The Law Society is moving forward with profession-wide implementation of the self-assessment process for firms, including sole practitioners.

Using tools developed by the Law Society, all firms will assess their own practice management systems, policies, and procedures that help them to flag problems and issues before they affect clients or lead to complaints.

Implementation is planned for 2021. Implementation will be rolled out in phases, with firms needing to fulfil their self-assessment requirements once every three years. The purpose of the self-assessment will remain educational in nature and the information provided to the Law Society by firms in their self-assessment report will not be used in the disciplinary context.

For more information, read the the Law Firm Regulation Pilot Project and Recommendations Report.

Law firm regulation pilot project

In addition to the firms of all the Benchers, approximately 10 per cent, or 350 firms in BC, including sole practitioners, were randomly selected to participate in a pilot project. In July 2018, these firms were asked to complete a self-assessment form and were given three months to submit it to the Law Society. The goal is to test the online self-assessment tool, evaluate how the self-assessment process helps firms enhance their practice management systems, and to gather feedback on where firms feel they need additional practice management resources. The pilot project has completed.

Law firm regulation timeline

2020

The self-assessment will be revised to improve the format, functionality and content prior to profession-wide implementation.

October 2019

At their October 25 meeting, the Benchers considered and discussed the results of the law firm regulation self-assessment pilot project and a series of related recommendations from the Law Firm Regulation Task Force.  The Benchers approved the profession-wide implementation of the self-assessment process.

July 2018

Following the conclusion of the law firm registration process, 10 per cent of firms were randomly selected to participate in the pilot project. Firms have three months to complete the Self-Assessment Report.

May 2018

Law firm registration commenced. Firms were required to confirm contact information and identify a designated representative for the firm for the purpose of receiving and responding to communications from the Law Society. 

April 2018

On April 6, 2018, the Benchers adopted new rules and substantive rule amendments to implement the regulation of law firms. See the April 2018 highlights of amendments.

December 2017

At their meeting on December 8, 2017, the Benchers approved the recommendations of the second interim report of the Law Firm Regulation Task Force as amended at the meeting, and resolved to initiate them through a pilot project to be rolled out in 2018.

July 2017

The Law Firm Regulation Task Force’s second interim report with recommendations is by the Benchers at their July meeting and it will come back to the Benchers for further discussion and decision.

November 2016

The Law Firm Regulation Task Force presented its interim report to the Benchers at their meeting on November 4, 2016. The report includes 10 recommendations on the regulatory design and proposed next steps.

February 2016

Herman Van Ommen, QC, travelled across the province to conduct consultation sessions in 11 cities.

November 2015

Members were invited to review a summary of the task force’s work to date and take part in an online survey on law firm regulation.

October 2015

The Law Firm Regulation Task Force completed a consultation paper for a survey with lawyers across the province.

July 2014

The Law Firm Regulation Task Force was created and given a mandate to recommend a framework for the regulation of law firms.

May 2012

The legislature passed amendments to the Legal Profession Act to give the Law Society the authority to regulate law firms in addition to individual lawyers.

Background

“Innovation update: Law firm regulation pilot project,” Benchers' Bulletin spring 2018

Second Interim Report of the Law Firm Regulation Task Force: report presented to the Benchers, December 8, 2017

Summary of Recommendations of the Law Firm Regulation Task Force Second Interim Report: Recommendations as amended at the meeting and approved by the Benchers on December 8, 2017

Interim Report of the Law Firm Regulation Task Force, October 3, 2016

Law Firm Regulation: Consultation with the Profession: A presentation to members of the profession in town hall meetings across the province in February 2016

Law Firm Regulation Consultation Brief: A consultation paper prepared to accompany a survey of lawyers, October 26, 2015

Materials referenced in upcoming Law Firm Regulation Task Force Pilot Project Report

Example of the online Self-Assessment Report used in the pilot project  

List of 8 Professional Infrastructure Elements and Indicators  

Example of the Workbook (version for firms of two or more lawyers only) used in the pilot project