Notice to the Profession
September 13, 2021

An election will be held on Tuesday, November 16, 2021 for Benchers of the Law Society of British Columbia in all districts for a two-year term beginning January 1, 2022 and ending December 31, 2023.

The 2021 Bencher election will be conducted in accordance with the Legal Profession Act, Law Society Rules 1-20 to 1-44 and the Code of Professional Conduct. There is an expectation that candidates will conduct themselves in a courteous and professional manner. 

Candidate eligibility and nominations

Law Society Rules 1-22 and 1-23 outline the qualifications required of a candidate for election as a Bencher and the nomination process.

Nominations of candidates for election must be received by the Law Society by 5:00 pm on Friday, October 15, 2021. Please send nomination forms by email to BencherRelations@lsbc.org.

Nomination forms may be downloaded from the Bencher election page of the Law Society website or by contacting BencherRelations@lsbc.org.

Each nomination must be signed by two nominators (who are eligible to vote in the district in which the nominee seeks to be a candidate, and are members in good standing) and must contain the nominee’s consent to the nomination.

Benchers encourage diversity in candidates seeking office

The Benchers believe that the Law Society's mandate to protect the public interest in the administration of justice is best served by leadership from diverse backgrounds and experience. Diversity that brings the skill and richness of talent reflected in the peoples of British Columbia strengthens our legal community and the community at large. All lawyers who meet the qualifications for Bencher and want to contribute to the governance of the profession are encouraged to stand for election. We particularly encourage Indigenous lawyers, racialized lawyers, LGBTQ2+ lawyers, lawyers with disabilities, young lawyers, and those practising predominantly in solicitors' fields to stand for election, as these groups continue to be underrepresented among elected Benchers. Although the Law Society has achieved, and been enriched by, gender parity among its elected Benchers, it continues to encourage women to stand for election as part of its commitment to achieve leadership that is reflective of the talents and strengths of all British Columbians.

Electoral districts and process

Law Society Rule 1-21(1) lists the nine Bencher electoral districts into which the province is divided. This election will be for Benchers in all nine districts.

Pursuant to Rule 1-21(2), the number of Benchers to be elected from each district must be reduced by one for each Bencher from that district who holds office as First Vice-President, Second Vice-President or Second Vice-President-elect.

For the two-year term beginning January 1, 2022 and ending December 31, 2023, the number of Benchers to be elected from the County of Vancouver (District No. 1) has been reduced from thirteen to twelve, because First Vice-President Lisa Hamilton, QC is from Vancouver County. The number of Benchers to be elected from the County of Westminster (District No. 4) has been reduced from three to two, because Second Vice-President Christopher McPherson, QC is from Westminster County. If Vancouver County Bencher Jeevyn Dhaliwal, QC, the Benchers’ nominee for the office of Second Vice-President-elect in 2022, is elected at the Annual General Meeting on October 5, 2021 the number from the County of Vancouver will be further reduced from twelve to eleven. Under Rule 1-5(4), these three individuals automatically continue as Benchers until they complete their terms as President.

Rule 1-24 provides that, if the number of candidates nominated does not exceed the number to be elected in a district, the Executive Director must declare that those nominated are elected as Benchers for that district. Notice of any Benchers declared elected by acclamation will be provided to all members after the close of nominations on October 15, 2021 and before online voting commences on November 1, 2021.

Voting

The Law Society will use a third party company, Simply Voting, to provide online voting for the 2021 Bencher election, and the election will be conducted entirely electronically.

An email communication will be sent to all eligible voters on Monday, November 1, 2021 which will include voting instructions, a randomly generated password, and a link to the voting site. If you are unable to participate by electronic vote, please contact Avalon Bourne, Manager of Governance & Board Relations, at 604.443.5706 (toll-free 1.800.903.5300) or ABourne@lsbc.org.

Candidates’ biographies and election statements

Candidates’ biographical summaries and election statements will be available on the Bencher election page of the Law Society website and on the Simply Voting site after the close of nominations on October 15, 2021 and by the start of voting on November 1, 2021.

Roles and duties of the Benchers

The Benchers are the Law Society’s volunteer board of governors. They govern and administer the affairs of the Law Society in accordance with the Legal Profession Act, set and enforce standards of professional responsibility for lawyers, and preside at discipline and credentials hearings.

Benchers can expect their duties to consume approximately seven or eight hours per week, four or five full days a month, or 200 hours per year. This is made up of preparation for and attendance at Bencher meetings, committee, task force or working group meetings, and sitting on hearing panels.

For more information, see the Law Society website under About Us > Benchers and the Bencher Elections page.

Further information

For information on the election of Benchers, see Rules 1-20 through 1-44. If you have questions about the election process, please contact Avalon Bourne, Manager of Governance & Board Relations, at 604.443.5706 (toll-free 1.800.903.5300) or ABourne@lsbc.org.