E-Brief: September 2020

Provincial state of emergency extended

The provincial government extended the state of emergency for another two weeks, to the end of day September 29, 2020, which makes this Friday the six-month mark since the provincial state of emergency was first declared. Even once the state of emergency is eventually lifted, the public health emergency and provincial health officer’s directives are expected to remain in place until further notice. The Law Society continues to monitor the situation and will share information and updates on the pandemic response and provincial restart plan as we learn of them.

Please remember that there are resources available to support you with managing the challenges of this prolonged pandemic and the uncertainties of what lays ahead this Fall. The Lawyers Assistance Program remains open and continues to meet with clients remotely. LifeWorks offers 24/7 online assistance with a range of health, financial and other concerns and updates resources and information on its website regularly. The Canadian Mental Health Association has a dedicated COVID-19 web page, with information and links for employers and employees during these challenging times. As well, the BC Psychological Association is offering help for any BC resident experiencing stress, anxiety or uncertainty due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, visit the BCPA website.

Rule of Law Matters podcast launches

The Law Society is launching the Rule of Law Matters podcast to raise awareness and promote dialogue on what the rule of law means and why it matters. The podcast will introduce listeners to the concept of the rule of law and draw from real-life, current events. In the pilot episode “Introduction to the rule of law,” host Jon Festinger, QC and President Craig Ferris, QC discuss why the Law Society created this podcast, the basic principles of the rule of law and why people should care about the rule of law more than ever in our increasingly polarized society. To listen to the Rule of Law Matters podcast, visit the Law Society’s website, or find the episode on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

Free trust accounting CPD courses available online

Trust accounting courses are available online and eligible for CPD credit. The Trust Accounting Basics webinar includes information on opening and operating a trust account, seven key concepts in trust accounting, dealing with trust shortages and inactive trust balances and understanding and preparing trust reconciliations. The Trust Accounting Regulatory Requirements webinar covers reporting requirements to the Executive Director of the Law Society, the compliance audit process and common exceptions identified during a compliance audit. For a full list of trust accounting courses and resources, click here.

Updated Client Identification and Verification Checklist

The Client Identification and Verification Checklist, part of the Law Society’s Practice Checklists Manual, has been updated. The checklist, current to September 1, 2020, may be used to aid understanding of the Law Society Rules in Part 3 – Division 11 (Rules 3-98 to 3-110) and to record information. The checklist is available as a Word document so that lawyers can edit it to particularize it to their practice areas and to include additional information.

Fraudsters posing as a Law Society auditor

A lawyer recently received a text message from an unknown number requesting a call to discuss a Law Society audit. The Trust Assurance Department does not send text messages to advise lawyers of a compliance audit. Lawyers are notified of an audit by a letter on Law Society letterhead that is emailed to the designated representative appointed by the firm. If you are unsure whether you received legitimate correspondence regarding an audit, contact the Trust Assurance Department at 604.697.5810 or trustaccounting@lsbc.org. For more information about fraud prevention, see our Fraud Prevention web page.

In case you missed it: learn about your indemnification policy in this Lawyers Indemnity Fund risk management video

Let’s admit it: reading an indemnification policy is boring.  Yet, it is one of the most important documents in your practice to understand − what is covered, what is not, and changes to your coverage. Make sure you know about the changes made to your 2020 policy. Watch this three-minute video of Shelley Braun, Director of Underwriting and Claims at LIF, to learn more. An overview of the policy and answers to frequently answered questions about your indemnification program can be found here.

Have your say: AGM resolutions remain available for comment

The deadline for proposing, amending or withdrawing resolutions has passed, but the opportunity to engage in debate and comment on any of the three resolutions continues. To access the resolutions and comment board, log into the Member Portal.

2020 Bencher by-election call for nominations

Nominations are now open for the upcoming Bencher by-election in Vancouver County. Nominations close at 5:00 pm on Thursday, October 15, 2020. In light of the current health directives, nominations can only be accepted by email to BencherRelations@lsbc.org. Online voting will take place from Friday, October 30 until 5:00 pm on Friday, November 13, 2020. Votes will be counted on Monday, November 16, 2020. To view details of the by-election, including timelines, eligibility and the nomination process, view the Notice to the Profession and Call for Nominations dated September 14, 2020. The nomination form can be downloaded here.

Free lawyer wellness webinars from Continuing Legal Education of BC

The Continuing Legal Education Society of BC is offering eight complimentary lawyer-wellness webinars during their Last Kick at the Can series from December 8 – 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. Visit the links for more details and registration info.

New statutory right of way requirements for ALR lands

As of September 30 2020, lawyers filing statutory right of way applications for ALR lands will need to include a declaration form that attaches an Agricultural Land Commission notification response. Learn more here.


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