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Our latest news highlights:

The Law Society Award – call for nominations

[posted May 18, 2016]

[originally posted April 22; updated May 18, 2016]

The deadline for nominations is approaching.

Lawyers are encouraged to nominate a candidate to receive the 2016 Law Society Award. The deadline for nominations is Tuesday, May 31, 2016. The award honours the lifetime contributions of truly exceptional lawyers in BC. Offered every two years, the award is based on the criteria of integrity, professional achievement, service and law reform.

For more information, including how to submit a nomination, download the flyer or click here.

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Ethics Committee consultation on transferring lawyer rules

[posted May 12, 2016]

The Ethics Committee is seeking input from the profession on proposed amendments to the rules governing transferring lawyers.

The transferring lawyer rules apply when a lawyer changes firms. Concerns such as appropriate communications with clients, clients’ confidential information, and potential conflicts of interest between clients of the new and former firms may arise. The Ethics Committee is considering amendments to the current transferring lawyer rules in the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia, which would align the BC Code more closely with the Federation of Law Societies’ Model Code.

Click here to download the Consultation Memorandum comparing excerpts from the current BC Code, the Model Code, and the draft amendments. Please send your comments for the consideration of the Ethics Committee to Lance Cooke, Staff Lawyer, Policy & Legal Services, by email to lcooke@lsbc.org.

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2015 Magna Carta secondary school essay contest

[posted May 11, 2016]

Essay contest winner and runner-upThe Law Society congratulates essay contest winner Han Wei (Helen) Luo (pictured left), Law 12 student from Hugh McRoberts Secondary School in Richmond, and runner-up Anushka Kurian, Law 12 student from Hugh Boyd Secondary School in Richmond, for their exemplary essays on the topic of “Magna Carta and its relevance to Canada in the 21st Century.”

Winning essay: “The Journey of the Magna Carta” by Han Wei (Helen) Luo

Runner-up essay: “The Ripple Effect of the Magna Carta” by Anushka J. Kurian

The Law Society launched the essay contest in March 2015 to acknowledge the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta and to support the goal of raising public awareness of the importance of the rule of law and the proper administration of justice.

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Articling offers by downtown Vancouver firms to stay open to August 12

[posted May 11, 2016]

All offers of articling positions made this year by law firms with offices in downtown Vancouver must remain open until 8 am on Friday, August 12, 2016. Downtown Vancouver is defined as the area in the city of Vancouver west of Carrall Street and north of False Creek.

Set by the Credentials Committee under Rule 2-58, the deadline applies to offers made to both first and second-year law students. The deadline does not affect offers made to third-year law students or offers of summer positions (temporary articles).

If the offer is not accepted, the firm can make a new offer to another student within the same day. Law firms cannot ask students whether they would accept an offer if an offer was made, as this places students in the very position Rule 2-58 is intended to prevent. If a law student advises that he or she has accepted another offer before August 12, the firm can consider its offer rejected.

If a third party advises a lawyer that a student has accepted another offer, the lawyer must confirm this information with the student. Should circumstances arise that require the withdrawal of an articling offer prior to August 12, the lawyer must receive prior approval from the Credentials Committee. The committee may consider conflicts of interest or other factors that reflect on a student’s suitability as an articled student in deciding whether to allow the lawyer to withdraw the offer.

For further information, contact Member Services at 604.605.5311.

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New Appointed Bencher

[posted April 21, 2016]

Daniel SmithThe Law Society welcomes recently appointed Bencher Daniel Smith. Appointed Benchers are non-lawyers selected by the provincial Cabinet to represent the public interest.

Dan is a citizen of the Laich Kwil Tach Nation, member of the Campbell River Indian Band on Vancouver Island and former Chief Negotiator for the Hamatla Treaty Society. 

Dan began his career in the commercial fishing, logging and trucking industry, gaining experience in negotiations as an active member of the International Woodworkers of America and the Teamsters Union of Canada. He has extensive experience working with local First Nations communities, provincial, national and international Indigenous organizations and provincial and federal governments. 

Dan has worked in senior positions with Canada Employment and Immigration, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Indian Northern Affairs Canada and Canadian Heritage. He was elected by the Chiefs of the First Nations Summit as one of three members of its Political Executive and Leadership Council. After serving his term, the Chiefs elected him to the BC Treaty Commission as a commissioner. Dan is now retired. 

Dan was raised by his grandparents in Wuikinuxv Nation, Rivers Inlet and Campbell River Indian Band and later moved to Vancouver to attend school. 

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2015 Report on Performance and financial statements now available

[posted April 15, 2016]

The Law Society's 2015 Report on Performance and audited financial statements are now available online. Our annual report provides a progress update on strategic initiatives in the first year of our 2015-2017 Strategic Plan. For the ninth year, we also review key performance measures for our core regulatory functions to evaluate the overall effectiveness of Law Society programs. These performance measures form a critical part of our regulatory transparency, informing the public, government, the media and the legal community about how we are meeting our regulatory obligations.

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Important PLTC registration information for 2016 – updated

[posted April 4, 2016]

[originally posted June 17, 2015; updated April 4, 2016] 

 

Update: The Law Society is still accepting applicants for the May Kamloops and September Vancouver PLTC sessions (May 30 – August 5, 2016 and September 12 – November 18, 2016, respectively). Please forward these applications to the attention of Amity Chow, PLTC department. For any questions concerning PLTC registration, contact Amity Chow at AChow@lsbc.org.


Does your firm plan to hire an articled student to start in 2016? The number of articled students in BC has increased substantially in recent years. Early PLTC applicants are more likely to be placed in their session of choice.

Although PLTC has greatly increased its capacity and does its best to place students in the session of their first choice, this is not always possible. For the best chance of your student attending the PLTC session of choice, please note the following registration deadlines for 2016 PLTC:

  • October 15, 2015: to attend PLTC February - April 2016 (Vancouver only)
  • December 15, 2015: to attend PLTC May - July 2016 (Vancouver, Victoria or Kamloops)
  • March 01, 2016 [deadline extended – see box above]: to attend PLTC September - November 2016 (Vancouver only)

As there are often more applications for a particular session than there is space, applicants may be asked to choose between attending a later session or attending in a different location. That is why we recommend that applications be submitted as early as possible.

Some tips:

  • If the registration deadline has already passed, contact PLTC as there may still be space available or a wait list.
  • A student’s second choice on the application must be one he or she is able to attend.
  • Students currently attending law school in Kamloops or Victoria may have a better chance of summer registration in those locations regardless of where they are articling.
  • If a student will be attending a later session than what was requested, the firm can avoid “interrupting” articles with PLTC by delaying the start of articles until after PLTC is complete.
  • If a student has specific health or family reasons for needing to attend a particular location, include that information with the application.

Articling and PLTC are important components of the Law Society Admission Program, helping to build a foundation for new lawyers beginning the practice of law. If you have any questions or want further information on the Law Society Admissions Program, visit our web page here.

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Law firm regulation consultation

[posted March 23, 2016]

The Law Firm Regulation Task Force continues to seek input from lawyers.

Regulating law firms as well as individual lawyers aims to provide more efficient and effective regulation – both from the public and the lawyer perspective. It is meant to simplify and improve the regulatory process from the perspective of the individual lawyer, not to create additional regulatory burden.

If firms were regulated, they would bear responsibility for activities that transcend the work of any individual lawyer, including, for example, advertising, accounting or file management.

Entity regulation is not unique to BC, or Canada. Regulators of the legal profession in England, Europe and Australia have adopted various forms of law firm regulation. In Canada, other law societies are studying how best to apply law firm regulation to the legal profession in their province.

Making law firm regulation a reality is part of the Law Society’s Strategic Plan for 2015-2017. In the fall of 2014 the Law Firm Regulation Task Force was created and given the mandate of recommending a framework for regulating law firms.

Consultation with the profession is underway

The task force thanks everyone who participated in the consultations to date. Over 100 lawyers responded to a survey in November 2015 and over 110 lawyers attended sessions that were held in 11 cities around the province in February, 2016.

It's not too late to be heard. Lawyers are encouraged to provide their comments for the task force to consider:

by email: firmregulation@lsbc.org

by letter:

Law Firm Regulation Task Force
c/o Michael Lucas
Law Society of British Columbia
845 Cambie Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 4Z9

If you would like the Law Firm Regulation Task Force to bring any future consultation opportunities to your attention, please provide your name and email address to firmregulation@lsbc.org.

For more information on this initiative, see Law firm regulation – consultation.

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Law Society appeals TWU decision

[posted January 5, 2016]

The Law Society has filed an appeal of the recent decision of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in TWU v. Law Society of British Columbia.

The Law Society is appealing on the grounds the Court erred in deciding the procedure followed by the Benchers was inappropriate, and erred in finding TWU was not afforded procedural fairness. The Law Society takes the position that it properly made the right decision in October 2014 concerning TWU and will seek to restore that decision. 

The Law Society’s news release can be found here. Background material can be found on the Law Society’s TWU web page.

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