I have been a member of the Ontario bar since 1980. I am pleased to endorse Anita Szigeti’s candidacy for Law Society Bencher. I have known Anita for more than 15 years. Together we founded the Mental Health Legal Committee, an organization of lawyers working for the rights of mental health consumers. Working tirelessly as its volunteer chair, Anita helped grow the MHLC into an organization with the stature to present Amicus briefs in courts and tribunals up to the Supreme Court of Canada. (It’s no small thing that Anita, with just the resources of a two-person law firm, represented the MHLC at the S.C.C. – and won.)
I continue to be impressed by her intelligence and by the energy she brings to her work in a busy trial and appellate practice as well as publishing in her field and parenting two adorable children.
Anita has a genuine and long-standing concern about access to justice by vulnerable Ontarians. I agree with her that adequate funding of Legal Aid is critical in this regard. Underfunding affects the career choices of both new and established lawyers, further reducing the number of advocates available to people of modest means. The delays that result when parties are obliged to represent themselves in court slow down the system for everyone. It is an issue that should be of concern to all members. No one is better suited to address this issue than Anita.
Each member is entitled to vote for up to 20 bencher candidates in the GTA. I can’t think of a better way to give Legal Aid funding the attention it deserves than to reserve one of those votes for Anita Szigeti.