June 2002

June, 2002

New bencher elected
June's Convocation began with the election of Robert I. Martin as Regional Bencher. Mr. Martin fills the position left vacant by the appointment of Edward W. Ducharme to the Superior Court of Justice. Mr. Martin will represent the Southwest electoral region.

Electronic registration Practice Guidelines finalized, Rules of Professional Conduct amended
As electronic registration continues to be implemented across the province, Convocation established guidelines for real estate law practitioners by amending the Rules of Professional Conduct and adopting final Practice Guidelines. The Guidelines and Rule amendments, presented in a report by the Joint Committee for Electronic Registration, are intended to guide lawyers practising with the new system.

A draft version of the Guidelines has been in place since 1999 for testing and evaluation and has been periodically revised by the Joint Committee, based on input from the profession. The Joint Committee was established in 1996 by the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Canadian Bar Association - Ontario (now known as the OBA).

In addition to adopting the Guidelines and the Rule amendments, Convocation made the Admissions and Professional Development and Competence Committee the Law Society standing committee responsible for liaising with the Joint Committee for Electronic Registration.

Professional Development and Competence Committee Report - including of Rule Amendments

Joint Committee Report - with draft practice Guidelines (Appendix 1 of PD&C report)

Profession's input sought on draft Practice Management Guidelines
The profession is to be consulted on draft Practice Management Guidelines developed as part of the Law Society's competence initiative. The guidelines are a tool intended to help lawyers assess, maintain and enhance the quality of service they provide to clients. When finalized, each set of guidelines will be available in both paper and electronic form. They will include links or references to helpful articles, practice tips and other tools that elaborate on topics addressed in the guidelines. The links will also direct practitioners to sample documents and precedents to assist them in enhancing their practice management activities.

The Practice Management Guidelines consist of eight parts:
a. Client Service and Communication
b. File Management
c. Financial Management
d. Technology
e. Professional Management
f. Time Management
g. Personal Management
h. Closing Down Your Practice

More information about the consultation will be made available in the Ontario Reports, the Ontario Lawyer's Gazette and through this website.

Professional Development and Competence Committee Report

Business plan for reformulated specialist certification program approved
The Law Society's Specialist Certification program is to be redesigned, based on a business plan adopted by Convocation. Key features of the redesign include:
  • Consideration and development of new specialty areas
  • Restructuring of application and renewal process for simplicity, transparency and consistency across specialties
  • Development of staged educational and experience requirements
  • Increased promotion of the program among the public and the profession
  • Continuation of self-funding criteria

The program is being reformulated as part of the Law Society's competence initiative. Certification under the current program will continue until the end of 2003.

Professional Development and Competence Committee Report

Specialist Certification Business Plan

Profession to be consulted on proposed guide to PPRP Modules
The profession will be asked to review and comment on a guide indicating which modules members subject to the Private Practice Refresher Program (PPRP) will be required to complete, based on their work category.

Beginning in 2007, lawyers who have been out of private practice for a specified number of years will undergo the PPRP prior to entering or re-entering private practice. Convocation approved the PPRP in early 2002. The PPRP replaces the former requalification program.

Professional Development and Competence Committee Report

Private Practice Refresher Program - Proposed Guide to Modules

Professional Development and Competence - February 2002 report

Process for suspending members for failing to file MAR revised
Members who are suspended for failure to file the Member's Annual Report (MAR) and who fail to file in subsequent years will no longer be suspended again for each year they fail to file. In addition, members as a condition of reinstatement or readmission, will be required to file the MAR for the year they were suspended. This revised process will reduce administrative costs associated with the annual suspension.

Professional Regulation Committee Report

By-Law 11 amended
By-Law 11 - Call to Bar and Admission and Enrolment as Solicitor was amended to reflect the new model of the Bar Admission Course and to bring the by-law into conformity with current practice. Changes to the By-Law were mostly housekeeping in nature, or designed to strengthen and clarify present practices. Some of the changes were approved in principle by Convocation in October of 2001.

Admissions Committee Report

Law Society to submit a proposal for funding of Access to Justice Symposium
The Access to Justice Committee has prepared a submission to the Law Foundation of Ontario for a grant to help fund a Symposium. The Law Society proposes to host a major international Symposium on access to justice. The Symposium will provide participants with international best practices in the fields of legal aid and pro bono policies and other programmes intended to enhance access to justice. The Committee's request to make the submission was unanimously approved by Convocation.

Access to Justice Committee Report

Admissions and Professional Development & Competence Committees Merged
The Admissions Committee and the Professional Development and Competence Committee are to be merged into one committee. This merger reflects recent changes to the Law Society's organizational structure; educational functions were placed under the Professional Development and Competence umbrella.

Honourary Doctorates of Laws to be Awarded
Honourary degrees of Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) will be awarded to

  • The Honourable Madame Justice Claire L'Heureux-Dub,
    B.A., LL.L.
  • Professor Constance Backhouse,
    B.A., LL.B., LL.M.
  • Professor Alistair MacLeod,
    B.Ed., M.A., Ph.D., F.R.S.C.
  • The Honourable Robert P. Armstrong,
    B.A., M.A., LL.B.
  • Harvey Strosberg,
    Q.C., B.Sc., LL.B.

Convocation presents Honourary Doctorates of Laws to individuals who have shown themselves to be role models because of their high standards, dedication and outstanding contributions to society. The degrees will be presented at Call to the Bar ceremonies in Fall 2002.

Secretary and Committee Appointments
Zeynep Onen, Director, Professional Regulation, was appointed Secretary for the purposes of the Law Society Act and Katherine Corrick, Director, Policy and Legal Affairs, was appointed Secretary for the purposes of the Corporations Act. In addition, several new Committee appointments were approved, including the appointment of Todd Ducharme as Chair of the Professional Regulation Committee.

Motion - Committee Appointments

Appointment of Discrimination Harassment Counsel
Convocation has formally adopted the appointment of Mary Teresa Devlin as Discrimination and Harassment Counsel. Pursuant to section 2 of by-law 36, Ms. Devlin will serve a three-year term starting June 23, 2001. Ms. Devlin has acted as Discrimination and Harassment Counsel (DHC) since 1999 when the DHC was launched as a pilot program.

Equity & Aboriginal Issues Committee Report