Moreau Law, Edmonton
I am running for Bencher in the fall election, and am writing to seek your support. I was called to the bar in 1989, and have practised as a Crown Prosecutor, civil litigator with Witten Binder (as they were then), and as private defence counsel. As such, I have experience working in both small and large firms, as well as in government.
I have been a sessional instructor at the University of Alberta Faculty of Law for the past four years, teaching Sentencing Law, which has been a refreshing change from litigation, and also a learning experience for me.
I have sat on a wide variety of committees relating to the administration of justice, including the Legal Aid High Cost Case Committee, the Court Case Management Committee, the Hearing Office Provincial Implementation Committee, and the Hearing Office Steering Committee. Most recently, I was asked to join the Edmonton Provincial Court COVID Stakeholders working group as well.
For the past 20 years I have been the principal of a small firm oriented to criminal defence work, and have had the opportunity to mentor a number of students-at-law and junior associates. As is often the case with a criminal practice, a lot of work is in the rural areas, and I travel across the province, giving me a good perspective on the unique challenges of rural practice.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the legal profession in many ways, some of which we have yet to discover. It has been a challenge of varying degrees for all of us, but some more than others. All sectors of the profession have been significantly impacted. In my case, I closed the doors of my downtown office, dispatching my former associates off to various other firms, and am now working from a mobile platform. The pandemic, and the response of the courts to it, forced me to evaluate the business side of my practice, and to fundamentally alter the way I do business. I had to make these fundamental changes in a very short time frame, and learned many valuable lessons in doing so.
While the Law Society has taken some worthwhile steps to address some of the problems created by the pandemic, thought needs to be given to what further measures can be taken to support our members.
On a less urgent note, I have long had an interest in two particular topics: the regulation of agents and paralegals, and the recognition and regulation of specialization. Both of these are long-term projects, to which the Law Society needs to direct its attention.
I would like to offer my experiences and the insights gained from them to the governance of our profession. My history of working with both small and large firms has provided experience which could be useful to the Practice Review Committee, as well as the Competence Committee. My 31 years at the bar may be useful to the Conduct and Professional Responsibility Committees as well. I ask for your support.