licensed by the Law Society of Upper Canada and becoming a member with equal standing, under the rules and regulations.
After 14 years as a police officer in Peel region, Dray joined the City of Brampton as an Enforcement Officer. Later, he worked in the City’s Legal Services Department for 15 years, becoming Manager of Prosecutions before he retired, in 2005. He was Project Manager for the city during the Provincial Offences responsibility transfer to the municipality, and advised the Transfer Team. Dray was a key member of the team that designed and built the new Provincial Offences Court in Brampton.
Dray founded and served as president of the Prosecutors’ Association of Ontario. As president of the Professional Paralegal Association of Ontario, he worked with the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) and the government, advocating for paralegal professional recognition. He was appointed by the Attorney General as a lay bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada in 2003.
When paralegal legislation passed, in 2006, Dray was appointed as a Paralegal Bencher and chaired the PSC. Elected as a Bencher in the first paralegal election in 2010, Dray continued to provide input into the development of educational standards for paralegals. He was involved in establishing the Paralegal Degree Program at the Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning, and is Chair of the college’s Advisory Board. He is also an Advisory Board Member of the Paralegal Diploma program at Sheridan College.
Dray has twice been appointed by the Attorney General to the Board of Directors of Legal Aid Ontario.
He operates Paul Dray Legal Services Professional Corporation, which provides prosecutorial and enforcement training services for municipalities and other government agencies. His company is retained by 27 municipalities and agencies to conduct prosecutions in Provincial Offences Court, including the Guelph Crown Attorney’s Office, where he works as a Provincial Prosecutor. Dray lectures extensively about the Provincial Offences Act, by-law drafting, courtroom processes and prosecutions.