E-Brief: November 2020

Reminder on Law Society office hours and paying fees in-person

As reported in the October E-brief, the Benchers approved changes for the 2021 annual practice fee to be paid in two installments. If you are planning to pay fees in person, please note the Law Society’s reception hours are Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4 pm. For the health and safety of our employees and visitors, we have implemented COVID-19 measures, which include requiring masks and limiting the number of individuals at a time in building elevators. We encourage you to submit payments ahead of the November 30 deadline, if possible.

Vancouver County Bencher by-election reminder

Online voting for the Bencher by-election in the County of Vancouver (District No. 1) is now open, with balloting closing at 5:00 pm on Friday, November 13, 2020. Votes will be counted on Monday, November 16, 2020. Voting credentials and a link to the voting platform are available to eligible voters in the Member Portal. Candidate biographies and election statements can be viewed here and are also posted on the online voting site. For details of the by-election, read the Notice to the Profession and Call for Nominations dated September 14, 2020.

Time extension for call and admission

The provincial health restrictions on the size of gatherings and physical distancing continue to disrupt the ability to conduct call ceremonies. To accommodate those affected by this disruption, the Benchers approved amendments to the Law Society Rules to extend the time lawyers who have been called and admitted have to be presented in open court before a judge of the Supreme Court until December 31, 2021. See highlights of amendments here.

In-house lawyers can now purchase coverage from LIF

The Benchers approved changes that allow in-house lawyers to participate in the indemnification program by purchasing a policy on an optional basis. These changes recognize that the role of in-house lawyers in the profession continues to expand and evolve. In-house lawyers who provide legal services to third parties at their employer’s request, or who may face claims by third parties, or who simply wish to provide pro bono legal services will now be able to obtain coverage from LIF. Please contact Member Services if you would like to apply, or Shelley Braun, Director of Underwriting and Claims, at 604.443.5761 or SBraun@lsbc.org for more information about the coverage.

ICYMI: Lawyers Indemnity Fund video on missed limitations and deadlines are on the rise

One in every four reports to the Lawyers Indemnity Fund is triggered by a missed limitation or deadline. Year after year, lawyers from every area of practice – big firms and small firms, senior lawyers and new calls – fall into the same traps. Watch this video of LIF Claims Counsel, Greg Sexton, on how to prevent missed limitations and deadlines by adopting some simple practices and procedures for you and your staff to follow. You can learn even more risk management tips on our website here.

Opportunities for lawyers to help small businesses

Small Business BC is inviting expressions of interest from lawyers across B.C. to assess the solvency of businesses and help them develop recovery plans. Lawyers who are matched with businesses will be reimbursed for their services, up to a maximum of $2,000 (including taxes) per grant. This is a time-limited opportunity. Interested lawyers are asked to submit their expression of interest to Small Business BC by 11:59 pm on November 18, 2020. Further information about the grants and eligibility may be found here.

Law Foundation and Legal Aid BC board vacancies

The Law Society is seeking expressions of interest for appointments as the Law Society’s nominee to the Law Foundation of British Columbia’s Board of Governors and to Legal Aid BC’s Board of Directors. For more information about the appointments process and requirements for each board position, see our website. You may submit an application online.

Free, remote CPD

In an ongoing effort to assist lawyers seeking to fulfil CPD requirements during this challenging time, the Law Society continues to update programs that are available remotely and free of charge. Continuing Legal Education Society of BC is offering eight complimentary lawyer-wellness webinars during their Last Kick at the Can series from December 8 to 17, 2020. Courses include: Dealing with Vicarious Trauma in Your Practice, Managing Anxiety in a Time of Uncertainty and Coping with Change and Unexpected Losses During COVID-19.

Courthouse Libraries BC is offering Helping Criminalized Women Reduce Vulnerability: Workshop on Criminal Record Suspension (November 25, 2020 from 12:30 to 2 pm), Civility in the Criminal Bar: 2nd Annual Lunch & Learn (December 2, 2020 from 1 to 3 pm) and Interrupting Bias: How Systemic Racism, Discrimination and Distorted Thinking Lead to Wrongful Convictions (December 12, 12:30 to 2 pm).

Further information about free, online CPD programs is available on the Law Society’s website.

Rule of Law Matters podcast: Lawyer independence and the rule of law

Season 1, episode 3 of the Rule of Law Matters podcast is now available. In this episode, President Craig Ferris, QC and Jon Festinger, QC discuss what it means for lawyers to be independent, why lawyers must represent their clients’ interests, and what could happen if lawyers are threatened for just doing their job. To listen to the Rule of Law Matters podcast, visit the Law Society’s website, or subscribe to our podcast on Spotify or Apple Podcasts to receive new episodes, right in your player. Stay tuned for our next episode, where we will be discussing the rise of authoritarianism around the world with Professor Irwin Cotler, Chair of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights and renowned international human rights lawyer.


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