StopSOP lawyers risked their careers for the sake of sanity and a silent majority supported them
Ontario’s Law Society just had its elections, in which lawyers across the province elect their representatives for the monthly board meetings. The Law Societies are the regulatory bodies in each province for the legal profession.
Out of 40 available positions, 22 of the election winners were those who ran against the Law Society’s new “statement of principles,” which would have forced all lawyers to write and follow a statement talking about “equality, diversity and inclusion.” The group became known as “StopSOP”, which directly referred to the statement of principles.
The seats are divided into 20 for Toronto lawyers and 20 for Ontario lawyers outside of Toronto. In the former category, Murray Klippenstein received more votes than anyone else. He had been one of the most vocal critics of the new “statement of principles.”
The big picture, if one can be drawn from these election results, is an encouraging one. Mr. Klippenstein had reportedly wound down his law firm in anticipation of heavy professional consequences for what he was trying to do. What he might not have predicted is the level of support he would receive from a vast silent majority of reasonable lawyers.
The message is a dark cloud with a silver lining. On the one hand, the potential for consequences were huge. Those who opposed having to extol diversity for diversity’s own sake were effectively at risk of losing their professional license. On the other hand, the silent majority spoke up, and this time, it is not a silent majority that can be dismissed as a bunch of uneducated racists.