Call for input on proposed rule amendments for limited legal services
Convocation approved a call for input from lawyers and paralegals on proposed rule amendments that address the provision of limited legal services. While Ontario lawyers and paralegals are currently providing some legal services on what can be characterized as a limited scope basis, nothing in the current Rules of Professional Conduct or the Paralegal Rules of Conduct expressly addresses limited retainers or unbundling of services. The proposed rule amendments are intended to provide guidance in the context of limited legal services. Full report.
LAWPRO insurance premiums
Convocation approved LAWPRO's report outlining the Law Society's professional liability insurance program for 2011. The base premium for professional liability insurance coverage for Ontario lawyers in 2011 will be $3,350 per lawyer. LAWPRO also reported that it will not be seeking a special levy (estimated at $450 per insured lawyer) for the one-time reassessment of existing claims reserve liabilities arising from the introduction of the HST in Ontario.
By-Law and Rule amendments
By-Law 4 [Licensing] was amended to institute measures that address the timely completion of the licensing application process. Amendments involving documents and information regarding the good character requirement were approved (paragraphs 3,4, 9 & 10 in the motion). The remaining items were deferred. Motion. Full report.
By-Law 4 was further amended to remove the exemption for the Ontario Professional Planners Institute. Full report.
By-Laws 4 and 14 [Foreign Legal Consultants] were amended respecting foreign legal consultants and international commercial arbitrations. Motion. Full report.
By-Law 8 [Reporting and Filing Requirements] was amended to implement Convocation’s decision in May 2010 that licensees be required to file the annual report electronically. Motion. Full report.
The definition of ‘associate’ in Rule 1.02 of the Rules of Professional Conduct was amended to make it clear that paralegals may be associates in law firms and that lawyers and paralegals may form multi-disciplinary practices. Full report.
Discrimination and Harassment Counsel Semi-Annual Report
The Law Society’s Discrimination and Harassment Counsel semi-annual report for the period from January 1 to June 30, 2010 was presented for information. Attention was paid to the high number of complaints for that period, at 103 individuals contacting the program with new matters of discrimination or harassment by a lawyer, law student or paralegal in Ontario. This is the highest number of complaints received in any 6 month reporting period since the inception of the program. The report describes the types of complaints, which include harassment or discrimination based on grounds such as disability, sex, sexual orientation, race and age. The program offers confidential advice to members of the public and the professions free of charge. For the assistance of Counsel, contact 1-877-790-2200 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Full report.
Human Rights Monitoring Group
Convocation approved the proposed interventions in the case of lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh in Iran. Full report.
Convocation made a series of appointments to Law Society committees and other organizations. Motion.
The report on the conduct of the bencher election was deferred.