News Release
November 08, 2022

The Law Society of BC has issued a “no-action” letter (available here) under the auspices of our Innovation Sandbox to the lawyer partners and law corporations of the current law firm Whitelaw Twining.

The “no-action” letter is based on the advice that, following the transfer of Whitelaw Twining’s business and clients to the partnership, Whitelaw Twining will be dissolved and the former partners of Whitelaw Twining will form a BC limited liability partnership with DWF Adjusting (Canada) Limited under the name of WT BCA Limited Liability Partnership. WT BCA LLP will provide legal services, with a focus on insurance and commercial litigation, as well as claims management and adjusting services to clients of the partnership.  DWF will not own or operate Whitelaw Twining going forward and the existing business of Whitelaw Twining will be continued in WT BCA LLP under the conditions established by the Law Society.

In 2020, the Law Society’s Futures Task Force recommended allowing for innovation in legal service delivery and alternative business structures while protecting the public, including looking at the current regulations and restrictions on law firm ownership and investment, as well as multi-disciplinary practice and partnership structures and establishing a regulatory sandbox to allow innovations, which may be illegal or unethical under current regulations, to be piloted and evaluated in a controlled environment. The use of regulatory sandboxes to foster innovation in the delivery of legal services, such as alternate business structures, has been taken up by a number of other jurisdictions, including Arizona and Utah.

The “no-action” letter issued to WT BCA LLP provides for a number of conditions consistent with the Law Society’s current Rules permitting multi-disciplinary practices. The lawyer partners of WT BCA LLP must have actual control over the delivery of legal services and must be able to exercise independent professional judgment and take any action necessary to comply with their obligations under the Legal Profession Act, (the Act), the Law Society Rules (the Rules) and the BC Code other than those required by Rule 9-15(3) and Chapter 3, Rule 3.6-7 of the Code. They must also take steps, including the implementation of screening measures, if necessary, to ensure that no improper disclosure of privileged or confidential information is made to any person, including a person appointed by the regulatory body of another profession in relation to the practice of another partner or employee.

If the lawyer partners fail to meet any of the conditions in the letter or the partnership engages in, or proposes to engage in, conduct that presents a risk of harm to the public or undermines the integrity of the administration of justice, the Law Society may take action under Parts 3 (Protection of the Public) and Part 4 (Discipline).