|For immediate release||April 5, 2013|
Law Society ramps up public education for 2013 Law Week
Vancouver – Between April 8 and April 12, 2013 the Law Society of British Columbia is making available to news media its governors and senior staff to speak about the Law Society’s role in promoting access to justice and protecting the public.
It is a part of Law Week, an annual Canadian Bar Association event co-sponsored by the Law Society and others. Law Week is an opportunity for the public to learn about law and the institutions that form the cornerstones of the legal system.
This year, the Law Society is highlighting four important areas that have significant impact on the public and the public’s perception of the legal system.
Monday, April 8: “Access to justice in a changing legal marketplace.” Jan Lindsay, QC, First Vice President
- The legal marketplace is changing across the globe. Whether it is the emergence of non-lawyer ownership of law firms in England and Australia, or growth in the number of “virtual law firms” in Canada, the delivery of legal services today is very different than 20 years ago. In BC, the Law Society has expanded the range of legal service providers to promote more affordable access to justice. Designated paralegals are now permitted to give legal advice and make certain appearances in court, and articled students can perform many of the functions of lawyers. This Law Week, the Law Society wants the public to know about the available options when looking for legal services.
Tuesday, April 9: “Unauthorized practice of law.” Michael Kleisinger, Unauthorized Practice Counsel
- While the Law Society is best known for regulating lawyers, it also pursues people who are not lawyers and offer legal services for a fee, in violation of the Legal Profession Act. Unauthorized practitioners of law can pose a risk to the public by preying on unsuspecting clients and providing harmfully poor legal advice. Coinciding with Law Week, the Law Society is launching a new, searchable database of unauthorized practitioners with links to court orders and reasons for judgment.
Thursday, April 11: “Professional regulation.” Deb Armour, Chief Legal Officer
- Access to justice includes the public’s ability to rely on the honest, competent and professional services of a lawyer. The Law Society employs investigating lawyers, forensic accountants and former RCMP officers to help ensure the public is well served by an honourable legal profession. Each year, the Law Society receives approximately 1200 complaints. Many of those complaints involve conflicts of interest or communication issues. For Law Week, the Law Society wants to educate the public about what to expect when working with a lawyer, and what you should do if you encounter a problem.
Friday, April 12: “Becoming a lawyer in BC.” Alan Treleaven, Education & Practice Director
- The Law Society does more than just investigate lawyers and unauthorized practitioners of law. Another core function of the Society is to ensure new lawyers are qualified to practise by managing admissions and credentials. Learn more about what it takes to become a lawyer in BC, including for the growing number of Canadian law students who are trained in foreign universities.
The Law Society will try to accommodate requests for interviews on alternate days between April 8 and April 12.
The Law Society is also sponsoring the Law Week Open Houses in Nanaimo, Victoria, Kamloops, Cranbrook and Vancouver. In Vancouver, the Open House will be held from 10:00am to 3:00pm on April 16 outside UBC Robson Square. Events that day include a citizenship ceremony and tours of the court house. Information on the regional events is available on the website.
The Law Society of British Columbia regulates the more than 10,000 lawyers in the province, setting and enforcing standards of professional conduct that ensure the public is well-served by a competent, honourable legal profession.
For further information or to arrange an interview contact: