2011 Annual General Meeting of the Law Society of British Columbia

July 20, 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Registration: 11:30 am – 12:30 pm (in Vancouver); 11:45 am – 12:30 pm (other locations)
Call to order: 12:30 pm
Main location: The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, British Room
900 West Georgia Street, Vancouver
Audio-conference locations: Abbotsford • Castlegar • Fort St. John • Kamloops
Kelowna • Nanaimo • Prince George • Prince Rupert • Smithers • Victoria
Member resolutions to the meeting

Member resolutions submitted to the meeting must be in writing, signed by two members in good standing and received by the Executive Director no later than 5:00 pm on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 (Law Society Rule 1-6(6)).

If you have any questions regarding resolutions or amendments, contact Bill McIntosh, Manager, Executive Support, by telephone at 604-443-5706 (toll-free in BC 1-800-903-5300) or email at bmcintosh@lsbc.org.

Business

The business of the Annual General Meeting will include the following:

  • Election of Second Vice-President for 2012
  • Appointment of Law Society auditors for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2011
  • Practice fee resolution
  • Member resolutions (if applicable)
Practice fee resolution

The practice fee is set by a majority of members voting on a resolution at a general meeting or by referendum (section 23(1)(a) of the Legal Profession Act). The Benchers have resolved that the 2012 practice fee be set by a vote at the Annual General Meeting.

Resolution 1 – Practice fee, submitted by the Benchers

WHEREAS:

A. the Benchers have determined that the amount of $1,840.41 per practising lawyer is required to maintain and operate the programs of the Law Society and to otherwise discharge its statutory mandate during the year 2012; and

B. the Benchers have determined that it is appropriate to advance the interests of the Law Society by paying per practising lawyer the amounts to the organizations indicated below:

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada - $20.00

The Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII)  - $34.71

The Law Foundation of BC (pro bono contribution) - $15.03

Courthouse Libraries BC - $180.00

Lawyers Assistance Program - $60.00

Vancouver Bar Association (The Advocate)  - $27.50

 BE IT RESOLVED THAT, commencing January 1, 2012, the practice fee be set at $1,840.41 pursuant to s. 23(1)(a) of the Legal Profession Act.

Overview of 2012 fees

The Benchers recommend a total annual fee of $3,591.41 for 2012. The practice fee will increase by $111.27 to $1840.41. The insurance fee will remain the same at $1,750 and the Special Compensation Fund assessment will decrease by $4 to $1 reflecting the resolution of almost all the outstanding claims arising prior to May 2004 and the assumption of defalcation coverage under Part B of the insurance program since that date. The Bencher presentation on fees and the associated budgets for each fund is available on the Law Society website: see the link from this notice in the Publications & Resources section at www.lawsociety.bc.ca. 

Annual practice fee - $1,840.41

Special Compensation Fund assessment - $1.00

 Lawyers Insurance Fund assessment - $1,750.00

Total - $3,591.41

2011 fees - $3,484.14

Increase - $107.27

Practice fee

The Benchers recommend a practice fee to the members based on a thorough review of the Law Society’s finances by the Finance Committee. The Finance Committee met in a series of meetings in May and June with the Chief Executive Officer and senior management to review the proposed 2012 fees and budgets for the General Fund, the Lawyers Insurance Fund and the Special Compensation Fund. The Finance Committee also reviewed the fee proposals from the Courthouse Libraries BC, the Lawyers Assistance Program and The Advocate. Based on these meetings and reviews, the Finance Committee made recommendations to the Benchers regarding the fees for each of these funds and programs. These recommendations have been reviewed by the Executive Committee and were approved by the Benchers at their July meeting.

The overall objective of the practice fee recommendation is to ensure that operations of the General Fund are appropriately funded to enable the Law Society to efficiently and effectively fulfill its statutory mandate of protecting the public interest in the administration of justice.

Law Society operations

While General Fund operating expenses increased in 2010 and 2011, the practice fee did not increase in 2010 and the majority of 2011’s practice fee increase was dedicated to the transfer of funding responsibility for the forensic accounting program from the Trust Administration Fee (TAF) to the General Fund. For 2012, the Benchers are recommending a practice fee increase of $111.27 or 6.4%. If this recommendation is approved by the members, the General Fund practice fee will have increased an average of 3% per year (excluding the forensic accounting transfer) over the five year period 2008 – 2012.

2012 General Fund operating expenses are budgeted to increase by $1.6 million from 2011 budgeted levels. The main budgeted changes are as follows:

  • market-based compensation adjustments
  • additional funding for core regulatory programs
  • additional funding for non-Bencher participation on hearing panels
  • savings from reduced paper and stationery use and other “green” initiatives
  • savings of $155,000 from electronic distribution of Law Society publications, including the Benchers’ Bulletin and Member’s Manual.

About half of the membership elects to receive the Benchers’ Bulletin and Member’s Manual updates in electronic format. The Benchers have determined that for 2012, the cost of printing and distribution of print copies of these publications for those who elect to continue to receive paper copies will be a separate item on the annual fee invoice. The cost is expected to be approximately $30 per year for each publication.

Based on current economic conditions, the TAF revenue for 2012 is projected to be sufficient to cover the cost of the TAF funded programs with no increase to the current fee of $10. 

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada provides a national voice for provincial and territorial law societies on important national and international issues. The Federation has recently completed a review of Canadian common law degrees and developed a Model Code of Professional Conduct. The Law Society’s contribution to the Federation will be $20 per member for 2012, unchanged from 2011.

The Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII)

CanLII is a not-for-profit organization initiated by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada.  Its goal is to make primary sources of Canadian law accessible for free on its website at canlii.org. All provincial and territorial law societies have committed to provide funding to CanLII. The Law Society’s contribution is set at $34.71 per member, an increase of $2.46 from 2011. The increase of $2.46 relates to the increased costs of funding CanLII for common-law jurisdictions approved by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada.

Pro bono funding

The Law Society supports pro bono programs throughout the province with a contribution to the Law Foundation of BC of 1% of the General Fund portion of the annual practice fee. This is an ongoing commitment. The Law Foundation distributes the money to organizations offering pro bono legal services to the public.

Courthouse Libraries BC (CLBC)

CLBC provides legal information services to the profession and the public, both online and through 30 branch libraries. The Law Foundation and the Law Society both contribute to CLBC funding. The society’s contribution in 2012 is $180 per member, unchanged from 2011.

Lawyers Assistance Program (LAP)

LAP provides confidential outreach, education, support and referrals to lawyers and other members of the legal community. Law Society funding for LAP in 2012 is $60 per member, a $4 increase over 2011. This increase is to cover market-based salary increases and higher lease costs for the coming year. 

The Advocate subscription

The 2012 subscription cost for The Advocate, distributed bi-monthly to all BC lawyers, is $27.50, unchanged from 2011.

Special Compensation Fund assessment

The Benchers have reduced the Special Compensation Fund assessment to $1 for 2012, a reduction of $4 from 2011. The further decrease from the reduction in 2011 is made possible by the expected conclusion of the last remaining claims in 2012, and by the management of new defalcation claims under Part B insurance coverage.

Lawyers Insurance Fund assessment

The Benchers have resolved to maintain the annual insurance fee at $1,750 for 2012. While the impact of the recession on claims frequency continues to be felt and the economic downturn has generated increased claims activity, overall the program is managing the increased costs within the existing insurance fee and investment revenue. While insurance programs in other Canadian law societies continue to face pressures on their reserves and operating income, effective management and sound investment policies have made it possible to maintain the fee at last year’s level. However, future claims experience and a possible decline in investment values due to continuing financial instability in international markets may require an increase in future years.  

Total fee comparison with other law societies*

 free comparison chart

* 2011 Law Society of Upper Canada and Law Society of Alberta practice fees adjusted by 3%, and 2012 Law Society of Upper Canada practice fee increased to reflect $2.5 million contribution from reserve ($71 per member)

For more information

If you have questions about the proposed fees or the financial information in this notice, please contact Jeanette McPhee, Chief Financial Officer, by telephone at 604-443-5712 (toll-free in BC 1-800-903-5300) or email at jmcphee@lsbc.org

 

2011 Annual General Meeting locations

City/town

Location

Vancouver

The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, British Room,
900 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, BC V6C 2W6

Abbotsford

Ramada Plaza & Conference Centre
36035 North Parallel Road, Abbotsford, BC V3G 2C6

Castlegar

Fireside Inn Castlegar
1810 8th Avenue, Castlegar, BC V1N 2Y2

Fort St. John

North Peace Cultural Centre
10015 100th Avenue, Fort St. John, BC V1J 1Y5

Kamloops

The Coast Canadian Inn
339 St. Paul Street, Kamloops, BC V2C 2J5

Kelowna

The Coast Capri Hotel
1171 Harvey Avenue, Kelowna, BC V1Y 6E8

Nanaimo

The Coast Bastion Inn
11 Bastion Street, Nanaimo, BC V9R 6E4

Prince George

Coast Inn of the North
770 Brunswick Street, Prince George, BC V2L 2C2

Prince Rupert

The Crest Hotel
222 1st Avenue West, Prince Rupert, BC V8J 1A8

Smithers

Alpenhorn Bistro & Bar
1261 Main Street, Smithers, BC V0J 2N0

Victoria

Marriott Victoria Inner Harbour
728 Humboldt Street, Victoria, BC V8W 3Z5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RSVP instructions will be provided in the second notice of the 2011 Annual General Meeting, which will be sent out in late August 2011.