Elect Claire Wilkinson as your Bencher on April 30, 2019

Law Society of Ontario Bencher Candidate
- Central West Region -

About Claire Wilkinson


I have practiced civil litigation at a small firm since 1995. In 2001, I bought out my practice from my mentor, Bruce Hillyer, and began practising personal injury litigation in association with a number of interesting and talented colleagues at Martin & Hillyer Associates, a personal injury focussed firm in Burlington, Ontario.  In addition to other areas of personal injury practice, I have a particular focus representing survivors of sexual abuse.

Throughout my legal career I have always made the time to volunteer by becoming involved in my location county law association (Halton) and by sitting on various charitable boards, including the Halton Lung Association, The AIDS Network in Hamilton, and more recently, Mind Forward Brain Injury Services. As well, I was on the Executive of the Halton County Law Association for 17 years, serving as its President from 2010-12. I was also on the Board of Directors of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA) for 15 years, serving as its President from 2017-2018. I also speak regularly at conferences, including presenting for OTLA, the Advocates Society, The Canadian Defence Lawyers, the Halton County Law Association, the Hamilton Law Association, Osgoode Law School Professional Development, the Ontario Bar Association, and the Canadian Institute. The past few months I have also had the pleasure of working with Ontario Court of Appeal Chief Justice Strathy and his committee on the case management project one judge model, which will be available for lawyers to apply to commencing in February 2019. 

I have also been an Ontario Governor for the American Association for Justice since 2013.  In this capacity I have attended conferences and board meetings throughout the United States and Canada. The American Association for Justice focusses on consumer protection and access to justice for injured people.

I don’t just talk about getting involved.I roll up my sleeves and get the job done.


My bencher campaign is endorsed by: 

  • The Ontario Trial Lawyers Association

  • Malcolm Mercer, Treasurer of the Law Society

  • Eugene Meehan (Past President, Canadian Bar Association)

  • Pascale Daigneault (Past President, Ontario Bar Association)

  • Ed Upenieks (Past President, Ontario Bar Association)

  • Sonia Bjorkquist (Immediate Past President, The Advocates Society)

  • Mike Winward (Chair of the Federation of Ontario Law Associations)

  • Sam Misheal (President, Halton County Law Association)

  • Ron Bohm (President, Ontario Trial Lawyers Association)

  • Ken Kelertas (President Elect, Halton County Law Association)

  • Rachael Pulis (Immediate Past President, Halton County Law Association)

  • Allen Wynperle (President Elect - OTLA, Past Pres. Hamilton Law Association)

  • Ross Earnshaw (Bencher and Pres. of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada)

  • Andrew Spurgeon (Bencher for Central South and Past Pres. Hamilton Law Association)

  • Michael Eizenga (Past Pres., The Advocates Society)

  • Roger Oatley (Past Pres., The Advocates Society)

  • Philippa Samworth (Past Pres., The Advocates Society)

  • Susan Gunter (Past Pres., Canadian Defence Lawyers)

  • and others…


If you elect me, my priorities are:



Access to justice and streamlining litigation procedures

Access to justice continues to be a critical issue facing our Ontario court system. The backlog of cases is extensive, and judicial resources are being stretched thin. Ongoing efforts are being made by the administrators of the Ontario court system to embrace systems and procedures that will reduce trial time, and streamline the litigation process.



Amendments to the Solicitors Act and Regulations regarding contingency fees and a province wide standardized contingency agreement

Through my work as President of OTLA, I had the opportunity to work closely with the Ministry of the Attorney General and the LSO regarding changes to the Solicitors Act. Collaboratively we worked together to support legislative changes that are in the public interest, and increase transparency to the consumer.  


Continuing financial support to the county law libraries

The Law Society also needs to continue supporting funding for county law associations and county law libraries.   During my 17 years serving on the Executive of the Halton County Law Association, I saw first hand the extent to which small firms and solo practitioners rely upon the resources, research assistance and education provided by local law associations. 



Ensure that paralegal representation in family law matters involves employment at a law firm and supervision by a lawyer.

Another issue facing our profession is the expansion of the scope of independent paralegal practice in the area of family law. There are many unrepresented litigants in family law matters, and increased involvement of paralegals in family could help improve this situation.


The Law Society needs benchers who are prepared to work hard, work collaboratively, and to speak their minds. I intend to do all three.


I want to hear from you!

The LSO has a challenging mandate: it serves the public, but it also needs to be responsive to the needs of its members.  Unfortunately, it may sometimes seem as though the Law Society is out of touch with practitioners, and is not effectively addressing the concrete issues they are dealing with in their day-to-day practices.  It’s important for benchers to listen to the members they represent to understand the issues facing the profession, and to ensure the Law Society is doing its part to address them.

As a bencher and a bencher candidate, I want to hear from you about the issues you think the Law Society can do a better job of addressing.  Please take a moment to let me know your priorities for the Law Society over the coming term, and find out more about where I stand on the issues that matter most to you!