Success in a competitive market

Could the Law Society help lawyers more (by hindering them less)?

Lawyers recognize that Law Society regulation is fundamental to their status and reputation as professionals. But does that regulation in any way place lawyers at a disadvantage when it comes to competing against other service providers in the marketplace?

The Business Opportunities Working Group - Robert McDiarmid, Q.C., Chair, William Everett, Q.C. and Karl Warner, Q.C. - are looking at whether there are unnecessary constraints on lawyers in their delivery of legal services, in the management of their practices or in their pursuit of other endeavours.

In particular, are there restrictions in the Legal Profession Act, Law Society Rules or Professional Conduct Handbook that place the legal profession at a competitive disadvantage, such as by restricting lawyers from activities they might otherwise engage in, or by placing on them obligations that are too time-consuming or costly? Have there been ethical opinions, or discipline cases, that have interpreted lawyers' obligations in too onerous a fashion?

In considering the Rules or Handbook, for example, do conflict rules now unnecessarily restrict lawyers from business opportunities? Would lawyers achieve greater cost-efficiencies if there were fewer restrictions on delegation to legal assistants? Do the trust accounting rules create difficulties for lawyers, such as by failing to provide for electronic fund transfers?

Should aspects of Law Society regulation change in order to open the door to practice or business opportunities for lawyers?

Please take the time to raise your concerns and ideas with the Business Opportunities Working Group by contacting:

Robert McDiarmid, Q.C.
Chair, Business Opportunities Working Group
c/o Law Society of British Columbia
845 Cambie Street
Vancouver, B.C. V6B 4Z9
Fax: (604) 669-5232