Electronic delivery of financial statements to be decided via referendum

At their September 2010 meeting the Benchers resolved that a referendum be held on whether the Benchers may amend Rule 1-6 to allow distribution of the audited financial statements to members electronically rather than by traditional mail.

The referendum information sheet, referendum ballot and return envelope will be mailed to all lawyers later this month and returned ballots will be due November 12, 2010.

Under section 12(3) of the Legal Profession Act, the Benchers require membership approval before amending certain rules — including the rules relating to annual general meetings — by a two-thirds majority vote of the members voting in a referendum.

Rule 1-6(8)(b) requires the Law Society to mail to each member, not less than 21 days before an annual general meeting, an audited financial statement of the Law Society for the previous calendar year.

It has become quite common for organizations to distribute their financial statements electronically rather than on paper, and some lawyers have expressed concern that the Law Society is still printing and distributing paper copies of the financial statements.

This year, the cost of printing and distributing the audited financial statements to every Law Society member exceeded $20,000. It is the Benchers’ view that making the financial statements available to lawyers electronically would be more cost-effective, timely and environmentally friendly.

If you have any questions about the referendum, please contact Bill McIntosh, Manager, Executive Support at bmcintosh@lsbc.org.