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Our latest news highlights:

BC Office of the Ombudsperson holding mobile complaint clinic

[posted February 1, 2016]

The Office of the Ombudsperson is holding a mobile clinic to help BC residents with complaints about provincial and local public authorities. For the first week of February, they will be in five Lower Mainland communities to meet with individuals and receive new complaints.

  • North Delta – February 1
  • Surrey – February 2
  • White Rock – February 3
  • New Westminster – February 4
  • Tsawwassen – February 5

For more information, please visit the Office of the Ombudsperson's website.

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Law firm regulation consultation, phase two

[posted January 28, 2016]

Please see below for important information about how you can join the consultation.

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.

For example, a firm’s advertising practices could raise ethical concerns. Under the current system, the regulator has no choice but to investigate the matter through an individual lawyer within that firm rather than investigate the firm’s practices. If law firms themselves are regulated, the Law Society could investigate the firm’s practices directly and the firm would bear responsibility for its collective conduct.

Law firm regulation would ensure that firms have systems in place to ensure that lawyers do not find themselves in a conflict of interest, or that the firm has protocols in place to ensure privacy and confidentiality when required. If they are effective, these systems and protocols would flag problems before they affect clients or raise other issues that could lead to a complaint. The Law Society would not prescribe what those systems or protocols would look like, but would leave it to each firm to devise a system that suits its unique circumstances.

Regulating both law firms and lawyers can therefore improve regulation in two ways. First, a proactive approach to regulation aims to address problems or concerns before they become issues for clients. The current approach is primarily reactive, responding to conduct that has already occurred. Second, law firm regulation regulates areas that firms are responsible for, taking that burden off individual lawyers and making it the collective responsibility of the firm.

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.

Second phase – Face-to-face consultation with the profession, February, 2016

The Task Force would like to thank everyone who participated in the online survey in November, 2015 – over 100 lawyers responded to that survey. The survey revealed several key findings, and these inform the substance of the next stage of the consultation.

In the second phase of the consultation process, lawyers are invited to attend focus groups in ten cities around the province in February, 2016. We encourage local bar associations to extend this invitation to their members.

Details as to time and place will be posted shortly. If you would like to attend, please email Meaghan Lien at mlien@lsbc.org with the name of the city where you would like to attend. You will be provided with information on the venue and the time of the event by email.

A light lunch or dinner will be served.

City

Date

Time

Location

Nanaimo

February 15

12:30 pm

Best Western Dorchester
Hotel, 70 Church St.
V9R 5H4

Prince George

February 16

12:30 pm

Prestige Treasure Cove,
2005 BC-97
V2N 7A3

Vancouver

February 17

9:30 am

Georgian Court Hotel, 773
Beatty Street, V6B 2M4

New Westminster

February 17

12:30 pm

Inn and the Quay, 900
Quayside Drive, V3M 6G1

Surrey

February 18

9:30 am

Ramada, 19225 56 Ave,
V3S 8V9

Victoria

February 19

12:30 pm

Harbour Towers Hotel & Suites, 345 Quebec St, V8V 1W4

Kamloops

February 22

4:30 pm

Coast Hotel and Conference
Centre, 1250 Rogers Way
V1S 1N5

Cranbrook

February 23

4:30 pm

Prestige Rocky Mountain Resort, 209 Van Horne Street South
V1C 6R9

Castlegar

February 24

12:30 pm

Fireside Inn and Conference
1810 8th Ave, V1N 2Y2

Abbotsford

February 25

12:30 pm

Ramada, 36035 N Parallel
Rd, V3G 2C6

Kelowna

February 26

12:30 pm

Prestige Inn, 1675 Abbott St
V1Y 8S3


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.


Background materials from the November 2015 survey:

Consultation Brief: a background brief summarizing the task force’s work to date and the issues it is currently considering.
FAQs: answers to commonly asked questions.

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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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New appointed Benchers

[posted December 24, 2015]

J.S. (Woody) Hayes   Mark Rushton           Carolynn Ryan
J.S. (Woody) Hayes,
FCPA, FCQ
  Mark Rushton   Carolynn Ryan

The Law Society is pleased to welcome three new Benchers in 2016 — J.S. (Woody) Hayes, FCPA, FCA, Mark Rushton and Carolynn Ryan, CHRP — appointed by the provincial cabinet this month. Satwinder Bains and Claude Richmond were reappointed for further two-year terms. The Society expects one further appointment early in the New Year.

The Law Society extends its appreciation to the three outgoing appointed Benchers — Haydn Acheson, David Corey and Peter Lloyd, FCPA, FCA — for their dedicated and valued contribution. 

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Deadline Extended – Secondary school essay contest on the Magna Carta

[posted June 19, 2015]

The deadline for the secondary school essay contest has been extended to December 31, 2015 in order to ensure all students have adequate time to submit their entry.

The contest was launched in March 2015 to honour of the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta and to support our strategic goal of raising public awareness of the importance of the rule of law and the proper administration of justice. The essay topic is “Magna Carta and its relevance to Canada in the 21st Century.” The competition is open to public school secondary students in BC who are currently enrolled in, or have taken, Law 12 and/or Civics Studies 11 courses in the 2014/15 and 2015/16 academic years.

Students are asked to submit an essay that demonstrates an understanding of the significance of the Magna Carta to the rule of law, human rights and democratic principles. The first prize winner will receive an award of $1,000 and will be invited to a special awards presentation event in Vancouver; the runner up will receive $500. For more on the contest or how to submit an essay, download the information forms.

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Important PLTC registration information for 2016

[posted June 17, 2015]

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: 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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