2008 Annual General Meeting of The Law Society of British Columbia
July 21, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Registration: 11:30 am – 12:30 pm (in Vancouver); 11:45 am – 12:30 pm (other locations)
Call to order: 12:30 pm
Main location: Vancouver
Audio-conference locations: Abbotsford • Castlegar • Dawson Creek • Kamloops
Kelowna • Nanaimo • Prince George • Prince Rupert • Victoria
BC lawyers are invited to the Annual General Meeting of the Law Society, which will be held on Tuesday, September 23, 2008.
Member resolutions to the meeting
All member resolutions submitted to the meeting must be in writing, signed by two members in good standing and received by the Executive Director no later than 5:00 pm on Thursday, August 14, 2008 see Rule 1-6(6).
If you have any questions regarding resolutions or amendments, please contact David Newell, Corporate Secretary, by telephone at 604-443-5723 (toll-free in BC 1-800-903-5300), fax at 604-443-5770 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The business of the AGM will include the following:
- Election of Second Vice-President for 2009
- Appointment of Law Society auditors for 2009
- Practice fee resolution
- Member resolutions (if applicable).
Practice fee resolution
Pursuant to s. 23(1)(a) of the Legal Profession Act, the practice fee is set by a majority of members voting on a resolution at a general meeting or by referendum. The Benchers have resolved that the 2009 practice fee be set by a vote at the Annual General Meeting.
Resolution 1 – Practice fee, submitted by the Benchers
A. the Benchers have determined that the amount of $1,323.04 per practising lawyer is required to maintain and operate the programs of the Law Society and to otherwise discharge its statutory mandate during the year 2009; and
B. the Benchers have determined that it is appropriate to advance the interests of the Law Society by paying per practising lawyer the amounts to the organizations indicated below:
|The Federation of Law Societies of Canada
The Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII)
Pro bono contribution
BC Courthouse Library Society
Lawyers Assistance Program
BE IT RESOLVED THAT, for the practice year commencing January 1, 2009, the practice fee be set at $1,633.50 pursuant to s. 23(1)(a) of the Legal Profession Act.
Overview of 2009 fees
The Benchers are recommending an increase of $79.50 in the annual practice fee for 2009 to cover primarily market-based salary adjustments and some increased costs for external programs funded by the Law Society. The overall increase in the annual practice fee is 5.1 per cent over 2008. This increase provides for a balanced General Fund budget with no use of reserve. The Benchers have also approved a $200 reduction in the Special Compensation Fund assessment and no change in the Lawyers Insurance Fund assessment. The result is that the total fees paid by members will decrease by 3.6 per cent for insured members and 6.3 per cent for members who do not pay for insurance. Copies of the Bencher Presentation on fees and associated budgets for each Fund are available on the Society website.
|Annual practice fee
Special Compensation Fund Assessment
Insurance Fund Assessment
The Benchers recommend a practice fee to the members based on an extensive review and consideration of the Law Society's finances by the Finance Committee. The Finance Committee met with Chief Executive Officer Tim McGee and the senior staff to review the proposed 2009 fees and budgets for the General Fund, the Lawyers Insurance Fund and the Special Compensation Fund. The Finance Committee also reviewed the budgets and finances of the BC Courthouse Library Society, the Lawyers Assistance Program and the Advocate. Based on these meetings and reviews, the Finance Committee makes recommendations to the Benchers regarding the fees for each of the funds. These recommendations are reviewed by the Executive Committee and are considered by the Benchers at their July meeting before recommending the fees.
The overall objective of the practice fee recommendation is to ensure that operations of the Law Society's General Fund and supported organizations are appropriately funded and enable the Law Society to efficiently and effectively fulfill its statutory mandate.
Law Society Operations
Revenue projections for 2009 are based on an average practising membership of 10,100, a 1.5 per cent increase over the 2008 projected membership. Law Society practising membership in the most recent years has increased more than expected, due largely to a greater number of transfer lawyers from other Canadian jurisdictions.
Overall General Fund expenses are expected to increase by 5.3 per cent in 2009. Approximately 80 per cent of this increase is due to market-based salary adjustments and provision for salary adjustments required under the collective agreement with the Professional Employees Association representing the lawyers employed by the Law Society.
In addition to market-based salary adjustments, the budgeted changes for the Law Society operations are:
- Bencher Governance increases modestly to provide for work required by task forces to be established by the Benchers in 2009 and 125th anniversary activities.
- Slight increase in Corporate Services expenses for various human resource-related costs.
- Credentials and Practice expenses increase only slightly as salary adjustments are offset by decreases in course development costs. With the new continuing professional development (CPD) program being developed during 2008 and an effective date of January 1, 2009, additional member service resources has been added to implement and monitor the CPD program.
- Executive Support expenses increase for telephone and internet access. To improve service and enhance reliability for electronic filing services, the web services will be moved offsite. Offsetting these increases is a budgeted reduction in publication and government relations costs.
- Policy and Legal Services expenses increase slightly for unauthorized practice investigation costs.
- Regulation expenses increase due to additional professional conduct resources to improve the timely resolution of complaints from the public.
Trust administration fee revenue for 2009 is expected to increase 1.5 per cent over 2008.
Overall expenses for the trust administration program are budgeted to decrease slightly as the needs of the Trust Assurance Program are finalized.
The Federation of Law Societies of Canada
The Federation of Law Societies of Canada provides a national voice for provincial and territorial law societies on important national and international issues such as anti-money laundering legislation and inter-provincial mobility. Most recently, the Federation has been instrumental in coordinating the response to the Competition Bureau's report on self-regulating professions. All law societies will contribute $17 per member for 2009, a $2 increase over 2008.
The Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII)
CanLII is a not-for-profit organization initiated by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. Its goal is to make primary sources of Canadian law accessible for free on the internet. All provincial and territorial law societies have committed to provide funding to CanLII. The Law Society's contribution of $30.74 per member for 2009 is a $1 increase over 2008.
Pro bono funding
The Law Society supports pro bono programs throughout the province with a contribution to the Law Foundation of BC of one per cent of the General Fund portion of the annual practice fee. The Law Foundation distributes the money to organizations offering pro bono legal services to the public.
BC Courthouse Library Society (BCCLS)
The society provides legal information services to the profession and the public online and through 30 branch libraries. With the increasing cost of legal information resources, the BCCLS is implementing some efficiency initiatives to reduce costs. This has allowed the BCCLS to hold the increase to 4 per cent for 2009, the first increase since 2006. The Law Society's contribution to the funding of the BC Courthouse Library Society in 2008 is $166 per member, an increase of $6 over 2008.
Lawyers Assistance Program (LAP)
Funding for LAP increases $3 to $56 per member for 2009. This is the first increase in LAP funding since 2006. LAP provides confidential outreach, education, support and referrals to lawyers and other members of the legal community.
The subscription cost for the Advocate, distributed bi-monthly to all BC lawyers, is $27.50, unchanged from 2008.
Special Compensation Fund assessment
The Benchers have reduced the Special Compensation Fund assessment to $150 for 2009, a reduction of $200 from 2008. The decrease is largely due to the final resolution of many of the Wirick claims and the confirmation of recoveries from the Gill estate, combined with the management of new defalcation claims under the Part B coverage since 2004. It is expected that the Special Compensation Fund assessment will be even lower for 2010.
Lawyers Insurance Fund assessment
Based on the stable incidence of insurance reports, effective claims management and the financial strength of the Lawyers Insurance Fund, the insurance assessment will remain at $1,400 for a third successive year.
Total Fee Comparison with other Law Societies
For more information
If you have any questions about the proposed fees or the financial information in this notice, please contact Jeanette McPhee, Chief Financial Officer, by telephone at 604-443-5712 (toll-free in BC 1-800-903-5300) or email email@example.com.