Annual General Meeting of the Law Society of British Columbia

August 21, 2000

Main locations: Law Courts Inn 5th floor, 800 Smithe Street, Vancouver
Audioconference locations: listed below

Friday, September 22, 2000
Lunch and registration: 11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Call to order: 12:30 p.m.

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 22, 2000 in Vancouver (Law Courts Inn, 5th Floor, 800 Smithe Street). The meeting will also join the following locations by audioconference:

  • Fort St. John – North Peace Cultural Centre, 10015 – 100th Avenue
  • Kamloops – Coast Canadian Inn, 339 St. Paul Street
  • Kelowna – Coast Capri Hotel, 1171 Harvey Avenue
  • Prince George – Coast Inn of the North, 770 Brunswick Street
  • Quadra Island – April Point Lodge and Marina, 900 April Point
  • Radium Hot Springs – Radium Hot Springs Lodge, 5425 Kootenay National Park, Hwy. 93 (directly across from Radium Hot Springs pool)
  • Terrace – Coast Inn of the West, 4620 Lakelse Avenue
  • Victoria – Coast Harbourside Hotel, 146 Kingston Street.

A light lunch will be available in all locations, beginning at 12:00 noon.

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. She can be reached at: tel. (604) 443-5782 or toll-free in B.C. 1-800- 903-5300; fax (604) 646-5919; TTY (604) 443-5700; email:

Do you plan to attend? 
Please return the enclosed reply card!

Both members and articled students are welcome to attend the Annual General Meeting, but only members may vote.

Enclosed in this mailing is a card that you are asked to return to the Law Society by mail or fax by September 18 if you are attending the meeting. The Society needs an accurate estimate of attendance for the lunch and for audioconference arrangements. If fewer than 15 members indicate that they will attend at an audioconference location, that location may be cancelled. Only those members who have returned reply cards will be notified of a cancellation.

If you are attending the meeting at the main location in Vancouver, you must register on arrival. The registration desk will open at 11:45 a.m. If you are attending at one of the audioconference locations, you will be asked to register at that location. Please be prepared to show identification during registration.

Please also remember to bring your copy of the Annual Report and this notice to the meeting.

The following business is scheduled for the Annual General Meeting:

  • Setting the practice fee for 2001 (Resolution 1)
  • Resolution from members (Resolution 2)
  • Election of the Second Vice-President for 2001
  • Appointment of Law Society auditors for 2001

The financial statements of the Law Society for the period January 1 to December 31, 1999 and program reports are contained in the enclosed Law Society of British Columbia 1999 Annual Report.

Please note that the Canadian Bar Association, B.C. Branch will hold its Annual General Meeting on Saturday, September 23, 2000 at the Delta Airport Hotel and Marina, 3500 Cessna Drive, Richmond. The meeting will begin immediately following a meeting of the Provincial Council (approximately 2:00 p.m.).

Resolutions to the Annual General Meeting
Resolution 1 – Practice fee, recommended by the Benchers

BE IT RESOLVED that, for the practice year commencing January 1, 2001, 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
  Total practice fee $1,401.66  

B. For members who have been in practice less than five full years:

  Law Society fee
Advocate subscription
Canadian Bar Association fee
  Total practice fee $1,263.16  

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 2001 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.

Resolution 2 – submitted by Brian H. Johnson and Gregory R. Hagen, both of Vancouver

The Law Society of British Columbia (the "Society") is the sole shareholder of Juricert Services Inc. ("Juricert"), a federally incorporated, for profit company;

Ron Usher, staff lawyer at the Law Society, and James G. Matkin, Executive Director of the Law Society are the sole Directors and Officers of Juricert;

Juricert has entered into at least two contracts for the provision of electronic certification and PKI services to the Law Society and its members.

Said contracts commit Juricert to "... purchase 8,000 digital courier licences ..." where the "licences will be funded by the Law Society ..." (Benchers’ Bulletin, supra) and further details of other commitments made by Juricert have not been made known to the membership;

The Society has budgeted $274,670 (2001 General Fund Forecast) an increase from $155,647 (2000 Budget); and

The marketplace for PKI and encryption technologies are dynamic, volatile and while still immature, very competitive. The products and services offered by PrivateExpress Inc. of San Mateo, California, and Entrust Technologies Inc., are proprietary to those companies and have not been evaluated or compared to other competitive technology and service providers in a transparent and fair process accessible to the membership.

Resolved that:

1.  Complete details of any agreements entered into by Juricert be provided to the membership;

2.  The Law Society of British Columbia shall hire a qualified independent third party computer services consultant ("Consultant") to draft a request for certification services based upon industry standards and based upon the Law Society of British Columbia’s certification needs;

3.  The decision regarding the selection of a certification services provider shall be made based upon objective assessment criteria provided by the Consultant by a committee of members appointed by Benchers of the Law Society in consultation with members of the profession who are familiar with public key infrastructure and the law applicable thereto; and

4.  The decision regarding which service provider that the Law Society shall hire to perform certification and related services shall not be made by those who have been, are or will be associated with Juricert Services Inc. because that would involve a conflict of interest.


Law Society fees and other revenues in 2001
2001 Law Society practice fee

The proposed 2001 Law Society practice fee resolution (set out above) 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 22, 2000.

1) Law Society fee

The Law Society fee is the main source of revenue for the General Fund, which supports general operations of the Society. The Benchers are recommending that the Law Society portion of the practice fee be set at $1,000 in 2001, a $95 increase over 2000.

The increase is considered necessary to ensure that the Law Society can continue work on new initiatives that benefit lawyers in practice and maintain the integrity of the Law Society’s regulatory functions.

Over the past two years, the Law Society has drawn on General Fund reserves to fund programs. This Fund’s reserve balance was reduced by $1.2 million in 1998 and 1999 and will likely be reduced again in 2000. An increase in the Law Society fee would eliminate the need to draw further on reserves, and allow for a modest contingency in 2001.

Revenue projections for 2001 are based on 8,800 practising and 950 non-practising lawyers. Growth in Law Society membership is not expected to increase between 2000 and 2001.

The proposed Law Society fee of $1,000 in 2001 is comparable to that in most other Canadian jurisdictions: see chart entitled "2000-2001 General Fund fees of Canadian law societies" on page 4.

2000-2001 General Fund fees of Canadian law societies

* Fees in these jurisdictions are for 2000; fees for 2001 are unavailable at this time.


2) Advocate subscription

The subscription fee for the Advocate is $25 in 2001, the same as 2000. The Advocate is a bimonthly magazine provided to all Law Society members.

3) CBA fee

The 2001 Canadian Bar Association fee is $376.66 for members in practice five full years or more, up $33.51 from 2000. The fee is $238.16 for members in practice less than five full years, up $17.51 from 2000. The CBA fee is set by the Canadian Bar Association.

Other fees and revenues in 2001

The Law Society’s non-practising membership fee will increase in 2001 (to $300).

The Professional Legal Training Course (PLTC) fee paid by articled students (reflected in the enrolment fees line of the forecast) will increase $150 to $2,250 per student in 2001. The profession will fund less than 35% of the total cost of PLTC through the Law Society fee. This PLTC fee increase will take effect May 1, 2001.

Retired membership, credentials, law corporation fees and other fees remain unchanged (since 1996).

The Lawyers Insurance Fund and Special Compensation Fund co-sponsor a number of practice and competency programs through financial contributions. In 2001, the Law Society is enhancing practice advice resources for lawyers as well as increasing investigation and forensic audit resources. Accordingly, these financial contributions are increasing to cover part of that cost. These Funds also both contribute to the General Fund an amount to off-set their respective general administrative costs.

Total fees paid by B.C. lawyers

At their meeting this October, the Benchers will set the Special Compensation and Lawyers Insurance Fund fees. These fees are currently $150 and $1,500 respectively and are projected at $200 and $1,500 in 2001.

The most recent claims analysis of the Lawyers Insurance Fund indicates no requirement to decrease the reserve subsidy that members have enjoyed over the past few years.

An increase to the Special Compensation Fund fee will be needed to cover increased custodianship, investigation and audit costs. Special Compensation Fund claims doubled from 1998 to 1999, so payments will increase significantly over the next few years.

The chart entitled "2000-2001 total annual fees of Canadian law societies" on page 4 illustrates that, with a projected combined fee of $2,700 in 2001 (Law Society fee, Special Compensation Fund and Lawyers Insurance Fund), the Law Society of B.C. will continue to have the second lowest overall fee in the country, and significantly lower than that of many other jurisdictions.

2000-2001 total annual fees of Canadian law societies

* Fees in these jurisdictions are for 2000; fees for 2001 are unavailable 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.


Small contingency budgeted for 2001

Included in the 2001 budget is a $100,000 contingency reserve. If unused, this will be contributed to the General Fund reserve.

Law Society expenditures in 2001

The pie chart "2001 General Fund budget" illustrates the Society’s projected expenditures by program area: see page 4. 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.

2001 General Fund budget

The following comments refer to some of the key program expenses itemized in the financial forecast on page 8:

  • Benchers and related committees — This is the cost of holding Benchers meetings, planning sessions and other events. This budget line includes the office of the President in 2001. In 2000, pursuant to the results of a membership referendum, the honorarium for the President was increased by $25,000 to $75,000 and a honorarium of $25,000 is now provided to each of the two Vice-Presidents.
  • Courthouse libraries — This is the Law Society’s contribution to the B.C. Courthouse Library Society. The Law Society contribution will incease by $130,000 to $1.18 million in 2001, an increase of 12.3%. In 1995 the Foundation also established a special $1 million grant stabilization fund for library operations and capital projects, up to 2001. A further $500,000 has been added to this grant fund by the Law Foundation. The Library is currently reviewing its operations as it adjusts for future technological changes.
  • Credentials / PLTC — These categories include the cost of holding call and admission ceremonies, conducting credentials hearings, setting pre-call education policies and operating PLTC.
  • Communications — All communications with members, the media, government and the general public are reflected in this program area. These include special events, publication of Law Society newsletters, manuals, reports and other materials for the profession and managing the Law Society website.
  • Practice standards / member assistance programs / practice advice / other grants — These categories encompass programs to enhance the competent delivery of legal services by lawyers and to prevent losses and complaints. Included are the costs of practice reviews and remedial programs, the Interlock member assistance program, the Lawyers Assistance Program (LAP) and loss prevention programs.
  • 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 to provincial Ombudsman’s office reviews. Based on the experience of the past three years, the Law Society is increasing funding of these important regulatory programs.
  • Policy and planning — The policy and planning department provides support and advice to the Benchers, committees and departments on legal and policy issues, and prepares 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 undertakings and 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.
  • Member services — This category includes the cost of reviewing applications for enrolment, admission, re-admission and transfer; maintaining the membership database; and overseeing the administration of the Form 47 trust account reports.
  • General office administration / depreciation — This category covers 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 in the buildings is not expected to change since most of the Law Society’s tenants have leases that continue through 2001.
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

What is new in the 2001 Law Society budget?

The Benchers are always mindful of the financial impact of fee increases on lawyers and have contained these increases for several years. The 2001 practice fee recommendation is for an increase of $95 (see page 2) to maintain core programs and to allow the Law Society to show leadership on emerging practice issues that are important for the profession.

Putting B.C. lawyers at the forefront of technology and practice

The Law Society is committed to new technology for lawyers, as well as practice assistance programs, to help ensure that B.C. lawyers carry into the new economy their tradition of excellence in the delivery of legal services. Programs include:

  • Building operating costs — This is the net operating cost of the Cambie Street buildings. The zero vacancy rate in the buildings is not expected to change since most of the Law Society’s tenants have leases that continue through 2001.
  • Professional authentication and security for lawyers online: The Law Society, through the company Juricert Services Inc., expects to offer B.C. lawyers software to encrypt and secure their online communications and a service to authenticate their professional status online: see the May-June Benchers’ Bulletin. This unique service will help position lawyers to carry out filings at the Land Title Office and other registries, exchange undertakings and conclude transactions electronically.
  • Practice assistance and practice opportunities: The Law Society plans to commit more resources toward practice advice in 2001, and will continue to explore new practice opportunities for lawyers, such as by opening the door to multidisciplinary practice and exploring niche markets. The Society is also looking at such innovations as extending lawyers’ insurance coverage to protect their mortgage lender clients from any risk of survey and zoning impairments, as a superior alternative to title insurance.
  • Library services, for now and for the future: The Law Society is expecting to increase its commitment to the B.C. Courthouse Library Society in 2001 by $130,000 (12.3%) to $1.18 million. This commitment is pursuant to a funding arrangement whereby the Law Foundation also makes an annual commitment ($2.04 million in 2001) and has created a long-term stabilization fund. These grants help ensure the continued viability of traditional and new library services for B.C. lawyers at courthouses across the province. Through the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, the Law Society is also working on the development of "virtual law libraries" to make online access to legal resources easier, more comprehensive and ultimately less costly for the profession.
Giving lawyers a helping hand

The Law Society funds services to help lawyers address personal and family problems or overcome addictions. The Benchers may look at increasing funding for one of these programs, the Lawyers Assistance Program (LAP), for 2001 to help extend those services.

Strengthening regulatory programs

The Law Society faces an increased regulatory workload, which requires more resources in the professional conduct, investigations, audit and discipline programs in 2001. The Society is endeavouring to apply those resources more effectively as well, such as by introducing alternative dispute resolution in the complaints process.

The Society is also increasing funding and resources for equity and diversity initiatives, court interventions, policy development, the freedom of information and protection of privacy program, member services and general office administration.

*    *    *

The 2001 budget is structured to maintain the modest General Fund reserve and allow a small allocation for contingencies during the year.

2001 General Fund Forecast
2001 forecast*
Practice fees
Enrolment fees
Other fees
Penalties and recoveries
Other income
    9,792,888  10,575,376   
B.C. Courthouse Libraries grant
Benchers and committees
Depreciation on other assets
Discipline and discipline hearings
Equity and diversity
Federation of Law Societies
Member assistance programs
Member services
Net building operating costs
PLTC program
Policy and planning
Practice advice
Practice standards
Professional conduct
Technology projects
Unauthorized practice
General office administration
  12,708,126  13,679,202   
Costs recovered from Special Compensation Fund and Lawyers Insurance Fund      
Co-sponsored program costs
Net excess of revenue over expense   (275,000)      100,000   

* 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 2001. These adjustments will not increase overall expenses/contingency contained in this forecast.