Annual General Meeting
Posted: August 22, 2001
September 21, 2001
B.C. lawyers and articled students are invited to the Annual General Meeting of the Law Society of British Columbia, which will take place on Friday, September 21, 2001 at the SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue and joined to eight other sites by videoconference.
This year the Law Society Annual Meeting will take place in conjunction with Day of Law - a full day of professional development for lawyers - and with the CBA (B.C. Branch) AGM.
The Day of Law program, and fax-back reply form, is enclosed in this mailing.
Business of the Annual General Meeting
The following business is scheduled for the Annual General Meeting:
- Setting the practice fee for 2002
- Election of the Second Vice-President for 2002
- Appointment of Law Society auditors for 2002
The financial commentary and forecast are set out on pages 3 to 7 of this notice.
The financial statements of the Law Society for the period January 1 to December 31, 2000 and program reports are contained in the enclosed Law Society of British Columbia 2000 Annual Report.
Please bring this notice and your copy the Annual Report to the meeting.
Please let us know you're coming
While pre-registration is not required for the AGM or Day of Law, priority for seating at the Day of Law professional development sessions will be given to those who have let us know they plan to attend.
Your help in returning the reply form on page 4 of the Day of Law brochure is greatly appreciated as it assists us in planning all events of the day, including the luncheon. The form can be returned by fax or mail.
- Vancouver - SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, 580 West Hastings Street (Asia Pacific Room)
- Victoria - St. Ann's Academy, 835 Humboldt Street
- Nanaimo - Malaspina College, 900 Fifth Street
- Nelson - Ministry of Transportation & Highways, F5 - 310 Ward Street
- Kelowna - Coast Capri Hotel, 1171 Harvey Avenue
- Dawson Creek - Northern Lights College, 11401 - 8th Street (Continuing Education Department)
- Prince George - Coast Inn of the North, 770 Brunswick Street
- Prince Rupert - North Coast Community Skills Centre, 363 - 309 Second Avenue West
- Kamloops - Coast Canadian Inn, 339 St. Paul Street
All AGM locations are wheelchair accessible and have parking for people with disabilities. If you plan to attend the meeting and have any other access needs, please contact Susan Atkinson at the Law Society office at your earliest convenience so that arrangements can be made.
Resolution to the Annual General Meeting
Resolution – 2002 practice fee, recommended by the Benchers
BE IT RESOLVED that, for the practice year commencing January 1, 2002, the practice fee be set as follows, pursuant to section 23(1)(a) of the Legal Profession Act:
|A. For members who have been in practice five full years or more:|
|Law Society fee
Canadian Bar Association fee
|Total practice fee||
|B. For members who have been in practice less than five full years:|
|Law Society fee
Canadian Bar Association fee
|Total practice fee||
Note: Lawyers Insurance Fund fee and Special Compensation Fund assessment: The practice fee does not include the Lawyers Insurance Fund fee or the Special Compensation Fund assessment for the 2002 policy year. These amounts will be set by the Benchers under sections 30(3)(a) and 23(1)(b) of the Legal Profession Act and will be shown on the annual fee notice mailed to all members in November.
2002 Law Society practice fee
The proposed 2002 Law Society practice fee resolution (set out on page 2) encompasses 1) the Law Society fee, 2) an Advocate subscription fee and 3) the Canadian Bar Association fee. Members will be asked to set the practice fee at the Annual General Meeting on September 21, 2001.
Revenue projections for 2002 are based on 8,900 practising members and 1,100 non-practising members. Growth in Law Society membership has slowed in recent years and is expected to be modest next year and in the near future.
1) Law Society fee
The Benchers are proposing that the Law Society portion of the 2002 practice fee be set at $1,045 per member, a $45 (4.5%) increase over 2001.
Over the past few years, the Benchers have decided to fund some programs and initiatives from General Fund reserves. The Fund's reserve balance has accordingly been reduced by $1.5 million over the past three years. In 2001 the Law Society fee was increased to maintain program funding and to balance the budget without drawing on reserves. The 2002 fee has been set in the same manner.
2) Advocate subscription
The subscription fee for the Advocate is $25 in 2002, the same as 2001. The Advocate is a bi-monthly journal provided to all Law Society members.
3) CBA fee
The 2002 Canadian Bar Association fee is $409.10 (for members in practice five full years or more), up $32.44 from 2001, and $255.10 (for members in practice less than five full years), up $16.94 from 2001. The Canadian Bar Association sets the CBA fee.
Other fees and revenues in 2002
The Law Society's non-practising fee will remain at $300 in 2002 and will continue to include a subscription to the Advocate.
The Professional Legal Training Course (PLTC) fee paid by articled students (reflected in the PLTC fees line of the forecast on page 7) will remain at $2,250 per student for 2002. Members fund less than 40% of the total cost of PLTC through the Law Society fee.
Retired membership fees, law corporation fees and many other fees have remained unchanged since 1996.
Three administrative fees will increase in 2002. The Law Society application for enrolment fee will increase $125 to $250. This increase reflects higher costs associated with credentials investigations. The fee for a certificate of standing will increase $25 to $50 and the fee for a notarial authentication will increase $3.70 to $18.70, reflecting the increased cost of providing this service.
The Law Society also receives revenues from "Form 47" late filing penalties and from fines and costs ordered in discipline and credentials hearings.
The Lawyers Insurance Fund and Special Compensation Fund co-sponsor a number of practice and competency programs through financial contributions to those programs. In 2002 the Law Society will enhance practice advice programs for lawyers, while investigating some external funding options. The Special Compensation Fund pays for investigation and forensic audit resources. These Funds also both contribute to the General Fund an amount to offset their respective general administrative costs.
Total fees paid by lawyers in B.C. to the Law Society
At their October meeting, the Benchers will set the Special Compensation and Lawyers Insurance Fund Fees. The Special Compensation Fund assessment is expected to increase $50 to $250 in 2002. The Lawyers Insurance Fund fee is expected to be maintained at $1,500 for the third year in a row.
The anticipated increase in the Special Compensation Fund fee relates to increased custodian, investigation and audit costs. Special Fund claims were up to over $350,000 in 2000, and this amount has been paid out in 2001. The most recent claims analysis of the Lawyers Insurance Fund indicates there will soon be a need to decrease the reserve subsidy that the profession has enjoyed for the past few years.
As reflected in the chart 2001-2002 total annual fees of Canadian Law Societies on page 4, B.C. lawyers enjoy a favourable combined fee, compared to that paid by lawyers elsewhere in Canada. A combined fee of $2,795 in B.C. for 2002 would be among the lowest in the country.
2001-2002 total annual fees of Canadian law societies*
|* Fees in some jurisdictions are for 2001 as fees for 2002 are unavilable at this time.
** Special Compensation Fund and Insurance fees in B.C. are estimates only; these fees will be set by the Benchers in the Fall.
The proposed 2002 General Fund fee of $1,045 also compares fairly with other Canadian jurisdictions, as can be seen in the chart 2001-2002 General Fund fees of Canadian law societies on page 4.
2001-2002 General Fund fees of Canadian law societies*
|* Fees in some jurisdictions are for 2001 as fees for 2002 are unavilable at this time.
Law Society expenditures in 2002
Prior to recommending the 2002 fee to the profession, the Benchers reviewed all program areas and the emerging issues facing lawyers. The 4.5% fee increase in 2002 allows for maintenance of programs, with some reallocations, cost of living increases and a contingency fund.
With the ever-increasing impact of technology on law practice, the Benchers have recently spearheaded several technology initiatives to help lawyers. In conjunction with other Canadian law societies, the Law Society of B.C. has contributed towards projects such as the CANLII "virtual law library" - expected to be an important web resource for lawyers - and has offered secured electronic communications via Juricert and PrivateExpress.
The Law Society has also supported new efforts to enhance areas of practice, such as through the Western Law Societies Conveyancing Protocol. As the technological and other needs of the profession require some funding flexibility, Benchers opted to provide for a $200,000 contingency within the 2002 budget. If unused, this contingency will be contributed to the General Fund reserve.
Increases in expense in 2002 include $40,000 for credentials hearings, $40,000 for legal interventions, $30,000 for futures planning, $30,000 for asset capitalization and $30,000 for general office expenses, primarily for technology maintenance and licensing. $120,000 has been allocated to a new loss prevention initiative, modeled on ABA Techshow, with full cost recovery expected from registration fees and corporate financing.
The pie chart 2002 General Fund budget on page 4 illustrates the Society's projected expenditures by program area. These expenditures are shown gross of any program costs assumed by the Insurance and Special Compensation Funds. Staffing costs and office rent are allocated to the various program areas.
2002 General Fund budget
The following comments refer to some of the key program expenses itemized in the financial forecast on page 7.
- Benchers governance: This is the cost of holding Benchers meetings, planning sessions and other events associated with the Benchers' role in governing the Law Society. An annual planning retreat to review the Law Society's strategic plan is included in this line item, as well as participation at Federation of Law Societies meetings.
- Juricert / Future of the legal profession:The Law Society is actively supporting initiatives that explore the impact of electronic communications on practice and that help lawyers adapt to changes in the marketplace for legal services.
- Courthouse libraries: This is the Law Society's contribution to the B.C. Courthouse Library Society. The Law Society contribution is $130 per lawyer and has been set in accordance with a long-term funding arrangement. The Law Foundation provides an annual grant of $2.04 million to the courthouse libraries. In 1995 the Foundation also established a special $1 million grant stabilization fund for library operations and capital projects, up to the year 2001. In 2000, the Law Foundation added $500,000 to this grant fund. The Library is reviewing its operations as it prepares for technological changes.
- Articling and admissions / Member services: This includes the cost of reviewing approximately 1,200 applications for enrolment in articles, admission and re-admission, maintaining the membership database and overseeing the administration of the Form 47 trust account reports. Also reflected is the cost of holding call and admission ceremonies, conducting credentials hearings, setting pre-call education policies and operating PLTC for approximately 340 articled students each year.
- Communications: This program covers all member communications and public affairs, including the Law Society website. Member communications include membership events, Bencher elections and publication of Law Society newsletters, manuals and other materials for the profession, some of which are also distributed to the judiciary and the public. Public relations covers all communications with the media, government and general public to enhance confidence in the Law Society and the legal profession.
- Practice advice: This encompasses programs to enhance the competent delivery of legal services by lawyers and to prevent losses and complaints. Included are the costs of the Interlock member assistance program (which is expected to provide counselling and referrals for over 400 lawyers, students and family members in 2002), the Lawyers Assistance Program (LAP), loss prevention programs, new continuing legal education curriculum components and self-assessment manuals. Funding for LAP has been included in the 2002 budget at the level requested by this association.
- Professional conduct / Discipline: These categories encompass all complaints investigations, discipline hearings, conduct reviews, appeals and other proceedings, as well as administrative costs related to the Complainants' Review Committee and reviews by the provincial Ombudsman's Office. Based on the experience of the past three years, the Law Society is maintaining funding of these important regulatory programs.
- Policy and planning: This reflects the cost of support and advice to committees, task forces and the Benchers on legal and policy issues, and preparation of revisions to the Legal Profession Act, Law Society Rules and Professional Conduct Handbook.
- Unauthorized practice: This category reflects the cost of the Law Society investigating the unauthorized practice of law by non-lawyers and taking steps to stop unauthorized practice, such as seeking court injunctions. In carrying out this work, the Society hires investigators and retains outside counsel for legal opinions and representation.
- Equity and diversity: This category includes the work of the Equity and Diversity Committee and of the Discrimination Ombudsperson.
- General office administration / Office of the Executive Director / Depreciation: These categories cover the office of the Executive Director and most general administrative expenses, such as accounting, information systems, records management, reception and personnel. Depreciation charges constitute a non-cash expense included in the budget to allow for cash collection for the purchase of replacement assets.
- Building operating costs: This is the net operating cost of the Cambie Street buildings. The zero vacancy rate of the buildings is expected to remain unchanged since most tenants have leases that continue through 2003.
For more information
If you have any questions or comments with respect to this forecast, please contact Neil Stajkowski, Chief Financial Officer, by telephone at (604) 443-5712 (toll-free in B.C.: 1-800-903-5300), telefax at (604) 687-0135 or e-mail at email@example.com.
|2002 General Fund Forecast|
Other fees and assessments
Fines and penalties
Interest and other income
|Articling and admissions
Audit and investigations
B.C. Courthouse Libraries grant
Building operations (net)
Equity and diversity
Federation of Law Societies
Freedom of information and privacy
Future of legal profession
Juricert Services Inc.
Office of Executive Director
Policy and planning
Pro Bono Secretariat (net)
|Costs recovered from Special Compensation Fund and Lawyers Insurance Fund|
Co-sponsored program costs
|Net excess of revenue over expense||0||200,000|
* Note: This forecast is not a final budget. It is expected that expense lines will be adjusted as some decisions on programs and grants are still to be made for 2002. These adjustments will not increase overall expenses/contingency contained in this forecast.