My name is Jim Lutz, and I am running for re-election as a Bencher of the Law Society of Alberta for a third term.
I became a Bencher in 2018 to promote good governance, which I believe engenders high ethical and professional standards amongst the Alberta bar, benefiting society at large. Prior to being a Bencher, I represented lawyers pro-bono at disciplinary proceedings and volunteered on the Criminal Practice Advisory Committee (2004-2007) and the Provincial Court Case Management Committee (2005-2008). I was a Board member of the Calgary Bar Association (2010-2017) and later President of that organization (2016).
I am proud to have contributed as a Bencher to successfully promote inclusivity, equitability, and diversity in our membership. As Benchers, we have created an expedited reinstatement process, removing barriers to make practicing law in Alberta more accessible.
I have volunteered for numerous governance and regulatory tasks as a Bencher, including past Chair and Vice Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee; current Vice Chair of the Conduct Committee; current member of the Policy and Regulatory Reform Committee (2 terms) and Lawyer Competence Committee (2 terms) as well as the Practice and Foundation Task Force.
I was one of two Benchers on the Legal Aid Society of Alberta Nomination Committee, helping to ensure that the Board fulfills its mandate of access to justice for vulnerable Albertans.
I practice criminal law full-time in a small firm representing clients throughout Western Canada. For the past 32 years I have appeared at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada. My experience as a senior practitioner gives me a broad perspective to draw on as a Bencher. My work with the CBA has expanded my insight to include medium and large firm practices. I am keenly aware of the complex decisions necessary to stay competitive.
My volunteer work included acting as an instructor for the Bar Admission Course (PREP), Calgary Police Service, Calgary Fire Department, Legal Education Society of Alberta (LESA), University of Calgary Trial Advocacy Program, Faculties of Medicine and Social Sciences, Mount Royal University and Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. I have guest lectured at the Domestic Violence and Family Violence Seminars. I have also volunteered for Calgary Legal Guidance and Student Legal Assistance for many years, and I have mentored Canadian Bar Association students.
These experiences have helped me understand the needs of junior and senior practitioners and the obstacles to professional practice and business operations in our rapidly changing legal landscape.
My mandate is simple. I am committed to enhancing lawyers’ education and training and promoting high ethical standards and public accountability.
Please vote in the upcoming Bencher election. You shape the profession and the future of Alberta lawyers’ path to success. I would be honoured to serve you for the next three years.