Interested lawyers and paralegals encouraged to apply
Toronto — The Law Society of Upper Canada is calling on Ontario
lawyers and paralegals interested in becoming volunteer coaches and advisors to
apply to its new Coach
and Advisor Network (CAN).
Approved by the Law Society’s governing
body last January, CAN is designed to make coaching and advising an integral
aspect of legal competence and culture throughout Ontario.
“We all have
a responsibility to foster collective competence — both in the public interest —
and in the interest of professional renewal and support,” Law Society Treasurer
Paul Schabas told lawyers and paralegals attending a recent CAN information and
volunteer recruitment session. “It’s a very important and ambitious initiative.
While participants will gain by increasing their competence and confidence,
coaches and advisors will also have opportunities to learn and hone their own
skills. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
The network will provide short-term
advisor supports and longer term coaching supports to foster best practices
throughout the professions.
CAN is also designed to respond to the needs
identified by Law Society committees and reports that recognize the barriers
faced by racialized licensees and challenges faced by women in private practice.
While volunteer coaches and advisors are needed in every area of law and
within the paralegal scope of practice, there is particular need in family,
criminal, real estate, civil litigation and wills and estates.
initiative is receiving positive reviews from coaches/advisors and
“I like the idea of the two streams of support — advising
and coaching, in which the participant may choose either or both, depending on
their file issues or goal-setting requirements,” says Toronto paralegal and CAN
volunteer coach and advisor, Minda Bowman. “I hope that the structured sessions
will result in highly positive results for my paralegal peers — and by
extension, their clients. I believe that to overcome one’s own practice and life
challenges, one should enlist and participate in programs to help others in need
Toronto lawyer and CAN participant Shaheem Joya says, “As a
junior lawyer with a solo practice, I found myself between a rock and a hard
place: I wanted to work on files in an area of law where I had little
experience, civil litigation, or risk not finding enough work. At the same time,
I felt a need for guidance by experienced counsel on discrete or general
questions, and I did not have an extended network of advisors.
Coach and Advisor Network put me in touch with an experienced counsel who was
supremely helpful,” he says. “I will definitely urge any lawyers looking to
venture outside their area of expertise, or encountering an issue for the first
time, to reach out to CAN."
Another information session, CAN –
Mentorship Best Practices, was held December 13 and other events are
scheduled to follow as the program continues to evolve.
about CAN are available online.
Society regulates lawyers and paralegals in Ontario in the public interest. The
Law Society has a duty to protect the public interest, to maintain and advance
the cause of justice and the rule of law, to facilitate access to justice for
the people of Ontario and act in a timely, open and efficient manner.
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Media contact: Susan Tonkin,
Communications Advisor, Media Relations, 416-947-7605 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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