Law Society Treasurer proposes civility measures
Proposals to improve civility were presented by Treasurer W. A. Derry Millar in a report on the Civility Forum, his initiative to discuss the challenge of civility among lawyers and paralegals. Over 900 lawyers, paralegals, students and members of the judiciary attended a series of 11 meetings across the province from November 2009 to February 2010.
Participants discussed their experiences with incivility, their thoughts on its causes and possible solutions to the problem. From these discussions, the Treasurer proposed five avenues for the Law Society to explore, in collaboration with key players in the justice system. Full report.
Enhancements to the Lawyer and Paralegal Directory
Enhancements to the Lawyer and Paralegal Directory, to be in place later this year, will improve the accessibility of the publicly available information about lawyers' and paralegals' discipline history and current restrictions on practice. Described in the Professional Regulation Committee's report to Convocation, these changes provide for new sections in the directory entry for each lawyer or paralegal on public information about discipline cases from February 27, 1986 forward and any practice restrictions maintained by the Monitoring and Enforcement or Trustee Services Departments in the Professional Regulation Division. Full report.
Term limits set for paralegal committee members
Convocation approved a recommendation from the Paralegal Standing Committee to set a 12-year term limit for elected paralegal members of the committee. The term limit mirrors the term limit set in December 2009 for elected lawyer and paralegal benchers. By-law 3 was amended to implement the policy. Full report.
Paralegal Rules of Conduct amended re: duty as prosecutor
Rule 4.01 of the Paralegal Rules of Conduct was amended to include a provision addressing a paralegal's professional responsibilities when acting as a prosecutor, reflecting comparable wording in the lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct. Full report.
By-law 3 [Benchers, Convocation and Committees] amended
By-law 3 was amended to implement Convocation's decisions in December 2009 on changes to the Law Society's governance structure. Some of the changes required amendments to the Law Society Act, which are now in place through Bill 16 (royal assent, May 18). The amendments to By-Law 3 set a term limit for elected benchers; create the new status of emeritus bencher for those reaching the term limit and for former Treasurers; and set out the voting and participation rights of grandparented ex officio benchers. Full report.
Law Society survey shows increase in move to non-private practice
Findings of a Law Society study suggest that law firms wanting to retain lawyers in the early stages of their careers - particularly women - may wish to provide more flexible work environments. The Change of Status Study examined the movement of lawyers within the profession related to practice settings. Equity and Aboriginal Issues Committee report. Change of Status Quantitative Study.
Adjustment to CPD calculation of hours for new lawyers and paralegals
New lawyers and paralegals may begin to accumulate their annual Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credit hours immediately following their call to the bar or licensing, rather than waiting until the following January as was originally approved by Convocation. This adjustment gives additional time to accumulate the required accredited programming hours for their first calendar year of practise. The CPD requirement of 12-hours per calendar year for practising lawyers and paralegals who provide legal services comes into effect January 1, 2011. Full report.
Requirement to submit lawyer and paralegal annual reports electronically
Convocation adopted e-filing as the single method of filing the Lawyer and Paralegal Annual Reports, with paper filing available only in exceptional circumstances. The change helps to reduce costs and is consistent with the Law Society's increasing use of electronic capability for regulatory functions. Full report.
Guidelines for assessing requests for sponsorship
Convocation adopted guidelines to be applied in assessing requests for sponsorship of external access to justice initiatives and events. Full report.
Human Rights Monitoring Group
Convocation approved the proposed intervention in the case of Judge Diego Fernando Escobar Munera of Columbia. Full report.
By-law 12 [Compensation Fund] amended
By-law 12 was amended to reflect Convocation's January 2010 decision to change the structure of the Compensation Fund Committee.
By-law 12 was also amended to change the threshold for grants for paralegal dishonesty that require the Committee's review from over $5,000 to over $1,500. Full report.
Bencher Sydney Robins was removed from the Appeal Panel at his own request.