Q&A: PSC Candidates Answer Question 8

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SCOPE presents the eighth in a series of Q & As for the PSC Election 2014.

All answers are posted at the same time. Candidate names are rotated from time to time, to ensure “alphabetical fairness.”

 

    Question 8:

      Paralegal benchers may be asked to serve on working groups, panels and committees, in addition to the Paralegal Standing Committee. What special skills and experience would you bring to Convocation committees?

 

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Paula Callaghan

It is important for any elected PSC member to serve whenever possible on various committees, working groups, and panels. Their experience and knowledge are essential to the success of these committees and groups in setting standards and goals that help chart the course of the paralegal profession for the future.

I would be honored to sit on any committee that has a need. As a PSC member I would commit to doing whatever is necessary for the advancement of the profession. I am passionate and dedicated to my chosen profession and am well known for putting my all into any project to ensure its delivery and quality.

I am the current Chair of the Policy Committee of the Paralegal Society of Ontario (PSO). In this role, I have ensured that the policy committee meets every month without fail, to discuss and work on the issues that concern the paralegal community. I have encouraged a collaborative approach so that every member’s voice is heard and feels valued. I have gained experience in negotiating varying points of view and achieving consensus on issues such as proposing an amendment to the Legal Aid Services Act, to allow paralegals to access Legal Aid certificates within paralegal permitted scope of practice.

I have also been honored with my recent appointment as Chair to the Paralegal Education Committee of the County of Carleton Law Association to develop and deliver relevant and quality paralegal-specific continuing education courses.

My strengths lie in my passion, my work ethic, and my sincere desire to listen to and understand the concerns of my peers. I will apply these skills to my duties at the PSC.

Learn more about Paula Callaghan

 

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Tami Cogan

 
 

The skills and experiences that I bring to Convocation committees were previously discussed in question #6, and I will re-cap.

 

  • I have substantial experience in listening to people’s positions in emotionally charged discussions and am able to facilitate communication.
  • I am able to listen to all perspectives and find balance between two opposed and difficult positions and encourage them to work toward a common goal that may or may not have been very common in the beginning.
  • I base my arguments in fact not emotion and seek reason over extremes.
    I work with solutions, instead of becoming stuck in a problem.
  • As an advocate I know how to stand my ground, but also when it is more productive to step aside.
  • I advocate for a position with a strong voice.
  • I believe that transparent, good governance will help build a stronger profession. And a stronger paralegal profession will create better access to justice for the public.

Learn more about Tami Cogan

 

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Brian Lawrie

It is a requirement that all Benchers serve on various Law Society Committees; they do so at the pleasure of the Treasurer.

As I mentioned in a previous comment, the work done by the members of these committees is of critical importance to the running of the entire Society, since Convocation relies so heavily on the advice contained in the committee reports.

Joining a committee is not for the faint of heart. The work is intense and constant. It doesn’t take long before the committee members have assessed the value of the contribution made by each participant and formed opinions accordingly. It is not a comfortable place for anyone who finds themselves out of their depth when it comes to debates and to obtaining a favourable decision. The only way to remedy that is through hard work.

For 25 years, prior to Regulation, I was a “Committee of 1” debating and arguing with three Provincial Law Societies simultaneously (Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta). I was threatened and demeaned, challenged and spurned, but, I had the strength of purpose to stand my ground and more than match the various legal counsel when it came to strategy and tenacity.

I have a unique and proven track record in all things “paralegal.” It is this amount of prior knowledge, together with a full appreciation of the professional consequences of each proposal, which allows me to have a broad spectrum approach to all items under discussion in any of the LSUC committees.

I am confident that my skills and experience are more than adequate to allow me to properly attend and positively participate in committee meetings.

Michelle Haigh, Cathy Corsetti and I have the necessary experience in Convocation and the Paralegal Standing Committee to ensure the continued development and expansion of our profession.

Learn more about Brian Lawrie

 

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Jaclyn P. Solomon

I believe I have the background and temperament to be an effective member of any panel, committee, or Working Group that I may be asked to serve with, if elected. I will focus on just two.

Priority Planning:
Planning and priorities are essential. Unafraid of diversity, daily challenges, new technologies, and facing obstacles head-on, I have succeeded. Time management, understanding complexities of setting priorities, and goals… my practical experiences include varied, energetic, and creative input. These are important to this committee in particular. I bring determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.

Managing client’s funds to buy their most valuable asset is a responsibility I take seriously in real estate, and have a successful track record. In a recessive economy, I’ve shown how to survive, and make money. I have the courage to say no, when needed; to face the truth; to do the right thing, simply because it’s right. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. I can be that leader.

Compensation Fund:
This fund can help clients who have lost money because of a paralegal’s dishonesty. My late father always said a man’s worth, is his word; keeping his legacy alive is very dear to my heart.

LSUC’s foremost responsibility as regulator of Ontario’s paralegals is to provide a transparent, fair and principled complaints process. My recipe includes: assertiveness, a pinch of passiveness, stirred with persuasion and charisma, integrity, intelligence, unending energy, blended carefully and served with perfection. I can be relied upon to perform and deliver.

I never know enough, but I know enough to know, I shall always need more knowledge! No amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination. In times of fear, I have shown strength. Knowing how to further define the supply, increase the demand, and quality, can be valuable assets. I shall share, care, proudly wear, all my experiences to the Convocation committees.

The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and determination that, win or lose, I have given the best of me.

Learn more about Jaclyn P. Solomon

 

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Ian Wilkinson

I have the academic background and practical experience that would make me highly effective in a wide range of committees.

My academic background is the first strong suit I have in this regard. Law & Political Science was my undergrad h.B.A. I specialized in Philosophy of Law with my primary area of focus on Theories of Punishment.

I did graduate studies in Public Administration, so I have significant comprehension of legal theory, government and regulatory bodies. With an LL.b. from University of London, I have some depth of knowledge about substantive law.

The coursework list is significant, including:

    Intro to Law, Intro to Canadian Law, Commercial Law, Real Estate Law, Persons and the Law, Judicial Institutions, Political Science Introduction, Data Analysis, Research Methods in Political Science Development of Political Theory, Micro-politics, Canadian Government and Politics, International Law, Canadian Constitutional Law, Comparative Mass Media, Economics Introduction to Economics, Canadian Public Policy, Natural Resources Economics, Canadian Public Finance, Psychology Introduction, Social Psychology, Symbolic Interactionism, Sociology – Understanding Society, Crime and Punishment, Sociology of Law, Philosophy Introduction, Straight Thinking and Argument, Contemporary Moral Issues, Law and Justice: A Philosophical Examination, Organizational Behaviour, Organizational Theory and Design, Canadian Public Administration, Topics in Canadian Public Administration, Topics in Public Administration, Public Personnel Administration, Machinery of Government Public Sector Personnel and Financial Administration, Common Law Reasoning and Institutions, Criminal Law, Elements of the Law of Contract, Public (Constitutional) Law, Land Law, Law of Tort, Law of Trusts, Intellectual Property, Criminology, EU Law, Evidence, Jurisprudence and Legal Theory.

Even so, my practical experience in the legal industry may be even more useful. A practising paralegal for 22 years means I have extensive experience running my own practice. Having franchised paralegal offices in 10 locations in southwestern Ontario gives me a good idea about what new paralegals need, to make it happen in business. Coming from a family of teachers and having myself been a driving and paralegal instructor, I have a real understanding about the educational issues our profession faces.

This combination of skills and experiences makes me an ideal candidate for the PSC.

Learn more about Ian Wilkinson

 

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Michelle Haigh

 
 

During my seven-year tenure at the Law Society, as both an appointed member and a paralegal bencher of the PSC, I have actively participated in the following committees and working groups:
 
 

  • Paralegal Standing Committee
    • Morris Working Group
  • Access to Justice Committee (2 years as co-chair)
    • TAG
  • Government Relations Committee
    • Barristers Act and Solicitors Act Working Group
    • Governance Working Group (which directly affected the increase of paralegal benchers from 2 to 5)
  • Compensation Fund Committee
  • Proceedings Authorization Committee
    • Invitations to Attend/Regulatory Hearings
  • Priority Planning Committee
  • Professional Development and Competence Committee
  • Convocation

Prior to being appointed to the Proceedings Authorization Committee, I was a paralegal adjudicator when the “Good Character” hearings were making their way through the process.

I have also developed skills through:

  • Being a sole practitioner
  • Managing a large litigation department in a law firm setting
  • Specializing in Small Claims Court litigation
  • Being a member of the Program Advisory Board for Paralegal Studies at Sheridan College
  • Being the only paralegal member of the Board of Directors at Legal Aid Ontario.

Because of my experience, I have a well-rounded understanding of the issues, priorities, processes, and inner workings of Convocation. I have been able to further develop and refine my skills for negotiating, prioritizing, and time management.

Prior to being elected in 2010, I managed to dissect the processes and priorities of the Law Society by watching, listening, and participating. It took me a while to feel comfortable and confident. This is normal, and I expect the new members of the PSC to have a transition period. It’s important to attend all meetings, convocation, social events, luncheons and more. This position relies on your ability to be available, persuasive and have an understanding of how to build relationships in a political setting.

Cathy Corsetti, Brian Lawrie and I have the necessary experience in Convocation and on the PSC to ensure the continued development and expansion of our profession.

Learn more about Michelle Haigh

 

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Cathy Corsetti

Members of the Paralegal Standing Committee are also appointed to numerous other committees and working groups. Both the current Treasurer, Tom Conway, and previous Treasurer, Laurie Pawlitza, have made it their policy that a paralegal sits on every committee and working group.

The importance of this policy is twofold: every committee is looking at paralegal issues, and the paralegal is working with other Benchers of the law society.

One very important committee is the discipline and appeal panel. I take pride in serving with the panels and take my appointments very seriously. It is important to protect the public and follow through with the complaint process to give the public confidence in our regulation.

Having over 36 years of paralegal experience has been beneficial to the hearing panel, both in understanding the work done by paralegals, and in providing me with the experience to be an adjudicator.

I have been appointed to numerous committees, including Co-Chair of Access to Justice, and working groups over the past four years, along with an external appointment to Library Co. I have met and worked with many other Law Society stakeholders. I would not have had the opportunity to work with them otherwise. I believe making these friendships has helped me to promote our profession.

Make sure that, when voting starts on March 12, the candidates you vote for have the time and the passion to do the job.

Michelle Haigh, Brian Lawrie and I have the necessary experience in Convocation to ensure the continued development and expansion of our profession.

Learn more about Cathy Corsetti

 

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Question 9:

    Q 9 – What makes you unique, as a Candidate? What sets you apart?

 

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