Three years ago, I wasn’t sure I even wanted to be a lawyer.
If someone told me I would be running in the hotly contested Bencher Election 2019, my response would have been, “What’s a Bencher? What do Benchers do?”
A lot has changed since then. I learned a bunch, messed up a bunch, and ultimately have come to believe that law is a vocation, and this is my calling. Beyond serving individual clients, I want to have an impact on decision-making at the Law Society of Ontario. I cannot do it without your support.
I am an independent voice with lived experience as a young brown Muslim woman. I work on the front line of providing access to justice for regular people. I understand the importance of managing mental health, the difficulties of hanging out a shingle, and the frustration of inefficient systems. I am deeply concerned about barriers to entry and practice in the profession.
I do not pretend to have answers to all (or any) of the problems facing our profession, but my perspective will add value at Convocation. I am running for Bencher because I want to serve my community. In the words of Audre Lorde, “When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”
To better understand my platform, look up any of the following hashtags on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or Facebook:
The Law Society is governed by a board of directors, who are known as Benchers. Their mandate is to govern lawyers and paralegals in the public interest by ensuring licensees meet high standards of learning, competence and professional conduct.
There are 40 elected Benchers. To ensure regional representation, 20 are elected from inside Toronto and 20 are elected from outside Toronto.
Benchers gather at Convocation to make policy decisions and to deal with other matters related to the governance of Ontario’s lawyers and paralegals. Benchers also sit on panels as adjudicators to hear discipline cases concerning conduct, licensing, competence and capacity.
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 to act in a timely, open and efficient manner.
Total voter turnout for elections at the Law Society has steadily declined, falling to 34% in 2015. In Bencher Election 2015, the total eligible recent call voters (under 10 years) was approximately 15,000. Only approximately 4000 of them voted.
This year, fellow candidate Sean Robichaud and I want to see more engagement from this underrepresented demographic. We have a growing list of candidates committed to two things: 1) A donation for every participating voter by a lawyer who was called to the bar in the past 10 years, 2) If elected, a commitment to advancing a recent call category of bencher.
This post is part of YWL's Bencher Candidate Series. In this series, young women bencher candidates under ten years of call explain why they think that Convocation needs young women.
Author: Caryma Sa’d
Caryma Sa’d practices law in the Greater Toronto Area and beyond. She is focused and results-oriented, with sharp analytical problem-solving skills. Her practice is devoted to defending civil liberties, including “crimes of vice” such as sex and drug offenses. She works efficiently to keep your costs down.