Law Society Annual General Meeting: September 24, 1999

August 23, 1999

The Annual General Meeting of the Law Society of British Columbia will take place on Friday, September 24, 1999. Registration will begin at 11:45 a.m., and the meeting will be called to order at 12:30 p.m.

The main site of the meeting is in:

  • Vancouver – Law Courts Inn, 5th Floor, 800 Smithe Street.

The meeting will also join the following locations by audioconference:

  • Fairmont – Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, 5225 Fairmont Resort Road
  • Kamloops – Coast Canadian Inn, 339 St. Paul Street
  • Kelowna – Coast Capri Hotel, 1171 Harvey Avenue
  • Nanaimo – Coast Bastion Inn, 11 Bastion Street
  • Prince George – Coast Inn of the North, 770 Brunswick Street
  • Quesnel – Chudiak, Schmit & Co., 531 Reid Street
  • Smithers – Courthouse, 3793 Alfred Avenue (Barristers Room)
  • 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; e-mail satkinson@lsbc.org.

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 17 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 2000
  • Election of the Second Vice-President for 2000
  • Appointment of Law Society auditors for 2000

The financial statements of the Law Society for the period January 1 to December 31, 1998 and program reports are contained in the enclosed Law Society of British Columbia 1998 Annual Report.

Please note that the Canadian Bar Association, B.C. Branch will hold its Annual General Meeting on Saturday, September 25, 1999 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.).

*     *     *

Resolution to the Annual General Meeting
Practice fee resolution — submitted by the Benchers

BE IT RESOLVED that, for the practice year commencing January 1, 2000, 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

$   905.00

 
  Advocate subscription

25.00

 
  Canadian Bar Association

     343.15

 
  Total practice fee

$1,273.15

 


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

$   905.00

 
  Advocate subscription

25.00

 
  Canadian Bar Association

     220.65

 
  Total practice fee

$1,150.65

 


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 2000 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.

*     *     *

There were no member resolutions to the Annual General Meeting submitted this year.

 

Law Society fees and other revenues in 2000
2000 Law Society practice fee

The proposed 2000 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 24, 1999.

Revenue projections for 2000 are based on 8,700 practising members and 1,100 non-practising members. This assumes an overall 2.0% increase in membership during the year.

1) Law Society fee

The Benchers are proposing that the Law Society portion of the 2000 practice fee be set at $905 per member, a $25 (2.8%) increase over 1999. Fee increases over the period from 1996 to 2000 have averaged 1.1% annually, which is under the rate of inflation for the same period.

The Benchers reviewed all program areas prior to recommending the 2000 fee. While funding for the discipline program will increase, most other program areas will have their budgets maintained or reduced, as compared to 1999. The Benchers have also held the line on funding for the B.C. courthouse libraries at the 1999 level.

This forecast contains information on programs funded by the Law Society fee.

2) Advocate subscription

The subscription fee for the Advocate is $25 in 2000, the same as 1999. The Advocate is a bimonthly magazine provided to all Law Society members.

3) CBA fee

The 2000 Canadian Bar Association fee is $343.15 (for members in practice five full years or more), up $10.10 from 1999, and $220.65 (for members in practice less than five full years), up $6.10 from 1999. The CBA fee is set by the Canadian Bar Association.

Other fees and revenues in 2000

There are no other fee increases for practising members. In addition, retired membership, credentials, law corporation fees and many other fees have remained unchanged since 1996.

The Professional Legal Training Course (PLTC) fee paid by articled students (reflected in the enrolment fees line of the forecast) will increase $100 to $2,100 per student in 2000. Members will fund less than 40% of the total cost of PLTC through the Law Society fee.

The Law Society also receives revenues from Form 47 late filing penalties and recoveries 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 2000 the Law Society is enhancing practice advice resources for lawyers; 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.

Small contingency surplus budgeted for 2000

The Benchers have decided to include as part of the budget a $200,000 surplus, to be contributed to the General Fund’s reserve. This will lessen the impact of any unexpected program cost increases. The surplus is expected to keep the General Fund reserve at a healthy level so the Benchers can react to any unexpected funding demands.


Law Society expenditures in 2000

The pie chart 2000 General Fund budget 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.


2000 General Fund budget

Chart-NoticeAGM1.gif (17987 bytes)

The following comments refer to some of the key program expenses itemized in the financial forecast at the end of this notice.

  • Benchers and related committees: This is the cost of holding Benchers meetings, planning sessions and other events. This budget line includes the costs of a Justice Reform Task Force and a Fee Review Task Force, as well as the expenses associated with the office of the President in 2000.
  • Courthouse libraries: This is the Law Society’s contribution to the B.C. Courthouse Library Society. The Law Society contribution will remain at $925,000 in 2000, the same as 1999. The Law Society’s funding of courthouse libraries has increased significantly each year over the past several years, but this could not be supported for 2000 given the overall budget restraints. 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. 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 for approximately 360 articled students each year.
  • Communications: All member communications and public relations are reflected in this program area. 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 that enhance confidence in the Law Society and the legal profession. The Society’s communications plan also includes the administration of the Law Society’s web site.
  • Competency / member assistance programs / practice advisor / 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 (which is expected to provide counselling and referrals for over 400 lawyers, students and family members in 2000), the Lawyers Assistance Program, loss prevention programs, new continuing legal education curriculum components and self-assessment manuals.
  • Complaints / discipline: These categories encompass all complaints investigations, discipline hearings, conduct reviews, appeals and other proceedings, as well as administrative costs related to the Complainant’s Review Committee and to provincial Ombudsman’s office reviews. Based on the experience of the past two years, the Law Society is substantially 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 instances of 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.
  • Member information group: This category 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.
  • 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 vacancy rate in the buildings (at 1%) is not expected to change since most tenants have leases that continue through 2000.

How do Law Society of B.C. fees compare?

The bar chart 1999-2000 General Fund fees of Canadian law societies illustrates that the projected B.C. fee compares favourably and is in the middle of the range of fees charged by other provinces.


1999-2000 General Fund fees of Canadian law societies

Chart-NoticeAGM2.gif (10580 bytes)

The bar chart 1999-2000 total fees of Canadian law societies compares total fees paid by B.C. lawyers with fees paid by lawyers in other provinces. This comparison does not include the CBA fee or the Advocate subscription. While the Benchers have not yet set the 2000 fees for the Lawyers Insurance Fund and Special Compensation Fund, as a combined amount these fees are not anticipated to increase in 2000. The insurance fee will, in fact, likely drop. Even without such a reduction, the Law Society of B.C. has one of the lowest fees in the country.


1999-2000 total annual fees of Canadian law societies

Chart-NoticeAGM3.gif (12961 bytes)


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) 669-5232 or e-mail at nstajkowski@lsbc.org.


*     *     *

2000 General Fund Forecast


Revenue
1999 budget
$
2000 forecast
$
Practice fees
Enrolment fees
Other fees
Penalties and recoveries
Contribution from reserve
Other income
7,930,092
781,250
361,697
159,000
200,000
   167,500
8,229,138
818,250
333,000
134,000

   196,500
  9,599,539 9,710,888
Expense    
B.C. Courthouse Libraries grant
Benchers and committees
Communications
Competency
Complaints
Credentials
Depreciation on other assets
Discipline and discipline hearings
Equity and diversity
Ethics
Federation of Law Societies
Investigations and audit
Member information group
Member assistance programs
Net building operating costs
Other grants
PLTC program
Policy and planning
Practice advice
Unauthorized practice
General office administration
925,000
470,675
734,474
339,939
1,428,781
218,771
243,300
749,645
211,621
162,031
104,000
252,152
616,252
343,620
80,274
19,500
1,388,675
412,127
514,455
318,895
  2,486,464
925,000
382,892
702,983
267,828
1,354,519
198,124
283,000
859,876
165,948
186,586
104,000
451,999
485,142
336,000
174,238
19,500
1,329,726
430,265
625,883
320,000
  2,530,940
  12,020,651 12,134,449
Costs recovered from Special Compensation        Fund and Lawyers Insurance Fund    
Co-sponsored program costs
Administrative
971,879
  1,449,233
1,207,807
  1,415,754
Net excess of revenue over expense                 0      200,000