Continuing professional development requirement supports professional competence
Convocation approved a continuing professional development (CPD) requirement of 12 hours per year for practising lawyers and licensed paralegals who provide legal services.
"The introduction of the CPD requirement confirms both the Law Society's commitment to regulation in the public interest and the commitment of lawyers and paralegals to providing the highest level of service to clients," says Law Society Treasurer W. A. Derry Millar.
The Law Society's adoption of the CPD requirement at its February meeting followed a consultation with lawyers and paralegals.
"The consultation with lawyers and paralegals was very constructive," says Laurie Pawlitza, Chair of the Law Society's Professional Development and Competence Committee."With the profession's input we've developed a flexible, cost-effective and convenient way for lawyers and paralegals to enhance their professional competence."
"I am impressed with the level of support that the profession showed for CPD," says Paul Dray, Chair of the Paralegal Standing Committee. "It is clear that this is the right time for this initiative."
The CPD requirement, which comes into effect January 1, 2011, applies to all lawyers who practise law and paralegals who provide legal services - those lawyers and paralegals in the Law Society's 100% fee paying category. Lawyers and paralegals may choose from a wide range of eligible CPD activities including study groups.Three of the required 12 hours must be taken in ethics, professionalism, and/or practice management. Full report . Fact sheet . News release .
Integration Program for Categories/Groups Exempted from Paralegal Licensing approved
Paralegals who are members of certain groups exempt from Law Society licensing requirements will be given the opportunity to become licensed through a new integration program. Ontario collection agents will also be permitted to apply under the new program, which was approved at February Convocation. The program was proposed by the Paralegal Standing Committee following discussions with exempted groups which revealed considerable interest in further opportunities to become licensed.
The new integration program will include an online educational component offered by the Law Society.In addition to completing the educational program and writing an examination, applicants must be a member of one of the eligible groups, have three years experience, provide references, have professional liability insurance and be of good character.
The committee will return to Convocation with proposed by-law amendments which will include full details of the program. Full report .
Federation's report on Canadian Common Law Degree approved
Convocation approved the final report of the Federation Task Force on the Canadian Common Law Degree.
The Federation's final report recommends that law societies in common law jurisdictions establish a uniform educational requirement for entry to their bar admission programs or licensing processes.The requirement is expressed in terms of competencies in basic skills, awareness of appropriate ethical values and core legal knowledge that law students are expected to acquire during law school.The final report also sets out certain institutional requirements, such as prerequisites for entry and length of program, that law schools are expected to meet.
The Law Society will recommend to the Federation that the committee responsible for implementation include appropriate representation from Canadian law schools, and that law societies have an opportunity to approve the implementation committee's recommendations. Full report .
Law Society to sign Qubec Mobility Agreement
Convocation authorized the Law Society to sign the Federation of Law Societies of Canada's Qubec Mobility Agreement . As a signatory to the agreement, the Law Society agrees to implement provisions that will permit members of the Barreau to become licensees of the Law Society and practise federal, public international and Qubec law in Ontario.Qubec lawyers partaking in the agreement will hold membership in both the Barreau and the Law Society.They will be required to hold appropriate insurance in Qubec. The Barreau enacted a similar form of membership, open to Ontario lawyers and known as the Canadian Legal Advisor, in 2008. Convocation will review by-law amendments necessary to implement the policy at a future meeting. Full report .
Further consultation on rules relating to communications with represented organizational clients
The Law Society is undertaking further consultation on a revised proposal for amendments to Rule 6.03(9) of the Rules of Professional Conduct .The amendments address concerns raised about the restrictions in the current rule when a lawyer is dealing with a represented organizational client opposed in interest to the lawyer's client. An initial call for input on proposed amendments occurred in early 2009 and helped frame the current proposal. Full report .
By-Law 3 amended re: Election of Committee Chair
Convocation approved amendments to By-Law 3 [Benchers, Convocation and Committees] to provide for the election of the Paralegal Standing Committee Chair following the election of the paralegal members of the committee and the two paralegal benchers.The chair must be a licensed paralegal and is elected by the 13 members of the committee. Full report .
Finance Committee report
Convocation approved the decision items in the Finance Committee report to Convocation including the draft costing for the integration program for exempt paralegals and the draft costing of the continuing professional development requirement. Full report .
Paralegal Rules of Conduct amended
The Paralegal Rules of Conduct were amended to remove a redundant paragraph in Rule 3. Full report .
Law Society Awards Committee Composition
The Law Society Awards Committee will now include the chair of the County and District Law Presidents' Association in addition to the Law Society Treasurer, five benchers, the Chief Justice of Ontario, the chair of the Ontario Law Deans, the president of the Ontario Bar Association and the president of the Advocates' Society. Motion .