Your fees at work: Practice Advice

This column regularly highlights how fees paid to the Law Society are spent so that lawyers are aware of services to which they are entitled as well as programs that benefit from Law Society funding.

In this issue, we feature the Practice ­Advice service.

The Law Society employs four practice advisors who are lawyers with many years of practice experience.

Lawyers can contact advisors in confidence with questions on practice issues, ethics and practice management. Advisors are available by email or telephone.

“Inquiries encompass a broad range of subjects,” said Alan Treleaven, the Law Society’s director of education and practice. “Our common inquiries tend to focus on confidentiality, conflicts of interest and undertakings, but we also get calls about everything from client identification and verification to fraud, marketing rules and file retention.”

From a regulatory standpoint, the practice advice team represents an effective front line to help lawyers avoid problems before they happen. “Lawyers contact us regularly to vet a situation and make sure they are correctly interpreting our rules,” explained Barbara Buchanan, a Law Society practice advisor.

The team also regularly contributes material to the Benchers’ Bulletin to expand the reach of their advice beyond those who call in.

In 2011, the practice advisors managed over 6,700 inquiries. And, in addition to being well-used, it would appear the service is much appreciated. In response to a survey, at least 90 per cent of lawyers gave the practice advice team positive ratings for the quality of advice, satisfaction with resources provided and overall satisfaction with the program.

For contact and other information, please go to the Law Society website: Lawyers > Practice Support and Resources.