Bencher election 2015

Re-elect Janet Leiper for Bencher

April 9, 2015

I am running for a second term as bencher to continue serving the profession with energy and enthusiasm. I am a sole practitioner and criminal law specialist with experience in defence, prosecution, ethics, administrative law and law school teaching. I have been in practice in Toronto for 28 years.

During my first term I pressed for a report from Legal Aid Ontario on the woeful state of financial eligibility for legal aid. Convocation received a compelling presentation from LAO which was one of many efforts which led to increased government funding in 2014 for improved financial eligibility: I am pleased that the Law Society made its voice heard, along with others, on the issue.

I also advocated with fellow benchers for increased transparency on the part of the Law Society. We were the first bench to web-cast our proceedings during two key debates: the future of articling and the accreditation of Trinity Western University with more web-casting planned to make our decision making more accessible to the profession. The Law Society business conduct policy is now a public document on the website, another issue I raised in Convocation early in the term.

During the 2011-2014 term I attended Convocation monthly, prepared and spoke on key debates and collaborated with my fellow benchers on policy questions.  I also attended Calls to the Bar and served on a number of standing committees and working Including:

Committee/Working Group Member:

  • Audit and Finance
  • Professional Regulation
  • Access to Justice
  • Bencher Election
  • Costs
  • Bencher Remuneration
  • Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees
  • Hearing Tribunal
  • Appeal Tribunal
  • Tribunal Implementation

Chair/Co-Chair/Vice-Chair Positions:

  • Certified Specialist Board
  • Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees
  • Equity and Aboriginal Affairs
  • Tribunal Committee

As Chair of the Certified Specialist Board, I was part of an awareness campaign for the bar and public, the ongoing pursuit of a new specialty area for indigenous practitioners and ongoing policy oversight of this program which serves the public and the bar in highlighting the abilities of those who choose to specialize and meet the criteria for specialization.

As a member and Chair of the Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group, I have had the opportunity to hear from all around the profession that racialization is a feature in the careers and practices of thousands of lawyers. The working group has worked with diversity organizations, such as CABL, FACL and SABA, as well as the Equity Advisory Group at the Law Society, Legal Leaders for Diversity and the Law Firm Diversity and Inclusion Network to understand and collect data that established how important tackling this issue will be for excellence across the profession and tapping into the talents that a diverse bar bring. Diversity is shown to have better outcomes in decision making and is starting to be a market imperative. Consultations across the province have led to ideas being shared by members of the profession of all background and practice type. This work will continue into the next term and I am keenly interested to play a role in this ongoing project that will benefit the profession and the members of the public who benefit in turn from excellence and diversity.

I have been a part of hearing and appeal panels dealing with issues as varied as mortgage fraud, application of Gladue principles, applicability of restorative justice, stays of proceedings for delay and capacity proceedings. I have contributed to adjudicator training and education and will continue to make time to serve in this capacity if I am re-elected.

Looking Ahead: A Recommendation to Support Isfahan Merali

Part of looking ahead is to plan for succession. I am proud to support the first time candidacy of Isfahan Merali, Counsel with the CCB and a public interest lawyer. Ms. Merali’s record of public service makes her an ideal bencher. She is thoughtful, wise and principled. More on her campaign can be found at:

Precedent magazine wrote on the story of our joint campaign on February 27.

For more information about my campaign (including my bio, views and endorsements) please visit

Janet Leiper

Law School

University of Western Ontario

Year Of Call


Area Of Practice