E-Brief: September 2018

Benchers approve 2019 fees

The Benchers have approved the 2019 practice fee and insurance fee, as recommended by the Finance and Audit Committee. The total annual fee for full-time practising, insured lawyers for 2019 will be $4,060.17. The practice fee increase of $120.45 anticipates an increase in the number of discipline cases expected to go to hearings this year, the additional work necessary to support anti-money laundering monitoring and enforcement, and the impact of the new employers health tax. The full-time insurance fee is unchanged from $1,800. More information on the 2019 fees is available here.

2018 Law Society Award recipient

The Benchers have selected Richard C.C. Peck, QC as the recipient of the 2018 Law Society Award. Peck has made extraordinary contributions to the administration of justice and to the legal profession for more than 40 years. He has served in a number of leadership roles throughout his career, including as a Bencher of the Law Society from 1988 to 1997. Peck will be presented with the Law Society Award at the 34th annual Bench and Bar Dinner on November 7, 2018. To read more about Peck's achievements, visit the website.

Law Society seeks feedback on alternate legal service providers

Consultation is underway regarding a draft proposal to establish a new class of legal service professional who would hold a limited scope licence to practise in the area of family law. The consultation paper containing the proposed scope of practice can be found here. Lawyers are invited to submit their views to consultation2018@lsbc.org by November 16, 2018.

Annual general meeting: Tuesday, October 30, 2018

A reminder that the Law Society's 2018 annual general meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 30. Business of the meeting will include the election of the 2019 second vice-president, appointment of Law Society auditors, and consideration of members’ resolutions. Further details will be provided in the Second Notice of Annual General Meeting in early October.

Law firm regulation update

October 19, 2018 is the deadline for those law firms selected to participate in the law firm regulation pilot to complete the self-assessment. Following the deadline, the Law Firm Regulation Task Force expects to report on the outcomes of the pilot project and provide recommendations to the Benchers by year-end. The Benchers will then consider the recommendations to determine the future course of the law firm regulation initiative.

Amendments to Law Society Rules

The Benchers approved amendments to a number of Law Society Rules: 1) to govern information-sharing with other law societies in compliance with the National Discipline Standards, and consolidate and expand on existing provisions; 2) in most cases, credentials hearing decisions will now be published anonymously; and 3) the experience needed to qualify as a CPD mentor mirrors the qualifying period to be a principal to an articled student. Click here for highlights of amendments. 

Holds on trust cheques, certified cheques and bank drafts

Financial institutions can and have placed holds on trust cheques, certified cheques and banks drafts. A hold on these financial instruments can cause issues with lawyers' undertakings and closings. Read this resource with five risk management tips to reduce the risk of a hold.

Phony DocuSign scam

Two BC lawyers have reported receiving phony DocuSign requests to access real estate documents by clicking on a link. The purpose of the scam is to enable a scammer to access confidential information (including bank accounts, passwords, etc.) or install malware. Even if the sender appears to be a client or another lawyer, consider the possibility that a fraudster is at work. Similar scams have been reported by lawyers in Alberta; see the Alberta Fraud Alert for more information. Read more about other scam attempts against lawyers and steps that you can take to protect yourself. If you are considering using a third-party storage provider, review your obligations in Law Society Rule 10-4. If you receive suspicious emails, please forward them to bbuchanan@lsbc.org.

Reminder: continuing professional development

All BC practising lawyers must complete 12 hours of approved CPD by year-end. Click here for a list of eligible activities that can be counted as credits. Lawyers can also search for upcoming courses here.

Changes to the property transfer tax (PTT) return

Lawyers who complete property transfers need to become familiar with the new property transfer tax return (version 31) that came into effect on September 17, 2018. The new PTT return is available on the LTSA website.

Survey: harassment in the legal profession

The International Bar Association is conducting a global survey on bullying and sexual harassment in the legal profession. Lawyers interested in participating may complete the survey at this link.

From the courts

The Supreme Court of BC has issued an Administrative Notice outlining the process that persons who have been declared vexatious litigants must follow to request leave of the court to initiate new proceedings or file materials within existing proceedings.

To keep up to date with Law Society news and events, follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.
Send your comments or questions to communications@lsbc.org.