2007 Annual General Meeting of The Law Society of British Columbia

July 18, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

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: Castlegar • Cranbrook • Fort St. John • Kamloops
Kelowna • Nanaimo • Prince George • Prince Rupert • Surrey • Victoria

BC lawyers are invited to the annual general meeting of the Law Society, which will be held on Tuesday, September 25, 2007. The main location will be in Vancouver, with the meeting linked to 10 audioconference locations — Castlegar, Cranbrook, Fort St. John, Kamloops, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Prince George, Prince Rupert, Surrey and Victoria.

Included with this notice is the Law Society’s 2006 annual report or, if you have registered to receive Law Society publications by email, the 2006 financial statements. A further notice, including the meeting agenda, the Vancouver location, the location of the audioconference sites and member resolutions (if applicable), will be mailed to the profession in late August.

Business

The business of the AGM will include the following:

  • Election of the Second Vice-President for 2008
  • Appointment of Law Society auditors for 2008
  • 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 2008 practice fee be set by a vote at the annual general meeting.

The practice fee resolution is as follows:

Resolution 1 – Practice fee, submitted by the Benchers

WHEREAS:

A. the Benchers have determined that the amount of $1,256.20 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 2008; 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:

  BC Court House Library Society
Lawyers Assistance Program
The Advocate
The Federation of Law Societies of Canada
The Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII)
Law Foundation (pro bono contribution)
$160.00
53.00
27.50
15.00
29.74
12.56
 

BE IT RESOLVED THAT, for the practice year commencing January 1, 2008, the practice fee be set at $1,554.00 pursuant to s. 23(1)(a) of the Legal Profession Act.

Overview of 2008 fees

Although the mandate of the Law Society is to regulate the legal profession in the public interest, the work of the Law Society is funded by BC lawyers through annual membership fees and other assessments that are accounted for in three separate funds: the General Fund (which derives revenue from the practice fee and the trust administration fee), the Lawyers Insurance Fund and the Special Compensation Fund.

The Benchers are recommending a net 3.3 per cent increase in total fees for 2008. The components are a $257 increase in the practice fee and a $150 reduction in the Special Compensation Fund assessment. The 2008 Insurance Fund assessment will remain the same as in 2007 at $1,400. As described in “Law Society Operations and Programs” below, $150 of the increase in the practice fee is attributable to the transfer of existing costs of the custodianship program to the General Fund.

2008 Fees

Annual practice fee

$1,554

Special Compensation Fund assessment

$350

Lawyers Insurance Fund assessment

$1,400

Total

$3,304

2007 fees

$3,197

Increase (3.3%)

$107

Practice fee

The practice fee, along with the trust administration fee, supports the Law Society’s General Fund and is accounted for separately within the fund. The practice fee is used to fund Law Society core operations and programs, including professional regulation, credentials and education, practice standards, custodianships and member advice, and to implement new programs such as the Small Firm Practice Course. It also provides funding to six other organizations that provide services to the legal profession. The trust administration fee is used to fund the Trust Assurance Program.

1. Law Society operations and programs

The Benchers have determined that $1,256.20 per practising lawyer is required to fund Law Society operations and programs in 2008.

Revenue projections for 2008 are based on an average practising membership of 9,850, a 1.5 per cent increase over 2007. Growth in Law Society membership has been at a similar level for several years and is not expected to increase in the near future.

In recommending the 2008 fee, the Benchers are committed to ensuring the Law Society is able to meet its statutory obligations as required under the Legal Profession Act while operating in a fiscally responsible manner and within a balanced budget. The recommended fee includes provision for capital expenditures that will protect the Law Society’s investment in its building and will provide appropriate technology upgrades to support its core functions in the years ahead.

The 2008 fee also supports new commitments and operational initiatives that will enhance the services the Law Society provides to the public and its members. These include increased funding for: the Canadian Legal Information Institute, the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, pro bono programs and the Law Society’s public outreach programs; enhancements to the professional conduct program and the complaints handling process; and work on the proposed continuing professional development program.

The Benchers have determined that costs of the existing custodianship program, which were funded by the Special Fund Assessment prior to 2005 and by the trust administration fee in 2005, 2006 and 2007, will be transferred to the General Fund as general regulatory expenses. As a result, $150 of the increase in the 2008 practice fee is attributable to the existing custodianship program.

2. BC Courthouse Library Society

The Law Society’s contribution to the funding of the BC Courthouse Library Society in 2008 is $160, unchanged from 2007. The society provides legal information services to the profession and the public online and through 30 branch libraries.

3. Lawyers Assistance Program (LAP)

The funding designated for LAP in 2008 remains unchanged at $53 per practising lawyer. LAP provides confidential outreach, education, support and referrals to lawyers and other members of the legal community.

4. Advocate subscription

The subscription costs for the Advocate, distributed bi-monthly to all BC lawyers, is $27.50, unchanged from 2007.

5. The Federation of Law Societies of Canada

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada provides a unified voice for provincial and territorial law societies on important national and international issues such as anti-money laundering legislation and inter-provincial mobility. All provincial and territorial law societies providefunding for the Federation. The Law Society’s contribution will increase by $2 per member in 2008, from $13 to $15.

6. 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 (canlii.org). All provincial and territorial law societies have committed to provide funding to CanLII. The Law Society’s contribution of $29.74 per member represents an increase of $1 over 2007.

7. Law Foundation (pro bono funding)

The Law Society supports pro bono programs throughout the province with a contribution to the Law Foundation of 1 per cent of the Law Society portion of the annual practice fee. The Law Foundation distributes the money to organizations offering pro bono services to the public.

Special Compensation Fund assessment

The Benchers have set the 2008 Special Compensation Fund fee at $350, a reduction of $150 from 2007. This reflects appropriate management of the Wirick claims and the projected elimination of the Special Compensation Fund fee by 2011.

Lawyers Insurance Fund assessment

Based on the operational performance and financial strength of the Lawyers Insurance Fund, the assessment for 2008 will remain at $1,400.

Mandatory fees comparison with other law societies1

Fee comparison chart 

For more information

If you have any questions about the financial information in this notice, please consult the audited financial statements in the Law Society’s 2006 annual report or contact Jeanette McPhee, Chief Financial Officer, by telephone at 604 443-5712 (toll-free in BC 1-800-903-5300) or email at jmcphee@lsbc.org.



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 Wednesday, August 15, 2007 (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 dnewell@lsbc.org.