E-Brief: May 2010

New Bencher for Cariboo county

Gregory A. Petrisor has been elected as a Bencher for Cariboo county for the remainder of the 2010-2011 term. The by-election was required to replace Ronald Tindale, who was appointed a judge of the Provincial Court in Prince George. See What's New on the Law Society's website.

Finding solutions for legal aid

The chair of the Legal Services Society board, Mayland McKimm, QC, addressed the April 23 Benchers meeting about how best to position the LSS for the future delivery of legal aid. He noted that LSS has restructured its operations to make more money available for services and has reinstated some services that had been previously cut. McKimm told the Benchers the Law Society can help the LSS by ensuring consistent and accurate messages about legal aid to the public, the legal profession and justice system partners; developing a Law Society vision for publicly funded legal aid services; promoting lawyer involvement in legal aid; and showing leadership through the Law Society's related task forces and committees.

Commission on the future of legal aid

The Benchers have accepted an invitation to participate as a full partner in a commission proposed by the BC Branch of the Canadian Bar Association. The Law Society will be represented on the steering committee by President Glen Ridgway, QC and will provide funding up to $50,000 towards the work of the commission.

AG outlines priorities for 2010-2011

Attorney General Michael de Jong, QC attended the April 23, 2010 Benchers meeting, gave an overview of several ministry initiatives, and reinforced his commitment to seek the input of lawyers and other justice system stakeholders throughout the development process. Among his priorities over the next two years are changes to the Family Relations Act and the Limitation Act, new impaired driving rules, greater access to the court registry and the broadcast of court proceedings.

Save the date – Wednesday, June 16 – for Inspiring Stories Connecting Future Leaders

The Law Society is holding a free event at which Aboriginal leaders will share their inspirational stories and strategies to success in the legal profession. Held at the First Nations House of Learning (Longhouse) at UBC, Inspiring Stories Connecting Future Leaders will also be a networking opportunity for lawyers practising Aboriginal law, Aboriginal lawyers, law students, those considering a legal career and others. Retired Judge Alfred J. Scow will be recognized for his outstanding contributions. More information and registration.

The HST and you

Effective July 1, 2010, lawyers are obliged to collect and account to the Canada Revenue Agency for the proposed Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). Under transitional rules, lawyers must continue to collect and remit PST if 90% or more of the legal services are performed before July 1. If less than 90% of the services are performed before July 1, PST must be collected on only the portion of the service performed before July 1. The Continuing Legal Education Society is offering HST - Preparing Your Practice by live webcast from noon to 1 pm on Tuesday, May 25 and by recorded webcast from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm on Monday, June 21. For information about this and other CLE programs on HST, contact CLE at 604-893-2121. As well, there's more information and free government-sponsored seminars through Canada Revenue Agency and the BC government websites.

Restructuring your law firm?

Revisions to the Professional Conduct Handbook: Benchers have approved a number of revisions to take into consideration some issues that may arise when a law firm changes its composition. In particular, Chapter 3, Rule 6 expressly covers situations when a law firm is winding up or dividing, not just when a lawyer is leaving a firm, and Chapter 3, Rule 10 places an obligation on lawyers to protect client information, files and other client property and to minimize any adverse effect on the interests of clients. Read the changes.

Rule changes give effect to Québec Mobility Agreement

Benchers have approved the rule changes required for BC's involvement in the Québec Mobility Agreement. The changes include the establishment of a special category of membership called the Canadian legal advisor, which will permit members of the Barreau to practise law in British Columbia. Under the reciprocal agreement, lawyers from BC and other Canadian common law jurisdictions can be permitted to practise federal law, the law of their home jurisdiction, and public international law in Quebec.

New practice directions for Penticton and Vernon (Okanagan District)

The Chief Judge of the Provincial Court has issued new practice directions. Details are available on the Court website.

Job posting: Thinking of a career move?

The Law Society is looking for a lawyer to join the Professional Conduct department. More information.

Reminder – Deadline for Law Society Award nominations is this Friday

You have until Friday, May 7 to nominate a candidate to receive the 2010 Law Society Award, given to honour the lifetime contribution of the truly exceptional in the profession. Nominations must include the candidate's curriculum vitae, and your views on why he or she should receive the Award. For more information, see About the Law Society/Honours and Awards on the Society's website.

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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.