When lawyers elect the leaders of their self-regulatory organizations, what sort of people do they vote for? How does electoral system design affect the ability of law societies and bar associations to understand and regulate a diverse legal profession? This article quantitatively assesses the demographic and professional diversity of leadership in the Law Society of Upper Canada. After many years of underrepresentation, in 2015 non-white members and women were elected in numbers proportionate to their shares of Ontario lawyers. Regression analysis suggests that being non-white was not a disadvantage in the 2015 election, and being female actually conferred an advantage in attracting lawyers’ votes. The diverse employment contexts of the province’s lawyers were also represented in the elected group. However early career lawyers were completely unrepresented. This is largely a consequence of electoral system design choices, and can be remedied through the implementation of career stage constituencies.
(2016) Canadian Journal of Law and Society, Vol. 31, Issue 3, p. 405. (Peer-Reviewed). Early Draft online: SSRN, http://ssrn.com/abstract=2623743.
This research was the subject of an article in the Law Times newspaper: http://www.lawtimesnews.com/201507274832/headline-news/prof-calls-for-reforms-to-boost-youth-presence-at-convocation.