2011 Bencher election – call for nominations

August 31, 2011

Election date

An election will be held on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 for Benchers of the Law Society of British Columbia in all districts, to serve two-year terms beginning January 1, 2012 and ending December 31, 2013.

Nominations

To be valid, nominations of candidates for election must be received by the Law Society by 5:00 pm on Monday, October 17, 2011. Each nomination must be signed by two nominators (who are members in good standing and eligible to vote in the relevant district) and must contain the nominee’s consent to the nomination.

Nomination forms are available for download on the Law Society website at lawsociety.bc.ca or by contacting Taryn Mohajeri, Executive Support Administrator, at 604.443.5776 (toll-free in BC 1.800.903.5300) or tmohajeri@lsbc.org.

Law Society Rules

For information on the election of Benchers, see Rules 1-18 through 1-42. The Law Society Rules are available in the Member’s Manual and in the Publications and Resources section of the Law Society website. If you have questions about the election process, please contact Bill McIntosh, Manager of Executive Support, at 604.443.5706 (toll-free 1.800.903.5300) or bmcintosh@lsbc.org.

Rules 1-21 and 1-22 address the qualifications required of a candidate for Bencher and the nomination process. Rule 1-20(1) describes the Bencher electoral districts into which the province is divided.

Pursuant to Rule 1-20(2), the number of Benchers to be elected from the County of Kootenay (District No. 5) has been reduced from one to none, and the number of Benchers to be elected from the County of Vancouver (District No. 1) has been reduced from 13 to 12, because Bruce A. LeRose, QC and Arthur E. Vertlieb, QC, now hold the offices of First Vice-President and Second Vice-President, respectively. Similarly, the number of Benchers to be elected from the County of Westminster (District No. 4) will be reduced from three to two if Jan Lindsay, QC (the Benchers’ nominee for the office of Second Vice-President in 2012) is elected at the 2011 Annual General Meeting. Under Rule 1-3(4), these three individuals automatically continue as Benchers until they complete their terms as President.

Role and duties of the Benchers

The Benchers are the Law Society’s board of directors. They govern the work of the Society in accordance with the Legal Profession Act, set and enforce standards of professional responsibility for lawyers and preside at discipline and credentials hearings. Benchers can expect their duties to consume four or five full days a month. For more information on the role and duties of the Benchers, see Bencher’s Oath and Duties on the Law Society website (under About Us > Governance > Benchers). 

Election voting package

The election voting package will be mailed in October, following the close of nominations on October 17, 2011. The package will include a basic listing and photograph (if provided) of each candidate along with a ballot, ballot envelope and return envelope.

Candidates’ biographies and election statements on Law Society website

Candidates’ biographical summaries and election statements will be posted on the Law Society website at lawsociety.bc.ca. The voting package will advertise this webpage link. (Any lawyer who does not have web access can request a print copy of the webpage biographical information at that time.)

Benchers encourage diversity in candidates seeking office

The Benchers have noted that women, Aboriginal and visible minority lawyers, and solicitors continue to be under-represented among elected Benchers. All lawyers who meet the qualifications for Bencher and want to contribute to the profession are encouraged to stand for election, but women, Aboriginal and visible minority lawyers and those practising predominantly in solicitors’ fields are particularly encouraged to do so. The Benchers believe that the profession will be best served by representatives of diverse backgrounds and experience.