Law Society committees for 2008

Law Society committees carry out many regulatory functions under the Legal Profession Act and the Law Society Rules. The Law Society has also established several advisory committees whose role is to keep the Benchers apprised of key developments in law and policy affecting the legal profession. Below is a list of 2008 committees and their chairs. Full membership lists are available on the Law Society’s website.

Executive Committee

John Hunter, QC (Chair)

Gordon Turriff, QC (Vice-Chair)

The Executive Committee assists the Benchers in establishing priorities for the assignment of Society financial, staff and volunteer resources and for planning Bencher meetings. The Executive Committee consists of the President, the First and Second Vice-Presidents, the Second Vice-President-elect, three other Benchers elected from among the Benchers as a whole and one Lay Bencher elected from among the Lay Benchers.

Audit Committee

David Zacks, QC (Chair)

Art Vertlieb, QC (Vice-Chair)

The Audit Committee assists the Benchers in determining that the financial affairs of the Society are properly managed. This includes reviewing quarterly financial statements of the General, Liability Insurance and Special Compensation Funds prior to submission to the Benchers, providing an annual Audit Committee report to the Benchers and reviewing with the Law Society auditors their approach, the scope of the their audit and the audit issue results.

Complainants’ Review Committee

Dr. Maelor Vallance (Chair)

Thelma O’Grady (Vice-Chair)

The Complainants’ Review Committee reviews the files of complainants who are dissatisfied with dismissal of their complaints following a review by Law Society staff, and may refer complaints to the Discipline or Practice Standards Committee when appropriate.

Credentials Committee

Gordon Turriff, QC (Chair)

Richard Stewart, QC (Vice-Chair)

The Credentials Committee oversees the enrolment, education, examination and call to the Bar of articled students, the transfer of lawyers into BC and the reinstatement of former lawyers. When the character or fitness of an applicant for admission, readmission or transfer needs to be addressed, the committee considers the application directly or orders a formal credentials hearing.

Discipline Committee

Rita Andreone (Chair)

Art Vertlieb, QC (Vice-Chair)

The Discipline Committee reviews complaints concerning lawyers or articled students that are referred by the Professional Conduct Department, the Complainants’ Review Committee or any other committee.

Ethics Committee

Gavin Hume, QC (Chair)

Joost Blom, QC (Vice-Chair)

The Ethics Committee identifies current professional responsibility issues and makes recommendations on changes to the Professional Conduct Handbook for consideration by the Benchers. The committee also interprets existing Handbook rules, gives advice to individual lawyers and publishes opinions to the profession at large on matters of professional responsibility.

Finance Committee

Gordon Turriff, QC (Chair)

Glen Ridgway, QC (Vice-Chair)

The Finance Committee reviews the Law Society’s preliminary budget, provides a due diligence and oversight report to the Benchers in advance of the annual practice fee recommendation, brings financial issues to the Benchers for decision, and acts as a watchdog for the costs of any new programs or proposals.

The Finance Committee is composed of the First Vice-president, the Second Vice-president, Chair of the Audit Committee, a Lay Bencher and two other Benchers, at least one of whom is not a member of the Executive Committee.

Practice Standards Committee

Glen Ridgway, QC (Chair)

Robert Punnett (Vice-Chair)

The Practice Standards Committee reviews information about lawyers who may have competency-related problems and orders investigations when appropriate. The committee recommends ways for lawyers with competency problems to become competent, or restricts them from some areas of practice when necessary to protect the public. The committee also helps plan programs to assist lawyers to practice more competently.

Special Compensation Fund Committee

David Renwick, QC (Chair)

Richard Stewart, QC (Vice-Chair)

The Special Compensation Fund Committee considers claims for compensation arising from the alleged misappropriation or wrongful conversion of trust funds by a BC lawyer acting in that capacity. While claims made on or after May 1, 2004 are covered by Trust Protection Coverage and managed by the Lawyers Insurance Fund, the Special Compensation Fund continues to exist and is responsible for resolving claims made or discovered prior to adoption of the Trust Protection Coverage.

Unauthorized Practice Committee

William Jackson (Chair)

Carol Hickman (Vice-Chair)

The Unauthorized Practice Committee enforces the Legal Profession Act with respect to all aspects of the practice of law by non-lawyers and develops policy recommendations for the Benchers in unauthorized practice matters.

Access to Legal Services Advisory Committee

Robert Punnett (Chair)

David Mossop, QC (Vice-Chair)

The Access to Legal Services Advisory Committee monitors developments on issues affecting access to legal services, and reports those developments to the Benchers on a semi-annual basis. The committee advises the Benchers annually on priority planning with respect to access to legal services.

Equity and Diversity Advisory Committee

Thelma O’Grady (Chair)

Patrick Kelly (Vice-Chair)

The Equity and Diversity Advisory Committee monitors developments on issues affecting equity and diversity in the legal profession and the justice system in BC, and reports those developments to the Benchers on a semi-annual basis. The committee advises the Benchers annually on priority planning with respect to equity and diversity.

Independence and Self-Governance Advisory Committee

Jan Lindsay (Chair)

James Vilvang, QC (Vice-Chair)

The Independence and Self-Governance Advisory Committee monitors developments on issues affecting access to the independence and self-governance of the legal profession and the justice system in BC, and reports those developments to the Benchers on a semi-annual basis. The committee advises the Benchers annually on priority planning with respect to independence and self-governance.

Lawyer Education Advisory Committee

Bruce LeRose, QC (Chair)

Leon Getz, QC (Vice-Chair)

The Lawyer Education Advisory Committee monitors developments on issues affecting lawyer education in BC, and reports to the Benchers about those developments on a semi-annual basis. The committee advises the Benchers annually on priority planning with respect to the education of lawyers in BC.

New task forces for 2008
Civil Justice Reform Task Force

Joost Blom, QC (Chair)

The Civil Justice Reform Task Force will advise the Benchers on the Law Society’s further response to the Attorney General’s Civil Justice Reform Task Force.

Retention of Women in Law Task Force

Kathryn Berge, QC (Chair)

The Retention of Women in Law Task Force will review issues relating to the retention of women lawyers in private practice, including the preparation of a business case to support their retention in private practice. The task force will report back to the Benchers by the first meeting of 2009.