By Melanie Hodges Neufeld
October 4th is the deadline to nominate candidates for the upcoming Bencher Election. Did you know that in addition to candidates by Electoral District, the Law Society is also seeking candidates for the position of New Lawyer Bencher? “New Lawyer” means a member who, at the date of the election, has been admitted to the practice of law in any jurisdiction cumulatively for fewer than 10 years. This is a great opportunity to give back to your profession. As noted by our Executive Director, Tom Schonhoffer, Q.C., in a recent article:
This is no soft sell. Being a Bencher requires a lot of time and hard work. To start with, there are usually a minimum of 10 meeting days per year for Convocation. Extra days can be added, as the volume of work requires. There is also committee work, hearings, investigations and other assorted work. I’m guessing that the average Bencher spends at minimum 15 – 20 working days per year. This is a big commitment.
On the flipside, I have been working with Benchers for more than 20 years and can attest that the Bencher experience is overwhelmingly positive. It’s very interesting work. At the stage in their careers when most lawyers are becoming bored and cynical, being a Bencher provides a renewal of professional interest and the re-invigoration of a legal career. I can prove it, too. The fact is that after the first 3 years, almost all Benchers run for re-election. If you are thinking of running but have questions, I encourage you to speak with our office or a current or past Bencher.
We encourage our members to consider running in their Electoral district or as a New Lawyer Bencher if they qualify. Please complete the nomination form and return to the Law Society as soon as possible.