March 2002

March 21, 2002

Law Society offers model policy on discrimination and harassment

The Law Society has developed a model policy to act as a guide for lawyers on preventing and dealing with harassment and discrimination. The Model Policy can be used by law firms of all sizes and covers a number of issues including why law firms need written policies, legal requirements and professional responsibilities, how to limit a law firm's liability, and what should be included in a policy.

The Model Policy was submitted to Convocation in February. Suggested changes arising from the February debate were incorporated into the revised version of the policy, adopted by Convocation on March 21, 2002.

The Law Society has produced several model polices for law firms to assist them in developing policies and programs aimed at promoting equity and diversity in all aspects of the legal profession.

Equity and Aboriginal Issues Committee Report - including Model Policy

Law school tuition fee task force to be considered

Convocation directed Law Society staff to draft terms of reference and to develop budget requirements for a proposed task force that would look at law school tuition fee increases. This decision was made as a result of a report presented to Convocation by the Equity and Aboriginal Issues Committee. Once this information is prepared it will be presented to Convocation for decisions regarding the Task Force.

Equity and Aboriginal Issues Committee Report

Law Society Task Force on The Continuum of Legal Education presents interim report to Convocation

The Law Society Task Force on The Continuum of Legal Education has introduced an interim report that proposes a fundamental change in the way the Law Society currently readies candidates for their Call to the Bar. This report was presented for information and is scheduled to be discussed at a future Convocation.

The recommendations are based on two premises:

  • that the licensing process currently in place at the Law Society of Upper Canada reflects a reality that dates back to (and, in some respects, pre-dates) the model of legal education instituted forty-five years ago; and
  • that, since then, changes in the teaching and practice of law, as well as changes in society at large, have been so profound that it is not possible to render our system truly contemporary by continuing to tinker with it. Major reform is indicated.

The principal features of the reformed system recommended are as follows:

  • The Law Society will no longer teach substantive law and procedure in the BAC. Instead, it will focus on its regulatory obligation to establish a licensing process that ensures candidates demonstrate pre-determined standards of competence and an understanding of professionalism, including ethics, in the practice of law.
  • Although the Law Society will no longer teach substantive law, it will continue to prepare and provide the Reference Materials for the subjects on which the candidates will be examined. The Reference Materials have a long tradition of excellence and are useful both for the purposes of the licensing examinations and, subsequently, in practice. These invaluable materials are developed with the cooperation of the bar and address important issues relevant to the practice of law. The current nexus between the Reference Materials and the examinations will continue so that candidates for admission will know what is expected of them in the examinations.
  • Licensing examinations, developed for the Law Society by professional educators, will test basic legal skills and analytical capabilities.
  • The Law Society will continue to teach professional responsibility as part of its many-pronged approach to nurturing the ethical values upon which the honour of the profession depends.
  • There will be greater flexibility built into the system, with licensing examinations and the professional responsibility course offered three times a year.
  • The Law Society will renew its commitment to the articling process and will seek ways to foster creative innovation, reinforce the mentorship aspect of articling and encourage collaboration among small or rural law firms to provide students with the opportunity for a meaningful articling experience.
  • The redesigned licensing process will continue to reflect the Society's firm commitment to the goal of improved access to, as well as equity and diversity within, the legal profession.

Task Force on the Continuum of Legal Education Report

Law Society Medal Recipients Announced

The Law Society Medal will be awarded to:

  • Lincoln M. Alexander, P.C., O.C., Q.C. of Hamilton
  • David I. Bristow, Q.C. of Toronto
  • Harvey M. Haber, Q.C. of Toronto
  • Professor Hugh Lawford of Kingston
  • Marshall Crowe of Ottawa
  • John McCamus of Toronto
  • Dr. Julien Payne, Q.C., LL.D., F.R.S.C. of Ottawa

The Law Society Medal is awarded to members who have made significant contributions to the profession in accordance with the highest ideals of the legal profession. The Medals will be awarded at a ceremony in the spring.

Agenda and Minutes