Robert Lapper – Covering 4 Corners of Legal Service (#24)

Be flexible. Be open. Be expansive in who we include in making decisions. ~ Robert Lapper, QC

Rob Lapper (@wlap) has spent a career serving the public. He has covered off four corners of legal service, having worked in private practice, for government, for the regulator, and now in academia. 

Rob’s broad range of experience gives him a unique perspective on the biggest challenges in law and justice. It also shows his determination to work for positive change.    

In this conversation, we cover a wide range of topics, including Rob’s time in the public service as a treaty negotiator, as a head of legal advisory services to government, and as a Deputy Minister with multiple portfolios. 

We also hear about some of the big issues facing the Law Society of Ontario during his tenure as the CEO, from the articling crisis, to alternative service providers and the controversy over the statement of principles. 

Rob also explains his current work and passions around raising the profile of problems around access to justice and his conviction that evidence-based approaches can help make that happen. 

If you’ve wondered what drives professionals in senior positions to jump into other organizations and take on new challenges, you’ll want to check out this episode.  

Topics Covered

  1. Legal professional career paths
  2. Role and functions of legal professionals in government
  3. Role of the Attorney General
  4. Articling
  5. Ontario’s Law Practice Program
  6. Ontario’s licensed paralegal program
  7. Racialized lawyers and racism in the legal profession
  8. Alternative legal service providers
  9. Access to justice
  10. Justice system data

Listen to “24 Robert Lapper – Covering 4 Corners of Legal Service” on Spreaker.

The Quiz for this episode is here.

Pre-approved by the Law Society of BC for 1.5 hours of CPD credits.

Are you a member of a law society outside BC? Try here.

Show Notes

7:55 How Rob describes his day job

9:15 What Rob would say to himself on the first day of law school

10:00 Deciding to become a lawyer

13:00 Following your own path into a legal career

19:59 Getting into a government legal career

24:15 Role of Assistant Deputy Attorney General

26:40 Serving as the Deputy of Intergovernmental Affairs

28:39 Deputy Secretary of Cabinet

30:00 Taking an expanded view of “legal work”

32:20 Deputy Minister of Labour

33:00 Applying for the role of CEO of the Law Society of Upper Canada

36:45 Ontario paralegal program

37:42 Mental health in the legal profession

38:49 The Law Practice Program

47:30 Alternative legal service providers in Ontario

53:15 Statement of Principles in Ontario

1:03 Rob’s work at the University of Victoria (access to justice and professionalism)

1:03:40 Lack of awareness about the problem of access to justice and the inability of the justice system to tell its story about the problem

1:09:00 The need for data collection in justice

1:11:55 If Rob were in charge of the justice system

1:14:00 Family justice and adverse childhood experiences

1:19:00 Using science and data to understand justice problems and develop evidence-based solutions

1:24:00 How Rob defined success for himself

1:25:00 A tough choice or sacrifice Rob made to get where he is today

1:26:10 If Rob had to do a week’s worth of work in 3 hours

1:26:50 Special things Rob does to look after himself

1:27:20 University of Victoria Access Centre for Excellence

1:28:20 Before my work in the law is done, I want to …

1:28:54 Best book in the last year – Peace and Good Order by Harold Johnson 

1:30:00 CBC Radio podcasts and Amicus podcast

1:30:45 Rob’s UViC Law Faculty page

1:31:00 Rob’s call to action

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