Jeff Cowan

About Jeff Cowan

Partner of WeirFoulds LLP. Former Managing Partner. Public law (including professional self-regulation) and real estate litigation, arbitration and mediation. Co-editor, with Derry Millar, of Ontario Annual Practice.

Member of Secretariat of the Civil Rules Committee, Divisional Court Users Committee, Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice Administrative Law Committee, Advocates’ Society, OBA, Toronto Lawyers Association, ADRIO. Head of Public Law Section of Bar Admission Course and thereafter member of the BAC Barristers Bar Advisory Group.

Past director Advocates’ Society, past Chair and current executive member of OBA Administrative Law Section. Recipient of the SOAR Medal for outstanding service to the administrative justice system of Ontario and OBA dedicated service award.

Recognized by Lexpert, Best Lawyers, and Martindale-Hubbell.

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Experience and Commitment to Change

Globalization and its economic impact, rapid technological advances, Ontario’s changing society, and available government resources pose challenges to the legal profession and to the administrative, civil, criminal and family justice systems. They are also opportunities for the LSO to demonstrate continuing leadership.

The LSO must be proactive in its regulatory role, while listening to lawyers and assisting them in adapting to the evolving legal environment and the need for change. It must defend their independence and that of the judiciary and tribunals, ensure delivery of legal services effectively and efficiently, and act in the public interest.

My experience, both as a managing partner and a participant in the civil and administrative justice systems, has taught that active listening, strategic planning and adaptive change are “necessary and good”. Progressive ideas and plans have been put forward by the Benchers to date, which I support. Action and implementation require commitment and hard work.

Vulnerable and marginalized people continue to face barriers in all justice systems. Access to justice must be improved through ongoing collaboration and advocacy with government, courts and tribunals, Legal Aid Ontario, ACLCO, ProBono Ontario and other justice stakeholders.

I support the need for continuing governance reform and inclusiveness in the profession to better represent the diverse communities it serves. As a managing partner and the father of a daughter who is a lawyer called in 2013 the impediments particularly facing young, racialized, Indigenous, and women licensees in law, and the need for continued promotion of meaningful equity have been brought home to me. My firm has been actively involved with the Equity Advisory Group, and is a member of the Law Firm Diversity and Inclusion Network.

Aussi, il est très important pour moi d’encourager le bilinguisme et l’offre active de services juridiques en français en Ontario.

Accordingly, I encourage you also to vote for other candidates who best reflect the diversity of our profession.

My LSO experience has strengthened my commitment to improved assistance, competencies, and alternative training models for entry to the profession and the initial years of practice. Practice and conduct review of lawyers should include compliance-based entity regulation, be guided by sound risk assessment principles, and provide for diversion rather than prosecution when appropriate.

My experience reinforces my commitment to ongoing change, and to service to the public and the profession.

I ask for your support. It would be a privilege to serve.

Jeff Cowan Signature

Jeff’s Colleagues Agree

Raj Anand, Lawyer, Litigation Practice, WeirFoulds

Convocation and the legal profession will be very lucky to have Jeff’s knowledge, experience and sensitivity in tackling the issues that the Law Society faces in the next term. In the realm of access to justice, there are few Ontario lawyers who have the expertise in civil and administrative justice that Jeff will bring to the table.

– Raj Anand, Bencher

Lisa Borsook, Lawyers, Commercial Leasing Practice Group, WeirFoulds LLP

It is part of our firm history to require commitment to the highest principles of the legal profession, to expect that each of us will support diversity and inclusion in our ranks, and to insist upon integrity and hard work in the advancement of all members of the profession and in our profession’s governance. These qualities are part of Jeff’s DNA as well. There is no doubt that these are challenging times. It is therefore all the more fundamental that our benchers understand these challenges with sensitivity, sophistication and perspective. Jeff is well qualified to do this on all of our behalf.

– Lisa Borsook

Jill Dougherty, Lawyer, Litigation Practice, WeirFoulds

Jeff’s commitment to excellence, his fundamental fairness and decency, his strong work ethic, and his determination and skill in supporting and promoting equity and diversity in the profession will make him an excellent Bencher. Jeff was an early and active supporter of alternative work arrangements at the firm, which benefited me and many others. As Jeff’s former “junior”, friend and partner, I have had the advantage of his support, generosity and mentorship. These qualities will also make him a Bencher of worth.

– Jill Dougherty

Derry Millar, Lawyer, Litigation Practice, WeirFoulds

Jeff will be a wonderful Bencher. He will bring to the role of Bencher, his passion and commitment to diversity, equity and the importance to our democracy of strong self-governing professions for lawyers and paralegals acting in the public interest. He will work to support all practitioners, whether in sole practice or large firms. Jeff understands the problems and challenges faced by sole practitioners and small firms. Jeff has made an invaluable contribution to the legal profession and the public of Ontario in his many roles since his Call to the Bar. I ask you to join with me in supporting Jeff for Bencher.

– Derry Millar, Former Treasurer

Marie-Andrée Vermette

Jeff sera un excellent conseiller. Il est réfléchi et toujours à l’écoute, il travaille fort et il a la volonté, l’expérience et les habiletés nécessaires pour contribuer à l’amélioration de notre profession.

– Marie-Andrée Vermette

Frank Walwyn, Lawyer, Litigation Caribbean Practice, WeirFoulds

I can speak personally to Jeff’s commitment to wrestling with the issues facing the legal profession, his work ethic and his fervour. I have worked with a number of legal organizations with members from sole and small firms. I know that Jeff will listen to the members of the profession in that space, and represent them with the same drive and integrity that he brings to all his actions. He will make an excellent Bencher.

– Frank Walwyn

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