2009 Annual General Meeting of The Law Society of British Columbia

August 28, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver, 791 West Georgia Street, Vancouver
Abbotsford • Castlegar • Fort St. John • Kamloops • Kelowna • Nanaimo
Prince George • Prince Rupert • Smithers • Terrace • Victoria
Registration and lunch: 11:30 am – 12:30 pm
11:45 am – 12:30 pm outside Vancouver
Call to order: 12:30 pm

BC lawyers and articled students are invited to the Annual General Meeting of the Law Society of British Columbia, which will be held on Tuesday, September 29, 2009. The main location is in Vancouver, with the meeting linked to eleven audio-conference locations — in Abbotsford, Castlegar, Fort St. John, Kamloops, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Prince George, Prince Rupert, Smithers, Terrace and Victoria.

Please register on arrival and obtain your voting card. Only members of the Law Society of BC are eligible to vote and you may be asked for identification.

Remember to bring your copy of the Law Society’s 2008 financial statements.

Your RSVP is urgently requested

If you plan to attend the 2009 Annual General Meeting, please email your RSVP by September 18, 2009, using the list of AGM locations and email addresses set out on the back panel of this notice.

The Law Society needs your response to plan the arrangement of appropriate facilities and to prepare for registration. Please note any access or support needs you may have in your RSVP response.

Business of the meeting

The business of the AGM includes the following:

  • Election of the Second Vice-President for 2010
  • Appointment of Law Society auditors for 2010
  • Practice fee resolution
  • Members’ resolution
Election of Second Vice-President for 2010

Each year at the AGM members elect a Bencher to serve as Second Vice-President for the following year, pursuant to Law Society Rule 1-18. The Benchers are pleased to announce their nomination of Bruce A. LeRose, QC to serve as Second Vice-President in 2010 and invite the profession to support the nomination.

Under Rule 1-3(2), the Second Vice-President for 2010 will become First Vice-President in 2011 and President in 2012.

Resolution 1:  Appointment of Law Society auditors, submitted by the Audit Committee

BE IT RESOLVED that PricewaterhouseCoopers be appointed as the Law Society auditors for 2010.

Resolution 2:  2010 practice fee, submitted by the Benchers


A.  the Benchers have determined that the amount of $1,320.04 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 2010; 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


The Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII)


Pro bono contribution


BC Courthouse Library Society


Lawyers Assistance Program


The Advocate


BE IT RESOLVED THAT, commencing January 1, 2010, the practice fee be set at $1,633.50 pursuant to s. 23(1)(a) of the Legal Profession Act.

Overview of 2010 fees

The Benchers are recommending no increase in the annual practice fee for 2010. The Benchers have determined that in the current economic circumstances, maintaining the annual practice fee at the 2009 level will still provide for a balanced General Fund budget (non-trust administration fee-related) with no use of reserve. The Benchers have also approved a $100 reduction in the Special Compensation Fund assessment and a $200 increase in the Lawyers Insurance Fund assessment. The increase in the insurance assessment is intended to help fund an expected increase in claims activity and reduced investment income as a result of the economic downturn. The result is that the total fees paid by members will increase by 3.1 per cent for insured members and decrease by 5.6 per cent for members who do not pay for insurance. The Bencher presentation on fees and associated budgets (PDF) for each Fund is available at lawsociety.bc.ca (see the link from this Notice of 2009 AGM in the Publications & Forms / Notices section).

Annual practice fee


Special Compensation Fund assessment


Lawyers Insurance Fund assessment




2009 fees


Increase (3.1%)


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 2010 fees and budgets for the General Fund, the Lawyers Insurance Fund and the Special Compensation Fund. The Finance Committee also reviewed the budgets and finances of the BC Courthouse Library Society, 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 the funds. 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 Law Society’s 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

The Benchers are able to recommend no increase in the practice fee due to careful consideration of all the operational and capital budget requirements for the Law Society operations funded by the practice fee. While costs will increase due to market-based salary adjustments and anticipated external counsel expenses, expense reductions have been budgeted based on expected efficiencies and the deferral of some capital expenditures to future years. These savings, coupled with an expected increase in revenue for 2010 (based on average practising membership of 10,300), will offset the budgeted increase in General Fund expenses for 2010.

Overall expenses are expected to increase by 3.5 per cent in 2010. Approximately 80 per cent of this increase is due to market-based salary and external counsel fees adjustments.

Other budgeted changes for the Law Society operations are:

  • increase in budgeted custodianship storage expense due to a growing number of files;
  • increase in budgeted human resources expense due to union contract renewal;
  • lower cost of publications associated with greater electronic distribution;
  • lower cost of support for online courses;
  • savings from paper reduction programs, electronic distribution of the Annual Report and other green initiatives.

Based on current conditions and projecting into 2010, trust administration fee revenue for 2010 is not expected to be sufficient to cover the cost of the Law Society’s trust assurance and forensic audit programs. Without an unexpected increase in trust transactions on which the trust administration fee is payable, it is likely that some increase in the trust administration fee will be necessary in 2010. The Benchers intend to monitor the trust administration fee revenue from now until the end of the year with a view to evaluating if any increase is required and, if so, how much. 

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, such as anti-money laundering legislation and inter-provincial mobility. Most recently, the Federation has been instrumental in coordinating a national response to the Competition Bureau’s report on self-regulating professions and looking at national standards for admissions. All law societies will contribute $20 per member for 2010, a $3 increase over the 2009 allocations.

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 the internet. All provincial and territorial law societies have committed to provide funding to CanLII. The Law Society’s contribution of $30.74 per member for 2010 is the same as in 2009.

Pro bono funding

The Law Society supports pro bono programs throughout the province with a contribution to the Law Foundation of BC of one per cent 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.

BC Courthouse Library Society (BCCLS)

The BCCLS provides legal information services to the profession and the public, online and through 30 branch libraries. The Law Society’s contribution to the funding of the BCCLS in 2010 is $166 per member, unchanged from 2009.

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 2010 is unchanged from 2009, at $56 per member.

Advocate subscription

The 2010 subscription cost for the Advocate, distributed bi-monthly to all BC lawyers, is $27.50, unchanged from 2009.

Special Compensation Fund assessment

The Benchers have reduced the Special Compensation Fund assessment to $50 for 2010, a reduction of $100 from 2009. The decrease is made possible by the expected conclusion of Special Compensation Fund claims in 2010, and by the management of new defalcation claims under the Part B insurance coverage. It is expected that the Special Compensation Fund assessment for 2011 will be even lower.

Lawyers Insurance Fund assessment

Serious economic downturns have always generated increased claims activity in the one to three-year period following the downturn. Not only are there more reports of claims and potential claims, but the severity of claims is often greater. This is particularly true of reports related to lending and real estate transactions. In addition to increased claims activity, the current economic downturn has also affected the value of the Fund’s investments. Like investors everywhere, the Fund has experienced a reduction in the market value of its investments which will affect the available investment return. While the total investments remain sufficient to cover the Fund’s liabilities and provide some measure of reserve, the investment income which has offset some of the insurance costs in previous years will likely be less until the economy recovers.

As a result, the Benchers have resolved to increase the 2010 insurance fee by $200. This increase is being echoed in the insurance programs in other Canadian law societies and is the first increase in the BC insurance fee since 1993. It is hoped that an early modest increase in the insurance fee will generate sufficient revenue to offset the expected increase in claims costs and help avoid a more dramatic increase a few years down the road.

Total fee comparison with other law societies

free comparison chart

For more financial information

If you have any questions about the proposed fees or the financial information in this notice, please 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.

Resolution 3: Member resolution calling on the Law Society to address discriminatory barriers facing Aboriginal law students and lawyers, signed by Karen L. Whonnock of Terrace, and by Linda Locke, QC of Hazelton (both members in good standing of the Society).

The Law Society’s Rules permit any two members in good standing to submit a resolution for consideration at the Annual General Meeting.

We, Karen L. Whonnock and Linda Locke, QC, members in good standing of the Law Society of British Columbia, propose the following resolution to be presented at and voted upon at the 2009 Annual General Meeting of the Law Society of British Columbia.


A. The Law Society of British Columbia released a report in 2000 entitled “Addressing Discriminatory Barriers facing Aboriginal Law Students and Lawyers” which has not been implemented;

B. In July of 2009, the Law Society of British Columbia has released a three year plan “2009 – 2011 Strategic Plan” that is silent on Aboriginal Issues;

C. The Law Society of British Columbia does not currently track Aboriginal articling students and Aboriginal lawyers;

D. The needs of Aboriginal law students and Aboriginal lawyers are distinct from the current Equity and Diversity Committee, and there is unique constitutional space for Aboriginal peoples, and recommendation from the 2000 “Addressing Discriminatory Barriers facing Aboriginal Law Students and Lawyers” to create an Aboriginal Advisory Group; and

E. The Law Society of Upper Canada has appointed an Aboriginal Initiatives Counsel whose role is to support law students secure articling positions, address concerns in PLTC, and support the retention of Aboriginal lawyers and Aboriginal Benchers and there is no similar position within the Law Society of British Columbia.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Law Society of British Columbia:

1. Review the 2000 report on “Addressing Discriminatory Barriers facing Aboriginal Law Students and Lawyers” with a view to implementing the recommendations;

2. Amend the 2009 – 2011 Strategic Plan so as to include the retention of Aboriginal lawyers as a priority at Strategy 1-3 on page 4;

3. Keep a record of Aboriginal articling students and Aboriginal lawyers who wish to voluntarily identify themselves as Aboriginal;

4. Establish an Advisory Group of Aboriginal Lawyers and Aboriginal law students; and

5. Hire a full-time staff lawyer whose sole purpose is to support Aboriginal law students, articling students and lawyers.

Message from the Benchers regarding Resolution 3:

The Law Society would like to ensure that members are informed about what the Benchers and the Law Society have done in relation to the recommendations in the 2000 report Addressing Discriminatory Barriers facing Aboriginal Law Students and Lawyers (the “Report”).

The Report made 35 recommendations related to pre-law school programs, law schools, PLTC, mentors, the PLTC entrance examination, continuing legal education, articling, law practice and the judiciary. The Report was considered at some length at two successive Bencher meetings in December 2000 and February 2001. The Benchers adopted many of the recommendations — including those relating to PLTC, a bursary to expand law school Aboriginal curricula and the development of a model employment equity policy — and these have been implemented. The Benchers considered, but did not adopt, two of the recommendations: for the Law Society to appoint an articling liaison, and for the Law Society to establish a separate Aboriginal advisory committee.

Although the Benchers did not adopt the recommendation regarding a separate Aboriginal advisory group, the Aboriginal Law Graduates Working Group continued until 2008 to work with the Equity and Diversity Advisory Committee to develop proposed strategies for gathering demographic data about the profession, including using 2006 Census data with a focus on Aboriginal lawyers. As a result, the annual practice declaration now contains a question asking the lawyer whether she or he identifies as an Aboriginal person.

The Law Society is committed to enhancing equity and diversity in the legal profession in BC, including addressing the needs of Aboriginal law students and lawyers, and will continue to work to ensure that the opportunity to practise law in BC is equally available to all.


Annual General Meeting locations

Please RSVP to the email address beside the location you plan to attend.
If sending an RSVP for others in your office as well, note the number in your email.
RSVP deadline is Friday, September 18, 2009



RSVP by email to:


Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver
791 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, BC  V6C 2T4



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



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


Fort St. John

North Peace Cultural Centre
10015 100th Avenue, Fort St. John, BC  V1J 1Y5



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



The Coast Capri Hotel
1171 Harvey Avenue, Kelowna, BC  V1Y 6E8



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



Alpenhorn Bar and Bistro
1261 Main Street, Smithers, BC  V0J 2X0



Legal Services Society
207 – 3228 Kalum Street, Terrace, BC V8G 2N1



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



Bruce A. LeRose, QC

Bruce LeroseAfter graduating from J. Lloyd Crowe High School in Trail, LeRose attended the University of British Columbia, where he earned his BA in 1979 and his LL.B. in 1982. LeRose was called to the BC Bar in 1983 and appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2006. Throughout his entire career he has been a member of Thompson, LeRose and Brown (formerly Geronazzo and Thompson), a full service general practice law firm with three offices in West Kootenay. He has been a member of the Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch, for 27 years and has served as President of the Kootenay Bar Association for two years.

A Bencher of the Law Society since 2004, LeRose presently chairs the Lawyer Education Advisory Committee and sits on the Executive Committee, Finance Committee, Special Compensation Fund Committee, Credentials Committee and Mirror Imaging Task Force. He has also sat on the Audit Committee, Practice Standards Committee and chaired the Small Firm Task Force and Lawyers Education Committee when the Continuing Professional Development program was implemented. If elected, LeRose will be the first member from the County of Kootenay to become President in the Law Society’s 125 year history.

A native of Trail, LeRose has been very active in many civic, cultural and sports organizations in the community.