The Law Society of Ontario is governed by a board of directors, who are known as benchers. Benchers gather most months in a meeting called Convocation. Through their committee work and Convocation meetings, benchers set policy and determine other matters related to the governance of Ontario’s lawyers and paralegals. Benchers also sit on panels as adjudicators to hear discipline cases concerning lawyer and paralegal conduct, licensing, competence and capacity.
Eight lay benchers (non-lawyers and non-paralegals) are appointed by the Lieutenant Governor-in-Council (of the Ontario government). The Law Society of Ontario was the first professional body in Ontario to officially include public representation in its governing body.
Elected Lawyer Benchers
Forty lawyer benchers are elected every four years by Ontario's lawyers. To ensure adequate regional representation, 20 benchers are elected from inside Toronto and 20 are elected from outside Toronto.
Elected Paralegal Benchers
The Paralegal Standing Committee is responsible for developing policy related to paralegal regulation for Convocation's approval. Licensed paralegals elect five paralegal benchers to the Paralegal Standing Committee. In total there are 13 members of the Paralegal Standing Committee: five paralegals, five lawyers and three lay benchers.
There are also several ex-officio benchers including former Attorneys-General of Ontario and former Treasurers of the Law Society.