The Law Society is a bloated bureaucracy. It spends more money than any other regulator in Ontario. It has more employees than any other regulator. Lawyers pay higher fees than doctors, not to mention psychologists, nurses and accountants. 

    Over the past four years, our StopSOP benchers did their best to curb spending, reduce fees, and increase transparency. They were obstructed at every turn by the majority, who protected the status quo. 

    Salary Secrecy

    The Law Society has over 550 full-time equivalent employees. Salaries and benefits account for about $72,000,000 of the 2023 budget (an average of about $130,000 each). How many employees make huge salaries? We don’t get to know that. We can’t even tell you how much the CEO takes home as salary. It’s a secret. 

    In May 2022, two StopSOP benchers moved to require the LSO to disclose how many of its employees make over $200,000 and the names and amount of the salaries for those above $300,000. The majority pushed the issue into a “Salary Disclosure Working Group”, which met once in 2022 and, despite our best efforts, never again. 

    Compensation Fund 

    The Compensation Fund compensates victims of lawyer or paralegal fraud. Members pay a portion of their fees into the fund. The Law Society Act requires that all Comp Fund monies be devoted to the claims of beneficiaries except for "the costs of its administration...necessarily incidental to the administration of the Fund." Shortly after the bencher election in 2019, StopSOP (now FullStop) bencher Lubomir Poliacik, as Vice-Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee, reviewed past budgets and noticed that, in some years, more than 90% of the Comp Fund levies were used to cover the Law Society’s general operating expenses. These levies were scooped before even making it into the Fund. While the practice appeared to have stopped in 2017, it was never formally prohibited.

    Poliacik’s efforts to end this practice permanently were rebuffed. Accordingly, he and other StopSOP benchers filed a Notice of Special Convocation to address the issue. Establishment benchers vociferously objected. The matter was instead pushed off to committee. In February 2020, members of the Audit and Finance Committee brought forward a motion to prohibit the use of funds levied for the Compensation Fund for purposes other than contributing to the Comp Fund. Despite the earlier invective directed at the StopSOP benchers, our initiative passed unanimously. 

    Transparency is Essential

    The Law Society hides deliberations in committees, whose proceedings are confidential. Any disclosure of anything that comes up at committee can and will result in a Bencher Code of Conduct complaint … at least for benchers on our slate. 

    FullStop benchers will remove blanket confidentiality from committees. There will be occasional circumstances in which it may be necessary, but it is presently used to hide the bulk of Convocation deliberations from members. We are a self-governing profession. The Law Society consists of some members governing the rest of us. We deserve to see what’s going on inside the vault. “Good governance” is not done in the shadows.