E-Brief: April 2022

Updates to Lawyer Directory to display pronouns and a title/honorific

To assist in letting members of the public and colleagues know how to refer to you, the Law Society has implemented changes to the Member Portal and Lawyer Directory to give you the option to add your pronouns and a title/honorific to your Lawyer Directory profile. You will have control over whether to display your pronouns and title/honorific in the Lawyer Directory or just provide them to the Law Society for the purpose of communicating with you. The list of pronoun and title/honorific options provided is intended to be inclusive, but it will be updated from time to time as may be required. To update your profile and for further information, visit the Member Portal.

Practice advice decision-making assistant now available online, 24/7

The Law Society has launched a new online tool that is available 24/7 to lawyers seeking assistance with ethics and practice management questions. The Advice Decision-Making Assistant (ADMA) provides guided pathways to helpful links and resources, specifically curated to be responsive to questions about professional responsibility. ADMA also provides an online booking system to schedule a call with a practice advisor for further assistance. ADMA was developed in-house and designed to be user-friendly, intuitive and available whenever you need it. To access ADMA, click here.

Benchers approve in principle granting CPD credit for pro bono

The governing board of the Law Society has approved in principle granting CPD credits to lawyers who provide pro bono service delivery to people with limited means or non-profit organizations. The board has asked staff to make recommendations for the board to consider regarding the number of hours that may be credited for CPD and what must be provided to obtain the credit.

Changes coming for accrediting continuing professional development

The Law Society is simplifying the process for reporting learning activities for CPD credit. Lawyers will soon be able to report learning activities without waiting for a review and approval of the learning activity, once the current CPD on-line system has been reconfigured to facilitate the changes. The change comes following a review of more than 30,000 requests for CPD accreditation over the past decade showing that over 99% of requests were approved after review. This change does not alter the criteria that CPD should meet or the requirement to report a minimum of 12 hours of CPD. Further details will be provided.

Register now: “Working together for families” online events co-hosted with Doctors of BC

Practising lawyers and physicians who serve BC families experiencing high-conflict separation and divorce are invited to participate in two online events on May 18 and June 14, from 5 to 7 pm, focused on “Working together for families” – a collaborative approach to serving families experiencing the toxic stress of a family relationship breakdown. The sessions are eligible for CPD credit. In the May 18 session, participants will be invited to share observations, hear each other’s perspectives and explore the patient/client experience. The theme of the June 14 session is “start with ourselves” and is an opportunity to become more aware of the impact on professionals who are dealing with the toxic situations of their clients/patients, and to explore what can be done to maintain and improve your health. To register, click here.

Guidance on Canadian sanctions related to Russia and Belarus

In recent weeks, the government of Canada has introduced new sanctions against Russia and related parties in relation to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations, the Special Economic Measures (Ukraine) Regulations and the Special Economic Measures (Belarus) Regulations, made under the Special Economic Measures Act, impose an asset freeze and prohibit dealings with designated persons, including both individuals and entities. The sanctions have important implications for legal professionals.

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada's Policy Counsel Counterpart Group has developed guidance to assist lawyers with understanding the implications of the sanctions on the legal profession. Legal professionals should familiarize themselves with the sanctions and exercise due diligence in determining whether the sanctions apply to a matter or client with whom they are dealing, and stay up to date on any changes to the sanctions.

Law Society enhances regulatory options with new tools, new program

At its April meeting, the governing board of the Law Society approved the introduction of administrative financial penalties for certain rule breaches where the current result for a first offence is usually a conduct review. Unlike conduct reviews, which are published anonymously and noted on a lawyer’s professional conduct record, administrative penalties will be reported publicly and provide an effective penalty for certain rule violations without consuming considerable time and resources of the subject lawyer and the Law Society.

The board also approved the rules for an alternative discipline program for cases where an underlying health issue has led to conduct resulting in a complaint. The new program gives the executive director discretion to determine if it would be appropriate for a lawyer to be moved from the normal disciplinary process to health treatment. An approach that has been adopted by other regulators in BC and across the country, the Law Society’s program will require lawyers approved for the program to fulfill certain conditions. Further information about the administrative penalties and the alternative discipline program are available on the website.

Reminder: CDIC changes effective April 30, 2022 for trust accounts

In March, the Law Society provided information about changes to the rules governing insurance protection for deposits held “in trust” at Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) effective April 30, 2022. To review the information and new FAQs, please click here. For more information about the changes and the process, see the CDIC’s website and contact your member institution.

Annual General Meeting: Wednesday, June 22, 2022

The Law Society's 2022 Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held on Wednesday, June 22. Any member resolutions to be considered at the 2022 AGM must be submitted electronically, signed by two members in good standing, and be received by the Executive Director via email to AGM@lsbc.org no later than 5 pm on Tuesday, May 17, 2022. More information about the AGM is available on our website, and further details about the meeting will be provided in the Second Notice of the AGM in early June.

Video recording of the Rule of Law lecture featuring Marie Henein available now

On April 4, 2022, the Law Society again hosted a Rule of Law lecture after a hiatus due to the pandemic. Those attending in person and online were treated to renowned criminal defence lawyer Marie Henein explaining the fundamental role and importance of an independent legal profession to protecting the rights of citizens and upholding democracy. Heinen’s remarks and a moderated discussion led by Jacqueline McQueen, QC were recorded and are available here.

From Lawyers Indemnity Fund

2021, a strong year for the Lawyers Indemnity Fund

Was your indemnity program there for you in 2021? Yes, it was, despite the obstacles we all faced and learned from. Take two minutes to watch this video of LIF’s Chief Operating Officer, Su Forbes, QC, as she shares the program changes and highlights in 2021.

Review our concise digital annual report or download a pdf of our comprehensive Program Report.

In case you missed it: Purchase or sale of a business – The most common claims and how to avoid them

Corporate/commercial claims, which include acting for a client on the purchase or sale of a business, account for significant claim payments from the fund each year. Last year this amounted to $4 million. Even a simple mistake in this practice area can lead to a costly and complex claim. Take three minutes to watch this video of Claims Counsel Surindar Nijjar to learn about the most common mistakes lawyers make in the purchase or sale of a business, and the easy steps you can take to avoid them.

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Send your comments or questions to communications@lsbc.org.