E-Brief: December 2014

Benchers adopt Legal Services Regulatory Framework Task Force recommendations

At a meeting last Friday, the Benchers adopted recommendations set out in the Report of the Legal Services Regulatory Framework Task Force. As one element of the Law Society's efforts to enhance access to justice for the citizens of British Columbia, the Benchers authorized seeking amendments to the Legal Profession Act to permit the Law Society to establish new classes of legal service providers to engage in limited areas of practice. The task force recommended several areas of practice in which new classes of legal service providers could be permitted to practise, with the objective of increasing the availability of qualified and competent advice. The Law Society staff will be approaching government regarding the amendments early in the new year.

Justicia model policies and best practice materials adopted

The Benchers have endorsed best practice materials for parental leave, flexible work arrangements, and demographic data. The model policies for parental leave and flexible work arrangements were based on, and are intended to update and replace, the existing model policies. Firms are encouraged to adopt the new policies, which can be found on the Law Society's website, as appropriate.

Respectful Workplace Model Policy update

The Benchers have endorsed an updated model policy for respectful workplaces put forward by the Respectful Workplace Subcommittee. The updated policy is intended to replace the Workplace Harassment Model Policy, which was last updated in June 2006. Firms are encouraged to adopt the policy, as appropriate.

Going on holidays? Provide practice coverage and watch out for holiday scamsters

If you are going on holidays, plan how your practice will be looked after while you are away. Arrange for a lawyer who is competent to supervise your practice, and provide information to the lawyer and your assistant about how you can be contacted, if required. Your legal assistant should not be left without proper supervision (BC Code, Chapter 6). Also, keep in mind that scamsters may continue working during the holidays and try to take advantage of a skeleton office. Be vigilant about the Law Society's client identification and verification rules and the no-cash rules and maintain an awareness of scam scenarios. If you have questions, contact a practice advisor.

Law Society CEO elected president of International Institute of Law Association Chief Executives

At its 2014 conference and annual general meeting in Cape Town last month, the International Institute of Law Association Chief Executives (IILACE) elected the CEO of the Law Society, Timothy McGee, QC, as its new president. IILACE is an association of chief executive officers of law societies and bar associations from around the world. The annual meeting provides a forum for exchange of views and information of common interest to local, national and international executive officers of law societies and bar associations. McGee will serve a two-year term.

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