If you’re a lawyer in Ontario, you are well aware that the Bencher elections start in April. To put it simply, benchers are to the Law Society of Upper Canada (the regulating body of Ontario lawyers) what a board directors are to a corporation. Every lawyer has 40 votes – 20 votes for lawyers from Toronto and 20 votes for lawyers outside Toronto. Those are a lot of votes and its hard to keep track of who is running and what their platforms are. Amid all the noise surrounding the candidates, I’d like to endorse one – Monica Goyal.
In full disclosure, I happen to know Monica personally. We went to law school together, attended many of the same classes and even worked together on a couple of group assignments. I also worked with her briefly in late 2009. Having known Monica personally and professionally, I am comfortable in endorsing her and believe that she will be a worthy bencher and bring a much-needed fresh and innovative perspective to the Law Society.
Monica is the founder of My Legal Briefcase – an online application that automates much of the small claims process in Ontario. Access to justice is a well-known problem with high lawyer fees putting legal representation out of the reach of many people and businesses who need it. My Legal Briefcase allows people who need the service to access the small claims court services in a manner that is accessible both in terms of wide reach of the internet application and the affordable prices. The sentiment behind My Legal Briefcase is representative of what motivates Monica as she runs for bencher.
Besides access to justice issues, Monica understands the problems faced by young lawyers (defined as lawyers recently called to the bar) especially those that have entered the legal profession in the recent economic downturn. Not only does she have strong views on how the Law Society should be helping young lawyers (as in providing a graduated, scaling method of charging annual fees), she also believes that lawyers should be helping themselves by innovating how they provide legal services and leveraging technology to make their practices more efficient. To demonstrate how Monica innovates with technology, she has been conspicuously involved in setting up the virtual town-halls that are taking place for the bencher elections.
Having worked with Monica myself, I know her to be hard-working, a go-getter and never afraid to try something new – while still being suitably cautious of the risks involved. She has her heart in the right place and many new ideas on how to improve the legal profession for both lawyers and those who need legal protection. If you are wondering who to vote for, please give Monica a serious thought and consider voting for her.