KRISTIN MUSZYNSKI

East Regional Representative

Kristin is a partner with Templeman Menninga LLP in Kingston, Ontario. 

kmuszynski @ tmlegal.ca

NATHAN BAKER

Central East Regional Representative 

Nathan is a partner with Atiken Robertson Professional Corporation in Peterborough, Ontario

neumanbaker @ yahoo.ca

SONYA JAIN

Family Law Committee Chair

Sonya is with HGR Graham Partners in Barrie, Ontario

sjain @ hgrgp.ca

About Us

KELLY LOVELL

Executive Assistant to the Board 

Kelly is Executive Assistant to the Board and has been with CDLPA and now FOLA for over 20 years.  She is based in Owen Sound, Ontario

kelly.lovell @ fola.ca

MICHAEL RAS

Executive Director

Michael is Executive Director for FOLA, based in Mississauga, Ontario

mike.ras @ fola.ca

BRIGID WILKINSON 

Northeast Regional Representative 

Brigid is a lawyer with Evans, Bragagnolo & Sullivan LLP in Haileybury, Ontario

bwilkinson @ ebslawyers.com

WILLIAM WOODWARD 

2nd Vice Chair

Bill is a partner with Dyer Brown LLP in London, Ontario

WWoodward @ dyerbrownlaw.com

MIKE WINWARD, 1st Vice Chair and Treasurer

Mike is a partner with Mackesy Smye LLP in Hamilton, Ontario 

winward @ mackesysmye.com

ELDON HORNER

Past Chair

Eldon is a partner with Horner & Pietersma in Morrisburg, Ontario

ehorner @ hp-lawyers.com

The Federation of Ontario Law Associations (FOLA) represents the interests of more than 12,000 practising lawyers working in communities across Ontario.  Our members are typically private-bar lawyers who are business owners as much as they are professionals. 

We’re an important professional association with a big mandate.  Our primary mandate is to advocate and promote the legal profession and deal with the ever changing business of providing legal services in Ontario.  We also provide an important professional networking, communication and informal professional development platform for our members.


For most of our history we were known as "CDLPA - The County & District Law Presidents' Association" - but in November of 2015, the Presidents voted to change our name to better reflect what we had become, and what we aspire to be.  We are more than the representatives of the "Presidents" of local law associations across Ontario; we are representatives and advocates for all lawyers in private practice and who choose to be represented by their local law associations.  

FOLA Executive Members and committee volunteers are dedicated volunteers from a wide variety of practice backgrounds.  FOLA relies on its ability to attract strong people to speak and advocate on specific issues on behalf of the entire membership.  The ability to consult with the practising lawyers of Ontario and to reach a consensus on these same issues has long been a strength of the organization.


The Important Role of Lawyers in Ontario Society

The provision of legal services is an important industry in Ontario, and not just to the lawyers who practice and earn a living in the profession.  Having access to legal services is critical to Ontario’s business community, to families who need to navigate the family law system, to those who stand accused of a crime and to anyone who wants to properly execute a will or complete a real-estate transaction.  In other words, legal services are a critical part of Ontarians everyday lives, to our economy and to the proper functioning of our democratic institutions.

An Ever-Evolving Profession

The business of law and the provision  is legal services are undergoing a profound change in Ontario and across Canada.  The court system across Ontario is under extreme funding pressure as our government struggles to keep up with growing demands and competing priorities.  At the same time the complexity of our laws and regulations is greater than ever. The legal services industry is being transformed by new technologies, different business models and increased competition from various consultants and professional service providers who are not trained or licensed lawyers.

FOLA is not the regulator of lawyers in Ontario, but we work closely with our regulator – the Law Society of Upper Canada – on matters of professional standards, integrity and the new business realities of our profession.  We share the Law Society’s goal and mandate to promote the highest of ethical and professional standards for our industry and work collaboratively with the Law Society to constantly update and review our codes of conduct, regulations and guidelines to ensure they meet the needs of the modern legal profession and the expectations of the general public.




FOLA Executive 2017 - 2018

what we do


Advocacy

FOLA's primary mandate is to advocate on behalf of its members and the legal industry.  We regularly engage the Ontario and Federal government, the Law Society of Upper Canada, and other stakeholder groups, such as business associations, in our efforts to promote the role of lawyers in Ontario’s social and business fabric. 


We engage through direct communication with elected officials and civil servants, through the media and through partnerships and alliances with like-minded industry groups.  FOLA often collaborates with other legal professional associations and constantly seeks out the best and most effective methods to advance our interests.

FOLA will aggressively and persistently stand up for the interests and integrity of the legal profession in Ontario because we believe strongly that our profession is critical to the functioning of Ontario’s economy, its social fabric and its democratic institutions.

FOLA's Executive Director, Michael Ras,  acts as an advisor to the Executive and to local association members across Ontario and is a spokesperson and advocate on behalf of the Association.

Committees

To deal with the many issues affecting the legal profession, FOLA regularly strikes working committees on specific subject or practice areas such as real-estate or family law or on topics of interest to the legal profession, such as access to law libraries or alternative business structures.  These committees are struck by the Executive and confirmed at the semi-annual Plenary where reports from the committees and other interested stakeholders are heard and debated. Our committees produce considered and comprehensive policy recommendations which are used in consultations with government or the Law Society as they develop new policy, laws or regulations.

Issues

Currently, the issues of greatest interest to FOLA are symptomatic of the major transformations sweeping the legal industry and of the financial pressures facing the administrators of our justice system. These issues include:

  • Ensuring there is appropriate and adequate access to justice across Ontario, regardless of income or geography 


  • Continued access to Law Libraries in courthouses across Ontario, particularly in some of our smaller community courts


  • Pushing for adequate levels of Legal Aid funding and affordable access to justice in communities across Ontario, particularly for disadvantaged communities and rural or remote communities


  • Funding the appropriate levels of judicial resources, particularly in smaller communities in rural and remote Ontario


  • The efficient operation of our judicial system, particularly with respect to promoting the use of technology in our court system


  • Court security and the balance between appropriate security, public access and the protection of confidential and privileged information carried by lawyers


  • The particular business challenges faced by lawyers in sole and small practice


  • Diversity of the legal profession in Ontario


  • The appropriate role for paralegals and other professional consultants in the provision of legal services


FOLA is working collaboratively with government and other stakeholders to find solutions to these vexing public policy challenges and to represent the best interests of the legal profession in all of these discussions.  For many of these issues, short-term solutions are unrealistic, but FOLA will continue to press decision makers and present workable solutions and suggestions.

About Us

Federation of Ontario Law Associations 

JOHN KRAWCHENKO

Central South Regional Representative 

John is a partner with John Krawchenko Professional Corporation in Hamilton, Ontario

jok @ krawchenkolaw.com

MARGARET WADDELL

Toronto Lawyers Association Representative

Margaret is Counsel with Phillips Gill LLP in Toronto

marg @ legaladvocates.ca

MERREDITH MACLENNAN

Real Estate Committee Chair

Merredith is counsel with Stewart Title, based in Ottawa, Ontario. 

Merredith.MacLennan @ stewart.com

TERRY BRANDON

Southwest Regional Representative

Terry is a is a sole practitioner in Sarnia, Ontario  

terrylbrandon @ sympatico.ca

ALFRED SCHORR

Paralegal Committee Chair 

Alfred is a sole practitioner in Newmarket, Ontario

alfred @ schorrlaw.ca

RENE LARSON

Northwest Regional Representative

Rene is a partner with Rene Larson Law Office in Thunder Bay, Ontario

rene.larson @ renelarson.com

JANE ROBERTSON

Central West Regional Representative & Legal Aid Committee Chair

Jane is a sole practitioner in Owen Sound, Ontario

owensoundlaw @ bellnet.ca

​Governance

FOLA is an umbrella organization representing the members of the 46 County Law Associations spread across Ontario. The 46 County Law Presidents – volunteers elected by their peers in the local law associations – are the officers of the FOLA corporation.  From these ranks of presidents, 13 are elected to the Executive of FOLA for 18 month terms, and this executive meets monthly to discuss the business of the Association and matters impacting the legal industry and profession.

The 46 Presidents and other interested stakeholders meet twice a year in a Plenary meeting (in May and November) to set the general direction for the Executive and to debate matters affecting the legal industry in Ontario.  The November Plenary meeting is set to coincide with the Convocation of the Law Society of Upper Canada and is always held in Toronto so that Benchers can conveniently participate with the FOLA Plenary.

The Toronto Law Association (TLA) – the largest “County” in Ontario – is an affiliate member of FOLA and, by convention, its past-President sits as a member of the FOLA executive.  Together, the FOLA and TLA represent over 12,000 lawyers across the Province. FOLA does not represent members of the judiciary and its membership does not generally consist of in-house legal counsel, students or lawyers employed directly by the Province or Federal government as Crown Counsel, though some of our local associations have members from this part of the profession.

JAYE HOOPER 

Chair 

Jaye is a partner with Hooper Litigation of Ottawa, Ontario

jaye @ hoop-law.ca