E-Brief: June 2009

Law Society endorses concept of “ungovernability”

Benchers have voted in principle to endorse the concept of ungovernability and asked the Act and Rules Subcommittee to consider developing rules for cases where the issue of ungovernability may arise. The concept of ungovernability, which has been adopted by other law regulators in Canada, would provide discipline panels with another tool when determining penalties for those who repeatedly ignore Law Society obligations, practice restrictions, suspensions or other regulatory measures imposed on them.

Law Society asks court to lift publication ban in "GP" case

The Law Society has applied to the Supreme Court of BC to lift a ban on publishing the name of GP, a Vancouver lawyer convicted May 12, 2009 of sexual exploitation of a minor. The regulatory body believes that its ability to protect the public interest by reporting his name to the public has been hindered by the ban. Madam Justice Catherine Wedge adjourned the application hearing until July 6.

Two lawyers named to Supreme Court of BC

The Law Society congratulates the Honourable Robert Punnett and the Honourable Peter Willcock for their appointments to the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Mr. Justice Punnett served as a Bencher from 2006 until last week’s appointment. Mr. Justice Willcock is a former partner of Harper Gray LLP in Vancouver. A by-election date will be announced shortly for the vacated Bencher seat.

Make plans for your Continuing Professional Development

With the year half over, about 20% of members have completed some of their mandatory annual requirement of 12 hours of professional development. The Law Society has adopted broad guidelines for what qualifies as CPD, including study groups of two or more lawyers, CBA section meetings, teaching or writing on legal matters, attending legal conferences and mentoring within accredited study groups. Participation in on-line forums also qualifies for credit. Questions? Call the Law Society or go to lawsociety.bc.ca/licensing_membership/profdev/faq.html.

Law Society moves ahead with Strategic Plan

The Law Society is making significant headway in Year 1 of its Strategic Plan. CEO Tim McGee says that in addition to performing its core functions in protecting the public interest, the Society has made progress on nine of the 14 elements of the three-year plan. Those elements include enhanced access to legal services, reforming the legal advertising rules, and separating the Benchers’ prosecutorial and adjudicative functions. Information about the 2009-11 Strategic Plan is posted on the Law Society website and further details will be included in the Law Society’s Annual Report to be released this summer.

Benchers nominate Bruce LeRose, QC as Second Vice-President for 2010

In keeping with the orderly handover of Law Society leadership, Benchers have named Kootenay Bencher Bruce LeRose, QC as their nominee for Second VP for 2010. The nomination will go to the membership for a vote at the AGM on September 29. If elected, LeRose would progress up the “ladder” to serve as President of the Law Society in 2012.

Pacific Legal Technology Conference, Friday October 2, 2009

The Law Society is one of the organizers behind this premier event, designed to help lawyers integrate the latest information technology into their practice. Now in its fifth incarnation, this is the only legal tech conference designed specifically to deliver the tips and training lawyers have requested. Education tracks include e-Discovery, Litigation and Mediation; Solo and Small Firm; Efficiency and Effectiveness, Applications, Innovative and Strategic Technologies; and Social Media. For details and registration, go to the conference’s website at pacificlegaltech.com.

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information in E-Brief is accurate. However, the information presented is necessarily a summary. When considering how any amendments or additions to the Legal Profession Act, Law Society Rules and Professional Conduct Handbook might affect their obligations and requirements, readers should refer to the complete text.