November 21, 2002
Convocation approves Contemporary Law Practice Study
Contemporary law practice in Ontario will be the subject of a study to be conducted by Professor Fiona Kay in partnership with the Law Society of Upper Canada.
Convocation gave the go ahead for the study which will provide statistical analyses of the contemporary legal profession by focusing on the content of legal work and changing dimensions of law practice. It will also look into the day-to-day work responsibilities, autonomy and decision-making capacities of lawyers; the frequency and outcomes of court appearances; the division of labour within firms/offices; and the use of alternative dispute resolution tactics, such as mediation.
Equity & Aboriginal Issues Committee Report, Contemporary Lawyers Survey
Patent and trade-mark agents a national consideration
Convocation has referred the issue of the patent and trade-mark agents' efforts to obtain privilege and self governance to the relevant committee of the Federation of Law Societies.
Under consideration will be two issues being brought forward by the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada (IPIC).
The first deals with the question of whether the Law Society and other law societies in Canada can or should support IPIC's effort to obtain the equivalent to solicitor and client privilege for patent and trade mark agents. The second issue relates to establishing a regulatory college for the self-governance of patent and trade-mark agents.
The Law Society's Emerging Issues Committee will prepare for Convocation's review a position paper on this issue for communication to the Federation in early 2003.
Emerging Issues Committee Report, Privilege for Patent and Trade-mark Agents
Foreign Legal Consultant policy approved
Revisions to the current policy on Foreign Legal Consultants (FLCs) were approved by Convocation. The Inter-Jurisdictional Mobility Committee's proposal updates the provisions of the original policy, which first came into effect in 1988, paying particular attention to the public interest, client needs, and the increasingly global nature of certain aspects of legal practice.
Among its other new provisions, the policy now permits Ontario lawyers in good standing, who are also members of the bar of foreign jurisdictions, to practise Ontario law and be licensed as FLCs. Ontario lawyers will also be entitled to employ, partner, associate, or affiliate with FLCs in Ontario, provided this is done in accordance with Law Society by-laws. Neither of these practices were permitted under the earlier policy.
This policy will now be incorporated into a by-law.
See Inter-Jurisdictional Mobility Report, Foreign Legal Consultants
Practice Management Guidelines Approved
Convocation has approved the Law Society's Practice Management Guidelines - a practical online tool designed to assist lawyers to assess, maintain and enhance their quality of client service and practice management skills.
See Notice to Profession
Professional Development, Competence and Admissions Committee Report, Practice Management Guidelines
New BAC prizes
The Law Society has recently been contacted by potential donors wishing to establish prizes to be awarded at the call to the bar, although there are already over 30 such prizes. Because of the financial pressures BAC students are currently facing, Convocation decided that the creation of bursaries to benefit needy students is a higher priority than further prizes. The Law Society will encourage potential donors to make donations in the form of bursaries rather than prizes. Bursary donors will be given the same prominence as prize donors at the Call to the Bar ceremonies.
These are just some of the ideas being considered by the Profession Development, Competence and Admissions Committee as they try to rationalize the way Call to the Bar prizes are handled.
Professional Development, Competence and Admissions Committee Report, Creation of New BAC Prizes
Amendment to Contingent Fees
An amendment was made to the new rules of professional conduct on contingent fees.
The amendment to subrule 2.08(5) clarifies that the provisions of the Class Proceedings Act, 1992 are not subject to this rule.
Professional Regulation Committee Report, Working Group on Contingent Fees Report