2016 Annual General Meeting of the Law Society of British Columbia

Friday, October 14, 2016

Registration: 11:30 am – 12:30 pm PDT (Vancouver); 11:45 am – 12:30 pm PDT (other locations)

Call to order: 12:30 pm PDT

Main location: Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, The Panorama Roof, 900 West Georgia Street, Vancouver

Audio-conference locations: Victoria • Nanaimo • Abbotsford • Surrey • Castlegar • Cranbrook • Kelowna • Prince George • Dawson Creek • Prince Rupert • Smithers • Terrace • Kamloops


BC lawyers and articled students are invited to attend the next Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Law Society, which will be held on Friday, October 14, 2016.

The main venue will be in Vancouver, linked by audio-conference to the 13 other locations. Please register on arrival to obtain your voting card. You may be asked for identification. Only Law Society of BC members in good standing (whether practising, non-practising or retired) will be eligible to vote at the meeting. Please see page 5 for venue and fast track pre-registration information.

 

Electronic participation

As part of the Law Society’s ongoing efforts to make it easier for members to participate in our AGMs, members will be asked to vote on a resolution to approve electronic voting at general meetings to allow members to participate and vote online at future AGMs.

For this year, if you would like to participate and vote at the AGM, you must attend at one of the physical locations. If you are interested in watching and listening via webcast, you may access the link by visiting our website at www.lawsociety.bc.ca and clicking on the AGM banner on the home page.

 

Business of the meeting

The business of the 2016 Annual General Meeting will be the following:

  • Election of Second Vice-President for 2017 (Resolution 1);
  • Appointment of Law Society auditors for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2016 (Resolution 2);
  • Announcement of the 2017 practice fee; and
  • Benchers resolution: electronic voting at general meetings (Resolution 3)
Election of Second Vice-President for 2017

Each year at the AGM, a Bencher is elected by the attending members to serve as Second Vice-President for the following year, pursuant to Law Society Rule 1-19. The Benchers are pleased to announce their nomination of Nancy Merrill, QC to serve as Second Vice-President in 2017, and invite the profession to support Ms. Merrill’s nomination.

Pursuant to Rule 1-5(2), the Second Vice-President for 2017 will be First Vice-President in 2018 and President in 2019.

 

Nancy Merrill, QCNancy Merrill, QC

Nancy Merrill, QC is a partner with Merrill, Long and Company in Nanaimo. She has practised family law, mediation, civil litigation and wills and estates since 1991. 

Nancy was elected a Bencher in 2011 and is currently Chair of the Ethics Committee and Legal Aid Task Force. She is also a member of the Executive Committee and Access to Legal Services Advisory Committee. 

Nancy was a mentor under the Canadian Bar Association Women Lawyers’ Mentoring Program and has served on the executives of the Nanaimo Family Bar and Nanaimo Alternative Dispute Resolution sections. 

She has worked on the Family Relations Act review for the Attorney General, designed and taught the Family Law course at Royal Roads University and conducted federal prosecutions in Ontario while she completed the first portion of her LLM. She was involved in establishing the Nanaimo Children’s Lawyer, a pro bono child advocate project for children whose parents are involved in high conflict separation and she has served as the Nanaimo County representative on the Board of the Law Foundation.

 

Law Society fees for 2017

The Benchers will set the 2017 fees at the September 30, 2016 Bencher meeting following their review of the Finance and Audit Committee’s recommendations. The Finance and Audit Committee bases its recommendations on a thorough review of the Law Society’s finances, statutory mandate and strategic plan. An overview of the 2017 fees set by the Benchers will be presented at the 2016 Annual General Meeting and will be posted to the Highlights section of the Law Society website.

The Finance and Audit Committee and senior management conduct a full review of the Law Society’s operational budgets each year prior to recommending the General Fund practice fee, Lawyers Insurance Fund assessment and the Trust Administration Fee. The overall objective when setting the fees is to ensure that the Law Society’s operations are appropriately funded to enable the Society to efficiently and effectively fulfill its statutory mandate to protect the public interest in the administration of justice.

The Finance and Audit Committee also reviews budgets and fee proposals from a number of organizations and programs supported by the Law Society fees, including: Courthouse Libraries BC, the Lawyers Assistance Program, The Advocate, the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, the Canadian Legal Information Institute and the delivery of pro bono legal services.

If you have any questions about the process for setting the 2017 fees, contact Jeanette McPhee, Chief Financial Officer and Director of Trust Regulation, by telephone at 604.443.5712 (toll-free at 1.800.903.5300) or email jmcphee@lsbc.org.

Resolutions

At this AGM, members are asked to vote on the following resolutions:

Resolution 1: Election of Law Society Second Vice-President for 2017

BE IT RESOLVED that Nancy Merrill, QC be elected as the Law Society’s Second Vice-President for the year commencing January 1, 2017.

Resolution 2: Appointment of Law Society auditors for 2016

BE IT RESOLVED that PricewaterhouseCoopers be appointed as the Law Society’s auditors for the year ending December 31, 2016.

Resolution 3: Electronic voting at a general meeting

BE IT RESOLVED to authorize the Benchers to amend the Rules respecting general meetings to provide for voting at a general meeting either partly or fully by electronic means.

Note: Section 12 of the Legal Profession Act requires the approval of two-thirds of members voting in a general meeting or referendum before the Benchers can make rule changes with respect to certain matters, including general meetings of the Law Society.

Commentary:

Following a July 2015 report of the Governance Committee, the Benchers resolved to pursue steps to enhance accessibility, improve efficiency and reduce costs associated with AGMs, special general meetings, elections and referendums. Last year the AGM was webcast, and members passed a resolution approving the electronic distribution of material for the general meetings and Bencher elections. This year, the Benchers are recommending that the Rules regarding general meetings be amended to allow for electronic voting at general meetings. If the resolution is passed, voting on AGM resolutions will be done electronically starting in 2017, allowing members to vote online without having to attend the physical meeting location.

November 15, 2016 Bencher by-election

A Bencher by-election for the County of Vancouver will be held on November 15, 2016, to replace outgoing President David Crossin, QC, whose term will come to an end December 31, 2016, and former Bencher Madam Justice Maria Morellato, who has been appointed to the Bench. The one-year term of the newly elected Benchers will commence January 1, 2017. A notice of election and call for nominations has been emailed to the profession and a nomination form is available for download from the home page of the Law Society website at www.lawsociety.bc.ca (see link under Highlights). Under the Law Society Rules, each nomination must be signed by two members in good standing who are eligible to vote in the relevant district, and must be received by the Law Society by October 14, 2016.

As noted above, the Law Society is working towards implementation of fully electronic Bencher elections with the goal of increasing accessibility and participation. To that end, and to provide transition, the by-election in Vancouver County for 2016 will be conducted both manually and electronically. Members will receive paper notices by mail, as well as electronic notices by email. Members will have the option of voting either by mail-in paper ballots or electronically using a secure online voting platform.

The Benchers note that Indigenous lawyers, solicitors, visible minority lawyers, women lawyers, LGBTQ lawyers, lawyers with disabilities and young lawyers continue to be under-represented among elected Benchers. All lawyers who meet the qualifications for Bencher and want to contribute to the governance of the profession are encouraged to stand for election, but Indigenous lawyers, visible minority lawyers, women lawyers, LGBTQ lawyers, lawyers with disabilities, young lawyers and lawyers practising predominantly in solicitors’ fields are particularly encouraged to do so. The Benchers believe that the Law Society’s mandate to protect the public interest in the administration of justice will be best served by leaders of diverse backgrounds and experience.

 

2016 Annual General Meeting locations / pre-registration

Law Society members are encouraged to use the fast track pre-registration form (available in the Login Resources section of the Law Society website at www.lawsociety.bc.ca – access Login Resources via LAWYER LOGIN) to specify the meeting location you expect to attend. Email us at AGM@lsbc.org regarding any meeting access / support needs or AGM questions you may have.

Districts

City/town

Location
(a light lunch will be available at all AGM locations)

No. 1 - Vancouver

Vancouver

Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, The Panorama Roof
900 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, BC

No. 2 - Victoria

Victoria

Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour, Pacific B Room
728 Humboldt Street, Victoria, BC

No. 3 - Nanaimo

Nanaimo

Vancouver Island Conference Centre, Dodd Narrows Room
101 Gordon Street, Nanaimo, BC

No. 4 - Westminster

Abbotsford

Quality Hotel & Conference Centre, Summit Room
36035 North Parallel Road, Abbotsford, BC

Surrey

Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel, Barnston A
15269 104th Avenue, Surrey, BC

No. 5 - Kootenay

Castlegar

Super 8 Castlegar, Boardroom
651 – 18th Street, Castlegar, BC

Cranbrook

Best Western Cranbrook Hotel, DW Kroeker Room
1019 Cranbrook Street North, Cranbrook, BC

No. 6 - Okanagan

Kelowna

Coast Capri Hotel, Vineyard Room – Section 4
1171 Harvey Avenue, Kelowna, BC

No. 7 - Cariboo

Prince George

Ramada Inn Prince George, Dogwood Room
444 George Street, Prince George, BC

Dawson Creek

Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, Ballroom
12217 4th Street, Dawson Creek, BC

No. 8 - Prince Rupert

Prince Rupert

Crest Hotel, Harbour Room
222 - 1st Avenue West, Prince Rupert, BC

Smithers

Alpenhorn Bistro & Bar, Boardroom
1261 Main Street, Smithers, BC

Terrace

Best Western Plus Terrace Inn, Chinook Room
4553 Greig Avenue, Terrace, BC

No. 9 - Kamloops

Kamloops

Double Tree by Hilton Kamloops, Coquihalla Room
339 St. Paul Street, Kamloops, Kamloops, BC

 

September 16, 2016