The Law Society of Upper Canada’s Annual General meeting May 8 brought out a large number of licensees who spoke to the issue of expanding the Paralegal Scope of Practice. A motion related to the issue had been withdrawn the night before, but nonetheless prompted a strong turnout by both supporters and opposition.
Thomas Conway, Treasurer, chaired the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Annual General Meeting at the Sheraton on Queen Street West, May 8. With deliberate understatement, he noted “This is not a typical AGM.” Expecting a large turnout, the location had been changed to the Osgoode Ballroom at the Sheraton Hotel.
The non-paralegal members who spoke to the issue of expanded practice were passionate in their opposition. Comments included: suggesting that paralegals must be “supervised” to protect susceptible immigrants against possible torture and death; that paralegals cannot do any immigration work; and that paralegals are “forcing their will” on the 40,000 lawyer-members of the Law Society.
Treasurer Conway made an effort to take the sting out of such statements from the floor.
Virginia Selemidis, a paralegal candidate, was among a group of students who made the trip for the AGM. She says Treasurer Conway approached them after the meeting.
“Conway wanted us to know that the feelings expressed by the lawyers at the meeting were a voice of the minority of the overall membership, Selemidis says. “He urged us not to get discouraged as the Law Society valued the paralegals, as do several other lawyers.”