More than 50 Law Society of Upper Canada members showed up at the regulator’s annual general meeting last night and overwhelming showing their support to keep its 215-year-old name.
The lively debate at Osgoode Hall last night was mixed with passionate comments and bursts of laughter to discuss Federal government lawyer Thomas Vincent’s formal motion in a battle that saw traditionalists and modernists divided.
Jennifer Pagliaro at The Toronto Star further reports:
But few sitting beneath the hall’s ornate chandeliers were onboard with the proposed change.
“I am here to speak for traditions,” said Vern Krishna, former treasurer of the society, sporting a well-trimmed, snow-white handlebar moustache and round spectacles.
Krishna pointed out that the law society is the oldest in the Commonwealth, outdating even Britain’s.
“We have every reason to be proud of our organization,” Krishna said. “There is no confusion in the public mind.”
To much applause, Toronto lawyer Daniel Paul Sommers put the dissent most simply: “Changing our name will not help us do our job better.”
Thornhill lawyer Alan Silverstein pointed out that several other organizations have yet to release their grip on the historical name: Upper Canada College, Upper Canada Brewing Company and even the Jesuit Fathers of Upper Canada.
“And it never hurts to have God on your side,” he said, to the loudest laughter of the evening.
The debate had been percolating through social media for several weeks before the meeting, some commenters drawing attention to the unfortunate pronunciation of the society’s acronym “LSUC.”
According to Sebesta:
A formal vote was not taken at the annual general meeting, however, of the more than 50 members who attended, three supported the motion. Those three were Vincent, Ha-Redeye, and past Ontario Bar Association president Lee Akazaki.
During the meeting, it was estimated the cost to the law society to change its name would be between $1.4 and $1.5 million — a figure that would likely come have to come from increases to member’s annual fees.
The result is unsurprising, but disappointing; particularly after the informal poll I conducted here that garnered
widespread world-wide massive viral a modicum of interest and resulted in a win for the proposed new name:
The League of Extraordinary Ontario Lawyers and Paralegals
Suggestions for new names included the amusing “League of Extraordinary Ontario Lawyers and Paralegals.”
What? No credit or attribution for my poll result? Tsk. Double Tsk. Triple Tsk.
Journalistic mocking aside, I suspect that the decision to reject the motion to change the Law Society of Upper Canada’s name had less to do with the so-called “modernists vs. traditionalists” debate, and more to do with the hefty $1.4-$1.5 million price tag, which likely dampened any enthusiasm when licensees realized they would have to foot the bill through an increase in member’s annual fees.
Perhaps its time to focus on more important matters….like improving the public’s perception of the legal profession, updating the Rules of Professional Conduct to address unethical law marketing and improving equal access to justice.