The Law Society of British Columbia, the CBA (B.C. Branch) and the CLE Society of B.C. warmly invite B.C. lawyers and articled students to attend a complimentary province-wide videoconference:

Day of Law — in conjunction with the Annual General Meetings of The Law Society and the CBA (B.C. Branch)

Posted: July 12, 2001

September 21, 2001

Nine videoconference locations
Vancouver | Victoria | Nanaimo | Nelson | Kelowna | Prince George
Dawson Creek | Prince Rupert | Kamloops

Here is a unique opportunity for lawyers in communities throughout B.C. to meet across the miles by videoconference, take in leading-edge professional development sessions and participate in the annual general meetings of the Law Society and the CBA (B.C. Branch.)

Mark September 21 on your calendar for Day of Law, which will feature:

  • Money Laundering Legislation Update - The critical things all lawyers need to know (and do) in the face of new proceeds of crime legislation

  • Keeping on Top of a Mountain of Information - A look at key court decisions, legislative changes and changes in practice of interest to all lawyers

  • New Practice Opportunities for Lawyers - Ways to widen the scope of your practice and offer new services in an ever-changing and challenging marketplace

  • Claims, Complaints, Ethics & Scruples - Join in a game show that tackles tough practice and conduct issues and lets the audience have a say on "What's the best thing to do?"

For more on the program, see page 8. Full program and site details for Day of Law, along with a fax-back registration form, will be enclosed in the Law Society AGM mailing in late August. Updates will also be posted in the events section of the Law Society website at www.lawsociety.bc.ca.


Notice of Law Society Annual General Meeting

B.C. lawyers are invited to the Annual General Meeting of the Law Society, which will be held on Friday, September 21, 2001 in Vancouver at:

The SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue
580 West Hastings Street. 

The meeting will be linked by videoconference to Victoria, Nanaimo, Nelson, Kelowna, Prince George, Dawson Creek, Prince Rupert and Kamloops. Full details on these videoconference sites will be provided in advance of the meeting.

The Law Society will host a light lunch at all locations between 12:45 and 1:30 p.m., and on-site registration will take place during this period. The meeting will be called to order at 1:30 p.m.

Materials for the meeting and a copy of the 2000 Law Society Annual Report will be mailed to the profession in late August along with more information about the "Day of Law" program and a fax-back registration form.

2002 Practice fee resolution

Each year at the Annual General Meeting, members of the Law Society must set the practice fee for the following year, pursuant to section 23(1)(a) of the Legal Profession Act. The practice fee consists of the Law Society fee, the Advocate subscription and the Canadian Bar Association fee.

The Rules require the Society to send the profession notice of the practice fee resolution 60 days before the Annual General Meeting. Members must give 40 days notice of any resolution to the meeting, including any proposed amendment to the practice fee resolution: see "Member resolutions."

The practice fee resolution is as follows:

RESOLUTION 1 - 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
Advocate subscription
Canadian Bar Association fee

$1,045.00
25.00
     409.10

 
  Total practice fee

$1,479.10

 
       
  B. For members who have been in practice less than five full years:
       
  Law Society fee
Advocate
subscription   
Canadian Bar Association fee 

$1,045.00
25.00
      255.10

 
  Total practice fee 

$1,325.10

 

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.

Member resolutions

Resolutions from members to the Law Society Annual General Meeting must be in writing, signed by two members in good standing and received by the Executive Director by Friday, August 10, 2001: see Rule 1-6(6).


Law Society fees and other revenues in 2002
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 nstajkowski@lsbc.org.

 
2002 General Fund Forecast
       
  2001 budget*
$
2001 forecast*
$
 
Revenue      
Practice fees
PLTC fees
Other fees and assessments
Fines and penalties
Interest and other income
9,202,692 
753,000 
397,600 
145,500 
     172,000 
9,587,125 
730,000 
449,000 
136,000 
     172,000 
 
  10,670,792  11,074,125   
Expense*      
Articling and admissions
Audit and investigations
B.C. Courthouse Libraries grant
Bencher governance
Building operations (net)
Communications
Depreciation charges
Discipline
Equity and diversity
Ethics
Federation of Law Societies
Freedom of information and privacy
Future of legal profession
General administration
Juricert Services Inc.
Legal
Member services
Office of Executive Director
PLTC
Policy and planning
Practice advice
Practice standards
Pro Bono Secretariat (net)
Professional conduct
Trust accounting
Unauthorized practice
219,458 
694,014 
1,180,000 
602,788 
209,306 
692,792 
343,000 
833,222 
200,684 
116,488 
89,000 
126,278 
178,763 
2,048,132 
215,060 
189,642 
375,043 
534,574 
1,414,680 
350,439 
1,025,455 
182,498 
72,895 
1,478,573 
246,146 
     186,041 
334,726 
658,574 
1,144,000 
615,903 
252,779 
714,495 
371,000 
836,440 
182,027 
121,637 
89,000 
123,618 
135,780 
2,235,551 
293,911 
228,000 
340,554 
562,975 
1,414,680 
419,051 
1,027,418 
186,186 
50,137 
1,430,107 
238,589 
     172,303 
 
  13,804,971  14,179,441   
Costs recovered from Special Compensation Fund and Lawyers Insurance Fund      
Administrative
Co-sponsored program costs
 (1,417,878)
(1,716,301)
(1,448,251)
(1,857,065)
 
       
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.

 

Day of Law in conjunction with the Annual General Meetings of the Law Society and the CBA (B.C. Branch)
September 21, 2001

Program
Morning
session
Money Laundering Legislation Update - presented by Felicia Folk, Practice Advisor, Law Society of B.C. What are the critical things a lawyer must know and do under this new legislation? Learn about the latest developments and also whether a constitutional challenge is ahead.
Keeping on Top of a Mountain of Information - presented by the Continuing Legal Education Society of B.C. What you don't know can hurt you - so here is a fast-paced review of the major changes of the past year that cut across many practice areas. Hear about the 10 most important decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada and of the B.C. superior courts, the 10 most important legislative changes and the four biggest changes in practice - new guardianship regulations and representation agreements, collaborative law, elder law and privacy.
New Practice Opportunities for Lawyers - coordinated by David Paul, for the CBA (B.C. Branch). With the marketplace in transition, have you ever wondered how to widen the scope of your practice? Offer new services? Attract new clients? This is an opportunity to look at new initiatives of B.C. lawyers, including real property offerings, and how these can fit into the practice of both barristers and solicitors.
Midday 11:45 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. - CBA (B.C. Branch) Annual General Meeting
12:45 - 1:30 p.m. - Lunch hosted by the Law Society and
Registration for Law Society AGM
1:30 - 3:00 p.m. - Law Society Annual General Meeting
Afternoon
session
Claims, Complaints, Ethics & Scruples - hosted by Dave Bilinsky, Practice Management Advisor, Law Society of B.C. Who wants to be in the Hot Seat? Participate in a game show where the questions are based on real-life situations reported to the Law Society. Cases that lead to complaints, citations, investigations, discipline hearings, ethical dilemmas, liability pitfalls, insurance claims and conduct reviews are covered, along with issues lawyers tackle in everyday practice. Both audience and players get to play and vote on "What's the best thing to do?" Experts help with strategies for avoiding complaints and insurance claims. It's not always easy - and some of the answers may surprise