Robert Lapper, KC

Robert Lapper, KC
Lam Chair in Law and Public Policy and Graduate Advisor
Office: Faculty of Law: FRA 220

LLB, BA (University of Victoria)

Area of expertise

Justice system policy and reform, Access to Justice, Indigenous law and legal issues, Technology and design in law and policy

LinkedIn          @wlap

Professional Information & Research Interests

Professional Information

Robert Lapper is a senior public law lawyer with an extensive background in public policy, professional regulation and governance, aboriginal law, and negotiations with First Nations. He is a graduate of the University of Victoria Faculty of Law (LLB '81), and has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours, Political Science, '78) also from the University of Victoria. After several years in private practice in Victoria, British Columbia, he joined the Government of the Province of British Columbia in 1994 as counsel to its then new treaty negotiation process, and was subsequently appointed Senior Counsel, Aboriginal Law. He was later appointed to senior executive positions in the British Columbia Government, including Assistant Deputy Attorney General - Legal Services, Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Relations, Deputy Cabinet Secretary, and Deputy Minister of Labour, Citizens' Services, and Open Government.

Robert moved to Toronto in 2012 and took up the position as Chief Executive Officer, Law Society of Upper Canada (now Law Society of Ontario), Canada's largest regulator of legal professionals. He retired from that position, and returned to British Columbia in 2018.

Robert is a member of the Canadian Bar Association’s National Policy Committee, and serves as Chair of Governance for the Yellowstone to Yukon Wilderness Preservation Initiative. He also serves as Canadian Chair of  the Commonwealth Lawyers’ Association, and as a Director of Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, where he is currently involved with advocacy at the United Nations to secure the release of Anglophone human rights advocates in Cameroon. Robert teaches courses in Access to Justice, Law by Design (Access to Justice), and Legal Ethics and Professionalism.  

Research Interests

  • Justice system policy and reform
  • Access to Justice
  • Indigenous law and legal issues
  • Technology and design in law and policy
  • Human centred design thinking in justice and public policy
  • Climate change and justice

Grants & Awards

  • University of Victoria, Distinguished Alumnus (Law), 2016
  • Globe and Mail, Greater Toronto Top 100 Employer (Law Society of Ontario), 2013-2017
  • BC Queen’s Counsel designation, 2002

Recent Speaking Engagements & Event Participation

• Speaker: Legal Innovation and the Lawyer Occupations of the Future: Commonwealth Lawyers Association Conference, Livingstone Zambia, April 2019 (Paper to be published with Conference Materials)
Guest speaker: Regular guest speaker at Ontario Bar Association, and Federation of Law Association Executive and Annual Meetings, on current issues in professional regulation, 2013-2017
• Panel Chair/ Presenter: Money Laundering and Global Regulatory Standards - International Institute of Law Association Chief Executives (IILACE) -Conference, London, England, November 2017.
• Speaker: Comparative Real Estate Practice and Regulation: Commonwealth Law Conference, Melbourne Australia, March 2017. (Paper published with Conference materials)
• Speaker: Paralegals and the Law Society: Humber College and Seneca College Paralegal Programs, 2013-2017
• Speaker: Technology, Innovation, and the Regulation of the Legal Profession, Ryerson University Conference, 2016
• Speaker: Development and Implementation of Regulation of Paralegals -Law Society of Scotland Executive, 2016
• Speaker: Regulation of Alternative Legal Service Providers and Access to Justice - American Bar Association Task Force, Houston Texas, 2016
• Panel Member: Future of the Legal Profession: Lexis Nexis Colloquium, 2015
• Law Society Representative- Colloquium on Self Represented Litigants and Access to Justice, University of Windsor, National Self Represented Litigants Project, 2015
• Member: College of Nurses of Ontario -Leading in Regulatory Governance - Governance Review Task Force, 2016-2017
• Speaker: Paralegal Regulation - Recognizing and Regulating New Legal Professions - IILACE Conference, Cape Town, South Africa, October 2015

Courses Taught

  • DR 516 Access to Justice
  • LAW 360  Legal Ethics and Professionalism
  • LAW 360-2  Legal Ethics and Professionalism
  • LAW 325  Access to Justice
  • LAW 690 Directed Studies in Law

Professional Appointments & Memberships

  • National Policy Committee, Canadian Bar Association, 2018 - Present
  • Director, Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada (Cameroon), 2018 - Present
  • Chair of Governance, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, 2018 - Present
  • Member, Lawyers' Professional Indemnity Company, 2012-2017
  • Member, Innocence Canada, 2016-Present
  • Member, Our Place Society, Victoria BC,  2009 - 2012
  • President, Canadian Association of Administrators of Labour Law, 2011-2012