E-Brief: September 2009

AGM this Tuesday / referendum approves rule changes

Members decisively endorsed a rule change to allow the annual general meeting to go ahead if telecommunication difficulties crop up. Earlier this month, 80 per cent voted “yes” in a referendum to allow for changes to Law Society Rules to allow the AGM to carry on, even if a technical problem prevents one or more members from participating or voting (provided the participating members vote to continue the meeting). Members are encouraged to attend the upcoming AGM, which will be called to order at 12:30 pm, Tuesday September 29 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver. For more information, including audio-conference locations around the province.

New Bencher

Law Society president Gordon Turriff, QC welcomed Suzette Narbonne as the Bencher for Prince Rupert County for the remainder of 2009. On September 3 she received a majority of votes cast by Prince Rupert County lawyers. The by-election was required to replace the Honourable Mr. Justice Robert Punnett, who was appointed to the BC Supreme Court on June 19.

New name for Lay Benchers

The six non-lawyer Benchers appointed to represent a cross-section of the community are now called “appointed Benchers.” The Benchers adopted the necessary Rule changes at their September 11 meeting and staff is now using the new term in Law Society materials.

QC nominations

The Attorney General’s office is now accepting nominations for Queen’s Counsel. This year nominations will only be accepted using an online nomination form, and the Queen’s Counsel Appointments Advisory Committee no longer requires or considers letters of support. Deadline for nominations is 4:30 pm, October 30. For more information visit: www.ag.gov.bc.ca/queens-counsel/.

New home for UBC Faculty of Law

UBC Dean of Law, Mary Anne Bobinski, updated Benchers on plans for a new $56 million law school building. She stressed the significance of financial support for the project from a number of law firms, and of the matching grant provided by the Law Foundation of BC. Faculty and students are currently conducting classes in “swing space” elsewhere on the campus while construction gets underway.

UBC law graduates find articles

The UBC Dean of Law also reported on the success of UBC law students in finding articles. Dean Mary Anne Bobinski noted that approximately 90 per cent of UBC Law’s 2008 graduates found articling placements. Dean Bobinksi welcomed the news, given the current economic stresses. She added that UBC is tracking a higher than normal percentage of students not seeking articles, at 9.2 per cent.

Last call for your spot at the Pacific Legal Technical Conference

Registration numbers for the October 2nd event has been “overwhelming” according to Law Society staff lawyer and conference organizer Dave Bilinsky. To reserve your spot at the only event specifically designed to meet the technology needs of BC lawyers, visit: pacificlegaltech.com.

Consider a career move

The Law Society is looking for a Claims Manager for the Lawyers Insurance Fund. This is a unique opportunity to lead a highly motivated team of lawyers.

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.