2000 Law Society Members Survey

In September, 2000 each of the practising members of the Law Society was sent a voluntary survey asking a number of questions about the challenges facing the legal profession and themselves, the performance of the Law Society and about their practices. The primary objective was to gather information that would assist the Benchers in setting priorities for the Law Society and in evaluating the performance of the Law Society. The results may also prove a useful reference for B.C. lawyers, in particular data on hours worked and income from the practice of law.

The overall response rate was good for a voluntary written survey. In total, just over 2000 members or about 23% of the practising members completed the survey, meaning the survey results should be accurate to +/- 1.92%, 19 times out of 20.

The survey results are set out below for reference. For further information, contact Adam Whitcombe, Director of Statistics and Development.

 

Challenges facing the legal profession

1. What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the legal profession over the next five years?
Challenge No. of respondents %

Affordability of legal services

582 30%

Competition within the profession

427 22%

Public perception of the legal profession

252 13%

Multidisciplinary practice

222 11%

Globalization of the practice of law

211 11%

Competition from other service providers

161 8%

Other

99 5%

Challenges facing individual lawyers

2. What do you see as the biggest challenge facing you over the next five years?
Challenge No. of respondents %

Balancing professional and personal life

776 40%

Making a reasonable income

535 27%

Planning for retirement

243 12%

Keeping current with changes in the law

196 10%

Competition from other lawyers

77 4%

Other

67 3%

Competition from non-lawyers

65 3%

Law Society Performance: protection of the public

3. Overall, how would you rate the performance of the Law Society in ensuring that the public is well served by a competent, independent and honourable legal profession?
Rating No. of respondents %

Excellent

191 10%

Good

927 47%

Adequate

47 33%

Fair

164 8%

Poor

38 2%

Law Society Performance: protection of lawyers interests

4. Overall, how would you rate the performance of the Law Society in the promotion and protection of lawyers interests?
Rating No. of respondents %

Excellent

125 6%

Good

659 34%

Adequate

669 34%

Fair

346 18%

Poor

164 8%

Law Society Performance: admission to the legal profession

5. How would you rate the performance of the Law Society in admitting only qualified people into the legal profession?
Rating No. of respondents %

Excellent

240 12%

Good

795 41%

Adequate

664 34%

Fair

190 10%

Poor

36 2%

Law Society Performance: discipline of lawyers

6. How would you rate the performance of the Law Society in disciplining lawyers for misconduct?
Rating No. of respondents %

Excellent

212 11%

Good

821 43%

Adequate

579 30%

Fair

240 12%

Poor

77 4%

Law Society Performance: ethical standards

7. How would you rate the performance of the Law Society in setting standards for ethical practise by lawyers?
Rating No. of respondents %

Excellent

324 17%

Good

944 49%

Adequate

511 26%

Fair

123 6%

Poor

40 2%

Law Society Performance: complaints investigations

8. How would you rate the performance of the Law Society in investigating complaints about lawyers?
Rating No. of respondents %

Excellent

223 12%

Good

844 45%

Adequate

572 30%

Fair

193 10%

Poor

54 3%

Law Society Performance: competence and standards

9. How would you rate the performance of the Law Society in setting standards for competent practise by lawyers?
Rating No. of respondents %

Excellent

222 11%

Good

889 46%

Adequate

626 32%

Fair

153 8%

Poor

41 2%

Law Society fees

10. Overall, how would you rate the value you receive for your Law Society fees?
Rating No. of respondents %

Excellent

99 5%

Good

585 31%

Average

812 44%

Fair

271 15%

Poor

92 5%

Hours of practice per week

11. Over the past year, approximately how many hours per week on average did you engage in the practice of law?
Hours No. of respondents %

0 - 10

25 2%

11 - 20

65 4%

21 - 25

55 4%

26 - 30

43 3%

31 - 35

49 3%

36 - 40

202 13%

41 - 45

191 12%

46 - 50

423 27%

51 - 55

155 10%

56 - 60

234 15%

over 60

125 8%

1999 Income from practice

12(a). What was your net annual income before taxes from the practice of law in 1999? (all respondents)
Income No. of respondents %

Under $30,000

157 9%

$30 - $59,999

398 22%

$60 - $74,999

267 15%

$75 - $99,999

383 21%

$100 - $149,999

288 16%

$150 - $199,999

120 7%

Over $200,000

224 12%

1999 Income from practice (by year of call)

12(b). What was your net annual income before taxes from the practice of law in 1999? (respondents by year of call)
Income range Year of call
0 to 5 6 to 10

11 to 15

16 to 20

21 to 25

26 to 30

Over 30

Under $30,000

12% 11% 6% 4% 6% 6% 11%

$30 - $59,000

47% 22% 15% 10% 14% 13% 21%

$60 - $74,999

22% 24% 15% 8% 6% 4% 9%

$75 - $99,999

14% 21% 24% 27% 22% 17% 15%

$100 - $149,999

3% 13% 18% 24% 22% 20% 21%

$150 - $199,999

0% 5% 10% 11% 10% 14% 4%

Over $200,000

1% 4% 13% 16% 20% 25% 19%

1999 Income from practice (by practice status)

12(c). What was your net annual income before taxes from the practice of law in 1999? (respondents by practice status)
Income range Sole practitioner Lawyer with employees Lawyer in shared facilities Employee or associate Partner Independent contractor

Under $30,000

24% 6% 9% 9% 2% 17%

$30 - $59,000

27% 20% 22% 35% 8% 30%

$60 - $74,999

13% 17% 10% 21% 7% 11%

$75 - $99,999

14% 25% 28% 23% 11% 17%

$100 - $149,999

13% 18% 18% 9% 25% 11%

$150 - $199,999

4% 3% 7% 3% 15% 2%

Over $200,000

6% 10% 6% 1% 32% 13%

1999 Income from practice(by location)

12(d). What was your net annual income before taxes from the practice of law in 1999? (respondents by location)
Income range

Location

Lower Mainland Outside Lower Mainland

Under $30,000

8% 10%

$30 - $59,000

19% 26%

$60 - $74,999

14% 16%

$75 - $99,999

20% 23%

$100 - $149,999

17% 15%

$150 - $199,999

6% 7%

Over $200,000

16% 4%