News @ Cooper, Sandler, Shime & Bergman LLP - Toronto Criminal Law Firm

Mark J. Sandler Re-Elected as Bencher
Published: March 16, 2011

My past two terms as an elected Bencher have been challenging and rewarding. I have worked very hard as a Bencher: for example, in 2010 alone, I was engaged in Bencher work on 111 days. I believe that my experience as a Bencher (particularly as Chair of the Appeal Panel, Chair of the Tribunals Committee and Chair of the Law Foundation of Ontario), and as a small firm practitioner, appellate and trial litigator, adjudicator, former professor and community volunteer will enable me to better serve the legal profession  and the public. I would welcome your support.


Highlights of Work as an Elected Bencher

Chair, Appeal Panel (authoring over 50 reported judgments and responsible for adjudicator education)

Co-Chair, Tribunals Committee (spearheading new rules of practice and procedure and adjudicator’s code of conduct)

Chair, Law Foundation of Ontario

Formerly: Chair, Tribunal Composition Task Force

Member, Equity and Aboriginal Issues Committee

Member, Human Rights Monitoring Group

Member, Professional Regulations Committee

Member, Government Relations Committee


Highlights of Curriculum Vitae

Partner, Cooper, Sandler Shime & Bergman LLP . Appellate and trial criminal litigator for over 30 years

Elected Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers

Counsel to seven inquiries or reviews, including Goudge Inquiry (Pediatric Forensic Pathology); Guy Paul Morin Inquiry; counsel to Minister of Justice (assisting Justice ) respecting Steven Truscott application

Adjunct Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School 1994 to 2005

Former Member, Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario

Co-author, Criminal Procedure: Cases, Notes and Materials, 2nd Edition (Butterworths Lexisnexis)

Member, Advocates’ Society, Criminal Lawyers’ Association, Ontario Bar Association, Toronto Lawyers Association, York Region Law Association

Faculty, Federation of Law Societies National Criminal Law Program


Election Statement

Discipline and Professional Conduct -- I am Chair of the Appeals Panel, Co-Chair of the Tribunals Committee, Chaired the Tribunals Composition Task Force and was a Member of the Investigations Task Force. It is important that complaints be investigated, and, if necessary, adjudicated upon in a timely, consistent and fair way. I have worked hard on enhancing the professionalism of our tribunal: supporting the selection of qualified non-bencher adjudicators; providing Adjudicator Education at Convocation; working on improved Rules of Practice and an Adjudicator’s Code of Conduct. I have authored over 50 reported appeal judgments, as well as numerous hearing decisions. 

Mentoring– Many lawyers do not have ready access to a mentor and are reluctant to contact the Law Society to facilitate access to such a mentor. Ongoing mentoring reduces the likelihood that members of the profession will face the discipline process, which is frequently the result of practice difficulties, rather than dishonesty. I support greater initiatives to enhance access to senior mentors.

Sole and Small Firm Practitioners-- We need to do more to provide support for sole and small firm practitioners in dealing with the difficult issues they face on a daily basis. I supported the initiatives in this area in the last term, but this has to be given significant priority in the upcoming term.

Legal Aid Ontario– I regard an independent, vital and properly financed Ontario Legal Aid Plan to be of critical importance to the profession and the community it serves. Legal aid clinics also play a vital role that cannot be overlooked. I will continue to be heard loudly and clearly on this issue in the upcoming term.

Equity and Diversity– I am strongly committed to diversity within, and accessibility to, the legal profession. I have served as a member of the Equity and Aboriginal Issues Committee, and am supportive of the Society’s equity and diversity initiatives (particularly those to promote the retention of women in our profession) during the last term.

Articling Students and New Lawyers– The number of students seeking articling positions and ultimately employment as lawyers has dramatically increased. The Law Society must play a greater role in addressing the issues associated with this growth, such as the impact on the profession as a whole; employment opportunities; and the financial burdens of legal education. 

Continuing Legal Education– We now have mandatory CLE – but the true challenge remains – ensuring accessible and affordable CLE for practitioners throughout Ontario. I have committed to this goal. I also frequently participate in CLE as a lecturer, panellist, and author in educational programmes offered by the LSUC, Criminal Lawyers’ Association, Federation of Law Societies; Advocates’ Society, National Judicial Institute, Ontario Bar Association, etc.

Pro Bono Services– Early in my career, I was proud to be a recipient of the Pro Bono Legal Services Award, and have continued to serve in many volunteer positions in the community. I am the Chair of the Law Foundation of Ontario, and am proud of our contribution to access to justice in this province – especially in difficult economic times. I am equally proud of those members of the profession who provide pro bono services, and continue to lend my support to their activities.

I am proud to be endorsed by the Criminal Lawyers’ Association and the Ontario Crown Attorneys' Association.