E-Brief: September 2011

Bencher nominations open

Lawyers are encouraged to consider running for election as a Bencher of the Law Society. Nominations must be received by the Law Society by 5 pm on Monday, October 17, 2011. The Law Society promotes diversity and encourages women, lawyers with disabilities, and Aboriginal and visible minority lawyers to run for Bencher election. More information and nomination form.

Annual general meeting

Two hundred twenty-five lawyers and six students attended the Law Society AGM on September 20 where Jan Lindsay, QC was acclaimed Second Vice-President for 2012. More information and the results of the resolutions are published on the website.

Correction – Adult Guardianship and Planning Statutes Amendment Act, 2007 article

This Insurance Issues: Risk Management article notes that the Adult Guardianship and Planning Statutes Amendment Act, 2007 came into effect September 1, 2011. In fact, as certain sections of the Act — including some that significantly amend the Adult Guardianship Act (AGA) — are not yet proclaimed, the article's references to changes to the AGA and property guardians should be read as pending changes. We will publish a further note in E-Brief if and when those changes come into force.

Law firms encouraged to take advantage of new rules for students

Effective September 1, new Rule 2-32.01 permits articled students to provide certain legal services to the public, provided they are well supervised by a principal or another lawyer. The change is part of ongoing efforts by the Benchers to help make legal services more accessible and affordable for the public. Read more about this important development in the Fall Benchers' Bulletin.

Rural Education and Access to Lawyers Initiative to attract lawyers to small communities

The Law Society and the Canadian Bar Association are joining forces to provide two years of funding to the Rural Education and Access to Lawyers (REAL) initiative, to help the original five-year project reach its conclusion. This Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch project is designed to attract new lawyers to small rural BC communities, many of which either already have a shortage of lawyers or are projected to in the coming years. In 2011 the program placed 20 summer students in small community firms where they gained experience under the mentorship of local lawyers.

Law Society to charge for print subscriptions to Benchers' Bulletin and Member's Manual

Beginning in 2012, lawyers who elect to receive the Law Society's publications in print form will be charged a fee (about $50) to cover printing and mailing costs. About half of BC lawyers currently choose to receive the publications electronically, which is free of charge.Benchers have concluded that the costs associated with the print subscriptions should be paid by those who receive them. To sample the electronic version of Benchers' Bulletin, read the recently published fall edition and related article. Lawyers can change their publication preferences any time by visiting Lawyer Login. More information will be sent later this fall, but if you have any questions, please contact the Law Society.

Succession planning, it's good practice

The Law Society is recommending sole practitioners, in particular, take the critical step of arranging for a winding up caretaker for their practices should they become ill or die. Sole practitioners who have not indicated on their trust reports that they have done so will be receiving an email in the coming weeks encouraging them to makes such plans. This is part of the Society's campaign launched this summer entitled "Succession planning, it's good practice." Questions can be emailed to the Law Society's Custodianships department or call 604.669.2533.

Law Society approves extension of mobility rights to the Chambre des notaires du Quebec

The Benchers have agreed to extend mobility rights to members of the Chambre des notaires du Quebec under the Federation of Law Society's Quebec Mobility Agreement. This builds on a move by Canadian law societies to create a separate class of membership, known as Canadian Legal Advisor, for eligible members of the Barreau du Quebec. In 2010, the Law Society became a signatory to the Quebec Mobility Agreement, which permits lawyers from Canadian common law jurisdictions to practise federal law, the law of their home jurisdiction, and public international law in Quebec as a Canadian Legal Advisor member of the Barreau du Quebec.

Events this fall

Lawyers interested in learning more about the latest technology related to legal practice will want to attend the Pacific Legal Technology Conference on October 7. The event is co-organized by the Law Society and is eligible for continuing professional development credits.

Tickets are now available for the 2011 Bench and Bar Dinner on Tuesday, November 8. The event offers an opportunity for lawyers and judges to pay tribute to those who have made outstanding contributions to the cause of justice in BC. Registration form.

Pro bono an important contribution

The Law Society was pleased to contribute financial and staff resources to the recent Access Pro Bono advice-a-thon, and thanks all lawyers, students and organizations involved in this important event and other pro bono efforts throughout the year. Pro bono work is an important contribution to society and enhances confidence in the legal profession.

Results of CPD review

Following a survey of all BC lawyers and a comprehensive review of the Law Society's Continuing Professional Development program, the Benchers have approved a modest set of modifications to the current requirements. Read the report. The updated requirements take effect January 1, 2012.

QC nominations

The Attorney General's office is accepting nominations for the honorary designation of Queen's Counsel until October 14, 2011. More information is available on the Ministry's website.

From the Courts

The BC Court of Appeal has repealed and replaced its practice directives and notes for clarity and ease of reference. Read the announcement. The Court has also issued a new practice note: Filing Written Argument in Court of Appeal Chambers.

The BC Supreme Court has issued practice direction PD-31 - the Model Seizure and Safekeeping of Evidence Order, which prescribes a standard form of order for seizure and safekeeping of evidence that are commonly referred to as "Anton Piller Orders." The BCSC has also published an updated Index of current Practice Directions and Administrative Notices and a Table of Concordance, which includes practice directions and administrative notices issued on or after July 1, 2010. The BCSC has also advised that a notice will be published on their website shortly that will address problems with Chambers at the Vancouver Law Courts; these measures are to take effect on October 3.

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