Robert Shawyer for OBA 2nd VP.

A vote for Robert is a vote for an OBA that is outstanding, bold and advocates for its members.

  • The Ontario Bar Association (OBA) is an outstanding organization due to the quality of its members. Unique among legal organizations in Ontario, the OBA consists of lawyers from across the province in every legal discipline widely recognized as experts in their field and who provide industry-leading professional development.
  • To retain its status as a leading force in the legal profession, the OBA must take a bold approach by striving to become the recognized “centre of excellence” for professional development both within the Canadian Bar Association and the Ontario legal profession, creating value that will result in increased revenue and make membership a more attractive prospect.
  • Building on its success of creatively using physical resources and technology to deliver top-quality legal education conveniently and cost-effectively, the OBA must invest in up-to-date technology that will allow us to deliver professional development both in person and online to every lawyer in Ontario.
  • In addition to professional development, the OBA advocates for and on behalf of its members. To maintain its position as the recognized voice of the legal profession, it must be at the forefront in shaping the development of the legal system.
  • To ensure the OBA’s leading role in this regard, I will advocate for a unified court system that will increase access to justice by enabling Ontarians to deal with all of their legal issues in one courthouse rather than multiple locations.
  • The OBA must also continue advocating for a province-wide electronic filing and court system to make it easier for Ontarians to access the justice system.
  • Finally, the OBA must continue to promote Pro Bono advocacy to ensure that Ontarians who cannot afford lawyers have access to quality legal advice and representation. I will encourage the OBA to forge a partnership with organizations such as Pro Bono Law Ontario that will allow us to build professional development programs and a communication strategy that would showcase our membership by (1) sharing pro bono stories with the legal community and the public at large, and (2) burnishing the image of the profession by highlighting the pro bono efforts of many OBA members.

My experience and longstanding relationship with the OBA provide a strong foundation for the position of 2nd vice president:

  • I am and have been an active and engaged member of our Association both at the Section level and the Executive level for many years.
  • In addition to being the current Chair of Professional Development, I previously served as the inaugural Chair of the Pro Bono Sub-Committee from 2013-2014 and as Chair of the Sole, Small Firm and General Practice section from 2012 to 2014. I have served as a member of several different committees including the OBA Finance Committee, the OBA Institute Committee and the OBA Institute Committee amongst others.
  • Since my appointment as Chair of Professional Development in August 2014, I have worked to solidify the OBA’s standing as the premier provider of professional development for lawyers in Ontario. With the implementation of the Enhanced PD initiative, the OBA has seen an overall increase in the number of participants in professional development programs, and improved registrations on a per program basis.
  • These improvements are due to a tremendous team of dedicated member volunteers and OBA staff who comprise the Professional Development Committee. The committee’s mandate is to improve the variety and scope of programming the OBA offers its members. We have accomplished this by being disciplined, rigorous, and willing to look for solutions outside the box.
  • As Chair of the Professional Development Committee I am proud to have accomplished (1) drafting of a history of the OBA’s professional development activity since the inception of mandatory CPD by the Law Society of Upper Canada, and (2) transforming the OBA’s Annual Institute, Canada’s largest legal education conference, which has led to greater participation numbers and increased revenue for the OBA. With Institute on a firm financial footing, we can focus on improving program delivery and elevating the experience of Institute for future attendees.
  • From the day I was called to the bar in 2006, I have been self-employed. Starting out as a solo general practitioner, I am now the principal of a small firm in Toronto specializing in the area of family law, employing three lawyers and an articling student. Throughout my career, beginning in my law school days, I have been a member of the OBA.
  • Without my involvement in the OBA and the opportunities it provided—to network, serve on boards, executives and committees, to speak and chair professional development programsmy career would have developed as quickly as it has and my practice would not be as successful today as it is. That is why I have always been a member of the OBA and will continue as a member for the rest of my career.
  • In addition to my practice as a lawyer and a volunteer for the Ontario Bar Association I am a husband and father of two beautiful children. If it were not for the encouragement and unending support of the love of my life and friend for life, my wife Tory, and my two children, Kathleen and Andrew, I would not be the man I am today. It is their support, love and encouragement that makes me want to get out of bed every morning and work hard, whether it is as a practicing lawyer or a volunteer member of the OBA.
  • When time permits, I am an avid golfer and a voracious reader.



  • Founder – Shawyer Family Law
  • Chair – OBA Professional Development (2014 – 2016)
  • Chair – OBA Pro Bono Committee (2013 – 2014)
  • Chair – OBA SSFGP Section (2012 – 2014)
  • Chair – OBA Family Section Public Affairs Committee (2013 – 2015)
  • Secretary – OBA Family Law Section (2011 – 2013)
  • Member – OBA Finance Committee (2013 – 2016)
  • Member – OBA Institute Committee (2014 – 2016)
  • Member-OBA Awards Committee (2015 – 2016)
  • Member – OBA Predatory Marriages Working Group (2013 – 2015)
  • Member – OBA ABS Working Group (2014 – 2015)
  • Member – OBA Strategic Planning Committee (2012 – 2013)
  • Member – OBA Justice Effectiveness Taskforce (2012 – 2013)
  • Member – OBA LSUC Rules of Professional Conduct (2012 – 2013)
  • Member – OBA Pro Bono Taskforce (2012 – 2013)
  • Member – OBA Council (2011 – 2015)
  • Member -CBA Council (2015 – 2016)
  • Chair – CBA SSFGP Forum (2015 – 2016)
  • Chair and Speaker – OBA CLE programs