2011 Annual General Meeting of the Law Society of British Columbia

August 26, 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 (see page 8 for addresses):
Abbotsford • Castlegar • Fort St. John • Kamloops • Kelowna
Nanaimo • Prince George • Prince Rupert • Smithers • TERRACE • Victoria

BC lawyers and articled students are invited to the Annual General Meeting of the Law Society of British Columbia, which will be held on Tuesday, September 20, 2011. The main location is in Vancouver, with the meeting linked to 10 audio-conference locations — in Abbotsford, Castlegar, Fort St. John, Kamloops, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Prince George, Prince Rupert, Smithers, Terrace and Victoria.

Please register on arrival and obtain your voting card. Only members of the Law Society of BC are eligible to vote and you may be asked for identification.


Your RSVP is urgently requested

If you plan to attend the 2011 Annual General Meeting, please email your RSVP by September 9, 2011, using the list of AGM locations and email addresses set out on page 8 of this notice.

The Law Society needs your response to arrange for appropriate facilities and to prepare for registration. Please note any access or support needs you may have in your RSVP response.

Business of the meeting

The business of the AGM includes the following:

  • Election of the Second Vice-President for 2012
  • Appointment of Law Society auditors for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2011
  • Practice fee resolution
  • Members' resolution
Election of Second Vice-President for 2012

Each year at the AGM members elect a Bencher to serve as Second Vice-President for the following year, pursuant to Law Society Rule 1-18. The Benchers are pleased to announce their nomination of Jan Lindsay, QC to serve as Second Vice-President in 2012 and invite the profession to support the nomination.

Under Rule 1-3(2), the Second Vice-President for 2012 will become First Vice-President in 2013 and President in 2014. 


Jan Lindsay, QC

Jan Lindsay, QCJan Lindsay, QC practises civil litigation with Lindsay Kenney Lawyers in Langley, focusing on insurance and personal injury matters. Born in Vancouver, Lindsay graduated from UBC Law in 1980, following undergraduate work at SFU. Lindsay was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2009, and was the 2011 recipient of the Canadian Defence Lawyers’ Lee Samis Award of Excellence. 

First elected as a Westminster County Bencher in 2006, Lindsay has served on the Complainants’ Review, Discipline, Equity and Diversity, Executive and Independence and Self-Governance Committees, and the Civil Justice Reform and Retention of Women in Law Task Forces. She is a member (and chair, since 2009) of the 2011 Independence and Self-Governance Advisory Committee and the Practice Standards Committee. As a Bencher Lindsay supports and reports to the New Westminster Bar Association, the Fraser Valley Bar Association and the Abbotsford and District Bar Association. Also as a Bencher, Lindsay regularly presents ethics courses for the CBABC Ethics Section, and addresses first year law students on professional ethics and character. Lindsay has been co-chair of the CLE Personal Injury Conference for several years and is a member (and former chair) of the CBA’s Automobile Insurance Committee.

A resident of Langley since 1987, Lindsay has balanced a full-time law practice with raising four children, attending “too many hockey and soccer games to count” while supporting a range of community initiatives, including the Langley Children’s Society as a past member of the Board of Directors and current volunteer. 



Resolution 1:  Appointment of Law Society auditors, submitted by the Audit Committee

BE IT RESOLVED that PricewaterhouseCoopers be appointed as the Law Society auditors for the year ending December 31, 2011. 

Resolution 2: 2011 practice fee, submitted by the Benchers


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 subscription)  - $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 budgetsfor 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 2012 fees - $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. 

Funding for other organizations

The Benchers have determined that it is appropriate to advance the interests of the Law Society by supporting the following organizations: the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, Canadian Legal Information Institute, Law Foundation of BC (pro bono programs), Courthouse Libraries BC, Lawyers Assistance Program and Vancouver Bar Association (The Advocate). More information was provided in the first notice of AGM, which can be found on the Law Society website in Publications and Resources / Newsletters and Notices.

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 financial 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. Note that the Law Society’s 2010 Annual Review and Financial Statements are published on the Law Society website (www.lawsociety.bc.ca) in Annual Reviews and Financial Statements

Resolution 3: Member resolution calling on the Law Society to make its annual practice fee payable monthly or by credit card

The Law Society Rules permit any two members in good standing to submit a resolution for consideration at the Annual General Meeting. 

We, Karen L. Whonnock and Beverley J. Slater, members in good standing of the Law Society of British Columbia, propose the following resolution to be presented at and voted upon at the 2011 Annual General Meeting of the Law Society of British Columbia.


A. That while sole practitioners and small firms of two to five lawyers form a significant majority (94%) of law firms in BC, they face unique challenges; 

B. The Law Society of BC has already undertaken several programs designed for the sole practitioner such as the Small Firm Practice Course, practice advice, Practice Checklists and Small Firm Task Force; 

C. It will significantly assist sole practitioners and small firms if annual dues were payable over 12 monthly payments; and 

D. It will significantly assist sole practitioners and small firms if annual dues were payable by credit cards.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Law Society of British Columbia:

1. Allow lawyers a choice to make 12 monthly payments to the Law Society of British Columbia for their annual dues; and

2. Allow lawyers to make payments via credit cards to the Law Society of British Columbia for their annual dues. 


Message from the Benchers regarding Resolution 3:

The resolution submitted by Ms. Whonnock and Ms. Slater for consideration by the members at the Annual General Meeting proposes that the Law Society implement two initiatives intended to assist sole practitioners and small firms.  Although the recitals speak about sole practitioners and small firms, neither initiative is limited to sole practitioners and small firms.

The Benchers are concerned about the demands of practising as a sole practitioner or in a small firm and, as the recitals note, created the Small Firm Task Force in 2007 to look at issues particular to sole practitioners and small firms.  Since then, the Law Society has implemented a number of initiatives and programs intended to assist lawyers practising on their own or in small firms to better meet the requirements of practice and serve their clients.

Payment of Fees by Monthly Instalments

The Rules provide that the date for payment of the annual practising fee, special compensation fund assessment and first insurance fee instalment is November 30 of the year preceding the year for which they are payable. Payment of the annual fee is a condition of being a practising lawyer and the Rules currently provide for the consequences of late payment and non-payment.  While payment of the annual fee in 12 instalments is possible, the administration of the monthly payments, the tracking of late payments and enforcement of administrative suspensions due to non-payment would become more complicated and require significantly more administration. This would increase the practice fee in order to cover the cost of additional administration. Monthly payments would also make it more difficult to identify which lawyers were in good standing and entitled to practise law at any particular point in time, hindering our ability to respond immediately and accurately to inquiries about the status of lawyers. In addition to the increased cost of administration, the investment income earned on the total annual fees held throughout the year would be significantly reduced and additional borrowing may be necessary, requiring an increase in the practice fee to compensate for this revenue loss and/or additional interest expense.

Payment of Annual Fees by Credit Card

The payment of annual fees by credit card would increase the operational costs of the Law Society as a result of merchant fees, which would be payable by the Law Society to the credit card companies.  These fees typically range between 2% and 4% of credit charges.  As a result, the practice fee would have to be increased to cover the costs of the merchant fees payable by the Law Society.  If the resolution passes, it is highly unlikely that credit card usage would be available until the 2013 fee period.  The reason for this is twofold:  first, there is no amount in the 2012 budget nor in the proposed 2012 practice fee before the annual general meeting to cover this cost; second, there would not be sufficient time between the annual general meeting and the start of the 2012 billing cycle in late October 2011 to make the contractual arrangements, develop the administration for credit card payments and implement a secure online credit card interface for the members.



2011 Annual General Meeting locations

Please RSVP to the email address beside the location you plan to attend.
If sending an RSVP for others in your office as well, note the number in your email.

RSVP deadline is Friday, September 9, 2011



RSVP by email to:


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



Ramada Plaza and Conference Centre, Summit Room
36035 North Parallel Road, Abbotsford, BC V3G 2C6



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


Fort St. John

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



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



The Coast Capri Hotel, Vineyard Rooms 1and 2
1171 Harvey Avenue, Kelowna, BC V1Y 6E8



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


Prince George

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


Prince Rupert

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



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



Coast Inn of the West, Room 328
4620 Lakelse Avenue, Terrace, BC V8G 1R1



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