September 23, 2004
New Model Proposed for Paralegal Regulation
The Law Society of Upper Canada delivered to the Attorney General a report outlining a regulatory model that would provide consumer protection to those using the services provided by paralegals.
The Attorney General asked the Law Society in January to determine what needed to be done to expand the Law Society's current public interest mandate of regulating Ontario's lawyers to include others who provide legal services.
As of now, paralegals are not regulated and there have been incidents of improper advice or criminal behaviour on the part of some paralegals..
According to the proposed model:
- Independent paralegals would be licensed and regulated by the Law Society of Upper Canada;
- Paralegals would be authorized to provide services in permitted areas of practice - e.g. Small Claims Court, tribunals, and matters and appeals under the Provincial Offences Act. This means paralegals could work on such matters as highway traffic cases and workers' compensation claims;
- To ensure their competence, paralegals would be required to take an approved college program including a field placement, and pass a licensing examination;
- Applicants for a paralegal licence would have to demonstrate they are of good character;
- Paralegals would be required to adhere to a code of conduct, carry insurance and contribute to a compensation fund;
- A process for receiving and investigating consumer complaints would be developed to mirror the system already in place for lawyers. Paralegals found to have engaged in misconduct would be subject to the same types of penalties lawyers face, including the possible loss of their licence; and
- Paralegals would elect representatives from amongst themselves to sit on a Standing Committee on Paralegal Regulation and have seats on the Law Society's governing body, giving them a formal role in the regulation of all legal service providers.
Implementation of the model will require the passage of legislation by the Ontario government.
Full Report of the Law Society Task Force on Paralegal Regulation
Justice Minister Irwin Cotler Receives Honorary Law Degree [LL.D.]
The Law Society of Upper Canada awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws degree [LL.D.] to the Honourable Irwin Cotler, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, for his tireless efforts to promote access to justice for all people and in recognition of his commitment to the advancement of human rights.
"The Honourable Irwin Cotler has served our profession admirably and is deserving of the highest honour," said Law Society Treasurer Frank Marrocco, Q.C. "His dedication to public service - to the Bar, to the community and to students - exemplifies the character and integrity to which the legal profession aspires. He is truly a role model for the profession."
After receiving his LL.D., Cotler presented a keynote address to judges, law professors and other members of the legal community who attended the Call to the Bar ceremony held at Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto.
Information About LL.D
LawPRO holds insurance premium increase to five per cent in 2005
LawPRO presented its annual report to Convocation in September.
LawPRO press release
Report to Convocation
Convocation Approves Funding for Sole and Small Firm Practitioners' History Project
The Law Society of Upper Canada approved a Heritage Committee proposal for a sole and small firm practitioner history project with recently retired, or soon to be retiring lawyers.
The project will focus on encouraging lawyers in sole or small firm practices who have expressed an interest in writing their memoirs to do so. These lawyers, located in diverse communities across the province, will also be encouraged to participate in roundtable discussions about documenting the history of their careers.
The materials produced will make a contribution to historic material on the role of the legal profession in Ontario society.
Report of the Heritage Committee
Convocation Approves Amendments to By-Law 34 on Professional Corporations
The Law Society of Upper Canada approved amendments to By-Law 34 on Professional Corporations resulting from amendments made in May 2004 to Rule 3.02 of the Rules of Professional Conduct on law firms names. The amendments mirror the Rules and permit professional corporations to use descriptive or trade names.
Motion to Amend By-Law 34
- The Governance Task Force was established by the Treasurer with the following members: Clayton Ruby (Chair), Sy Eber, Abraham Feinstein, George Hunter, Vern Krishna, Laura Legge, and Harvey Strosberg.
- The Task Force for Employment Opportunities for Articling Students was established with the following members: Earl Cherniak (Chair), Andrea Alexander, Paul Copeland, and George Hunter.
- The Tribunal Task Force was established with the following members: Anne Marie Doyle (Chair), Sydney Robins (Vice-chair), Larry Banack, Carole Curtis, George Hunter, Gavin MacKenzie, and Gerald Swaye.
- Mark Sandler was appointed to the Law Society's Equity & Aboriginal Issues Committee and to the Government Relations and Public Affairs Committee.
- Judith Potter was appointed to the Government Relations & Public Affairs Committee.
- Peter Bourque was appointed Law Society representative to the CanLII Board of Directors.
- Bob Aaron, Marion Boyd, Malcolm Heins, Norm Rogers, Brad Wright were all appointed to the Law Society Foundation for a period of one year.
- Appointed to the Audit Sub-Committee are: Ross Murray (Chair), Andrea Alexander, Abdul Chahbar, Paul Dray, Neil Finkelstein, and Beth Symes.
- Appointed to the Lawyers Fund for Client Compensation Committee are: Robert Topp (Chair), Bradley Wright (Vice-chair), Gordon Bobesich, Andrew Coffey, Abraham Feinstein, Dr. Richard Filion, and Laura Legge.
- Larry Banack, Susan Elliott, and Laurence Pattillo were all appointed to the Law Foundation of Ontario Board of Trustees.
- Ronald Cass was appointed to the Ontario Lawyers' Gazette Advisory Board.
- Bradley Wright was appointed to the Ontario Bar Association Council, replacing Ross Murray, for the remainder of the term expiring September 2005.