2010 Annual General Meeting of The Law Society of British Columbia

July 23, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Registration: 11:30 am – 12:30 pm (in Vancouver); 11:45 am – 12:30 pm (other locations)
Call to order: 12:30 pm
Main location: Vancouver
Audio-conference locations: Abbotsford • Castlegar • Dawson Creek • Kamloops
Kelowna • Nanaimo • Prince George • Prince Rupert • Smithers • Victoria
Member resolutions to the meeting

Member resolutions submitted to the meeting must be in writing, signed by two members in good standing and received by the Executive Director no later than 5:00 pm on Wednesday, August 18, 2010 (Law Society Rule 1-6(6)).

If you have any questions regarding resolutions or amendments, contact Bill McIntosh, Manager, Executive Support, by telephone at 604-443-5706 (toll-free in BC 1-800-903-5300) or email at bmcintosh@lsbc.org.

Business

The business of the Annual General Meeting will include the following:

  • Election of Second Vice-President for 2011
  • Appointment of Law Society auditors for 2011
  • Practice fee resolution
  • Member resolutions (if applicable)
Practice fee resolution

The practice fee is set by a majority of members voting on a resolution at a general meeting or by referendum (section 23(1)(a) of the Legal Profession Act). The Benchers have resolved that the 2011 practice fee be set by a vote at the Annual General Meeting.

Resolution 1 – Practice fee, submitted by the Benchers

WHEREAS:

A. the Benchers have determined that the amount of $1,399.04 per practising lawyer is required to maintain and operate the programs of the Law Society and to otherwise discharge its statutory mandate during the year 2011; and

B. the Benchers have determined that it is appropriate to advance the interests of the Law Society by paying per practising lawyer the amounts to the organizations indicated below:

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada - $20.00

The Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII)  - $32.25

The Law Foundation of BC (pro bono contribution) - $14.35

Courthouse Libraries BC - $180.00

Lawyers Assistance Program - $56.00

Vancouver Bar Association (The Advocate)  - $27.50

 BE IT RESOLVED THAT, commencing January 1, 2011, the practice fee be set at $1,729.14 pursuant to s. 23(1)(a) of the Legal Profession Act.

Overview of 2011 fees

The Benchers recommend a total annual fee of $3,484.14 for 2011. The practice fee will increase by $95.64 to $1,729.14, the first increase in two years. The insurance fee will also increase by $150, reflecting the continuing exposure of the profession to claims arising from the economic downturn. However, the Special Compensation Fund assessment will decrease by $45 to $5, reflecting the assumption of defalcation coverage under Part B of the insurance program and the resolution of almost all the outstanding claims arising prior to May 2004. The Bencher presentation on fees and the associated budgets for each fund is available on the Law Society website; see the link from this notice in the Publications & Forms / Notices section at www.lawsociety.bc.ca.

Annual practice fee - $1,729.14

Special Compensation Fund assessment - $5.00

 Lawyers Insurance Fund assessment - $1,750.00

Total - $3,484.14

2010 fees - $3,283.50

Increase (6.1%) - $200.64

Practice fee

The Benchers recommend a practice fee to the members based on a thorough review of the Law Society’s finances by the Finance Committee. The Finance Committee met with Chief Executive Officer Tim McGee and senior management to review the proposed 2011 fees and budgets for the General Fund, the Lawyers Insurance Fund and the Special Compensation Fund. The Finance Committee also reviewed the fee proposals from Courthouse Libraries BC, the Lawyers Assistance Program and The Advocate. Based on these meetings and reviews, the Finance Committee made recommendations to the Benchers regarding the fees for each of these funds and programs. These recommendations were reviewed by the Executive Committee in June and approved by the Benchers at their July meeting.

The overall objective of the practice fee recommendation is to ensure that operations of the General Fund are appropriately funded to enable the Law Society to efficiently and effectively fulfill its statutory mandate of protecting the public interest in the administration of justice.

Law Society operations

Of the proposed $95.64 increase in the practice fee, $79 relates to the decision to fund the existing forensic accounting program from the practice fee rather than the trust administration fee, while the balance relates to the funding of external organizations.

As noted last year, the trust administration fee revenue for 2010 was not expected to be sufficient to cover the cost of the existing trust assurance and forensic accounting programs. In November 2009, the Benchers considered how the forensic accounting program should be funded and determined that the program was most appropriately funded by the practice fee. Thus while General Fund expenses, exclusive of the forensic accounting and internal rent adjustments, are expected to increase by 1% in 2011, an anticipated increase in revenue (based on average practising membership of 10,575) will offset the increase in General Fund expenses for 2011.

Overall 2011 General Fund operating expenses are budgeted to increase by 2.5% from 2010 budgeted levels. The main budgeted changes are as follows:

  • market-based compensation adjustments
  • net change of three staff positions — a staff lawyer to support the society’s strategic initiatives, support for continuing professional development, and administrative support for the Benchers — offset by the reduction of one management position
  • lower external counsel fees due to reductions in legal defence costs

Based on current economic conditions, the trust administration fee revenue for 2011 is projected to be sufficient to cover the cost of the trust administration program with no increase to the current fee of $10.  

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada provides a national voice for provincial and territorial law societies on important national and international issues. The Federation has most recently completed a review of Canadian common law degrees and developed a Model Code of Professional Conduct. All Canadian law societies will contribute $20 per member for 2011, unchanged from 2010.

The Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII)

CanLII is a not-for-profit organization initiated by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada.  Its goal is to make primary sources of Canadian law accessible for free on its website at canlii.org. All provincial and territorial law societies have committed to provide funding to CanLII. The Law Society’s contribution is set at $32.23 per member, an increase of $1.51 from 2010.

Pro bono funding

The Law Society supports pro bono programs throughout the province with a contribution to the Law Foundation of BC of 1% of the General Fund portion of the annual practice fee. This is an ongoing commitment. The Law Foundation distributes the money to organizations offering pro bono legal services to the public.

Courthouse Libraries BC (CLBC)

CLBC provides legal information services to the profession and the public, both online and through 30 branch libraries. The Law Foundation and the Law Society both contribute to CLBC funding. The society’s contribution in 2011 is $180 per member, a $14 increase from 2010. This is the first increase in two years and is required to fund increased operating expenses.

Lawyers Assistance Program (LAP)

LAP provides confidential outreach, education, support and referrals to lawyers and other members of the legal community. Law Society funding for LAP in 2011 is unchanged from 2010 at $56 per member.  

The Advocate subscription

The 2011 subscription cost for The Advocate, distributed bi-monthly to all BC lawyers, is $27.50, unchanged from 2010.

Special Compensation Fund assessment

The Benchers have reduced the Special Compensation Fund assessment to $5 for 2011, a reduction of $45 from 2010. As noted last year, the decrease is made possible by the expected conclusion of the last remaining claims during 2011/2012, and by the management of new defalcation claims under Part B insurance coverage.

Lawyers Insurance Fund assessment

The Benchers have resolved to increase the 2011 insurance fee by $150, to $1,750. The impact of the recession on claims frequency in 2010 is consistent with 2009, which increased by 13% over 2008. Economic downturns have always generated increased claims activity in the one to three-year period following the downturn, and the 2008 recession is no exception. While the value of the fund’s investments has recovered substantially in the latter part of 2009 and the early part of 2010, there remains some concern that continuing financial instability may impact the value of market-based assets in the future. While the fund’s total investments remain sufficient to cover expected liabilities and provide some measure of reserve, the investment income that has offset some of the insurance costs has declined and is likely to continue to be lower than in the past.

As a result, the Benchers have resolved to increase the 2011 insurance fee by $150. This increase is being echoed in the insurance programs in other Canadian law societies, which are facing similar pressures on their reserves. It is hoped that continued modest increases in the insurance fee will generate sufficient revenue to offset greater claims costs and avoid the need for a more dramatic increase a few years down the road.

Total fee comparison with other law societies*

 free comparison chart

fees for other law societies based on 2010 information adjusted by 3% for comparability

For more information

If you have questions about the proposed fees or the financial information in this notice, contact Jeanette McPhee, Chief Financial Officer, by telephone at 604-443-5712 (toll-free in BC 1-800-903-5300) or email at jmcphee@lsbc.org.

2010 Annual General Meeting locations

City/town

Location

Vancouver

Pan Pacific Vancouver, Crystal Pavilion A
300-999 Canada Place, Vancouver, BC V6C3B5

Abbotsford

Best Western Regency Inn, Conference Center
32110 Marshall Road, Abbotsford, BC V2T 1A1

Castlegar

Fireside Inn Castlegar
1810 8th Avenue, Castlegar, BC V1N 2Y2

Dawson Creek

To be determined

Kamloops

The Coast Canadian Inn
339 St. Paul Street, Kamloops, BC V2C 2J5

Kelowna

Sandman Hotel Kelowna
2130 Harvey Avenue, Kelowna, BC V1Y 6G8

Nanaimo

The Coast Bastion Inn
11 Bastion Street, Nanaimo, BC V9R 6E4

Prince George

Coast Inn of the North
770 Brunswick Street, Prince George, BC V2L 2C2

Prince Rupert

Prince Rupert’s Crest Hotel
222 West 1st Avenue, Prince Rupert, BC V8J 1A8

Smithers

Alpenhorn Bar and Bistro
1261 Main Street, Smithers, BC V0J 2N0

Victoria

Hotel Grand Pacific
463 Belleville Street, Victoria, BC V8V 1X3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RSVP instructions will be provided in the second notice of the 2010 Annual General Meeting, which will be sent out late in August 2010.