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Home Access to Justice Week Programming A2J Week 2021: People-centered access to justice: Best practices for serving clients with mental hea

A2J Week 2021: People-centered access to justice: Best practices for serving clients with mental health needs

October 26, 2021
Tuesday October 26, 2021
2 - 3 p.m.

Watch the program recording

This program contains 1 hour of Professionalism Content.

The pandemic has created a renewed focus on mental health, especially within the justice sector. Legal professionals are not only striving to look after their own mental health and wellness but are often serving clients facing mental health challenges themselves.
 
The panel of lawyers with experience acting for clients with mental health needs will discuss how to identify when your client may be facing mental health challenges and what people-centred approaches will help both you and your client successfully navigate these challenges together.
 
After attending this session, participants will:
  • Understand the different mental health and wellness challenges their clients may face
  • Understand strategies to address clients’ mental health needs based on the practice area
  • Be equipped with tools to better support their clients. The pandemic has created a renewed focus on mental health, especially within the justice sector. Legal professionals are not only striving to look after their own mental health and wellness but are often serving clients facing mental health challenges themselves.


Speakers:

Neha Chugh is a criminal lawyer practicing in the east region. Neha started Chugh Law in 2014 her love of criminal law, working with individuals and families, serving the vulnerable population, and working with community members in Cornwall, Ontario is evidenced in all of the work that she does.  Neha graduated from the University of Waterloo with honours degrees in sociology and social work, a Master of Science from the University of Guelph in planning, and a juris doctorate Osgoode Hall Law School at York University and is currently working on a PhD in sociology from Concordia University. Neha also serves at as the prosecutor in the Akwesasne Court, assists with provincial offences prosecutions with the City of Cornwall, and is an instructor at Iohahi:io Akwesasne Education & Training Institute. Neha was appointed as the Law Foundation of Ontario’s representative on the Board of Governors of the Law Commission of Ontario. Neha serves the community of Cornwall by sitting on various charitable boards around town and giving her time through volunteer work. In her spare time, Neha hangs out with her three kids and spouse.

Karen Lindsay-Skynner is a sole practitioner who has been practicing family and estate law for 27 years. From 2003-2016, she was senior adjudicator with the Consent and Capacity Board of Ontario. She is a family mediator accredited by the Ontario Association of Family Mediators and has been a member of the Office of the Children’s Lawyer panel since 2010.  She is a dispute resolution officer at the Newmarket Superior Court of Justice and a member of both the Ontario Family Rules Committee and the Newmarket CYFSA Best Practices Committee. Ms. Lindsay-Skynner has also been a past instructor in the Skills and Professional Responsibility Program in the Bar Admission Course at the former Law Society of Upper Canada. She was formerly a member of Legal Aid Ontario's Area Committee at North York and continues to be a lecturer at programs held by the Osgoode School of Continuing Legal Education, Legal Aid Ontario, the Law Society of Ontario, the Canadian Institute and the Consent and Capacity Board of Ontario.

Marshall Swadron (he/him) is a lawyer at Swadron Associates in Toronto. His areas of practice include mental health and capacity law, guardianship and estate litigation, professional regulation, constitutional law and abuse of state power. Marshall has been appointed amicus curiae or “friend of the court” before the Superior Court of Justice and in the Court of Appeal for Ontario. He is frequently appointed by the Public Guardian and Trustee to represent alleged incapable persons in guardianship applications. Marshall’s teaching experience includes numerous speaking engagements as well as thirteen years as an instructor in the Public Law section of the Bar Admission Course and the Skills and Professional Responsibility Program of the Law Society’s lawyer licensing process. He served as co-chair of the Law Society's Administrative Law Practice Essentials Program from 2011 to 2017. Marshall is a member of The Advocates' Society and the Toronto Lawyers Association and is the chair of the Mental Health Legal Committee. He sits on the Legal Aid Ontario Mental Health Law Advisory Committee, the Alliance for Sustainable Legal Aid and the Toronto Estates List Users Committee. He is also honorary counsel to the Museum of Mental Health Services (Toronto) Inc.

Anita Szigeti is the founding lawyer of Anita Szigeti Advocates, a Toronto firm focusing on mental health and the law. She obtained a certificate in tribunal adjudication from Osgoode Professional Development in 2018. Anita has been a leader in the field for 29 years at the Ontario bar. She has been representing clients in Nunavut since 2014 as a member of the Nunavut Law Society. Anita was the chair of the Mental Health Legal Committee (MHLC) for a decade and the founding first chair of Legal Aid Ontario's Mental Health Law & Policy Advisory Group. For six years, Anita served as an elected Toronto director of the Criminal Lawyers' Association (CLA) and the association's chair of its mental disorder portfolio. She is currently the women’s director. Anita is president of the Law and Mental Disorder Association (LAMDA). In 2016, she joined the prestigious trial advocacy faculty at the University of Toronto law school. She has particular expertise in training tribunal, board and agency adjudicators on how to address mental health matters culturally competently. 


Moderator:

Teresa Donnelly
Treasurer
Law Society of Ontario
Terms or Concepts Explained