Unbundling (limited scope retainers) rule amendments approved
Convocation approved amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct and the Paralegal Rules of Conduct to provide guidance to lawyers and paralegals who provide legal services under limited scope retainers, also called “unbundled” legal services. Under limited scope retainers, lawyers or paralegals provide legal services for part, but not all, of a client’s legal matter, by agreement with the client. Developed following a call for input from the profession, the amendments include a general requirement for a written confirmation of the limited scope retainer. Full report.
Guidelines for Law Office Searches approved
Convocation has approved new Guidelines for Law Office Searches for the benefit of Ontario lawyers. Law office searches are rare but when a search occurs, lawyers are advised to consult the Guidelines, which will assist them in protecting solicitor-client privilege and offer best practices and guidance in these situations. The Guidelines are available on the Law Society’s website. Full report.
Distinguished Paralegal Award established
Convocation created The Law Society Distinguished Paralegal Award to recognize paralegals who have made an outstanding contribution to the development of the profession. The first award will be presented in the spring of 2012. Full report.
LAWPRO insurance premiums
Convocation accepted LAWPRO's report outlining the Law Society's professional liability insurance program for 2012. The base premium for professional liability insurance coverage for Ontario lawyers in 2012 will be $3,350 per lawyer, the same premium charged in 2011. The premium for the Real Estate Practice Coverage Option will decrease to $250 in 2012 from $400 charged in 2011. Premium discounts for part-time practice, restricted area of practice and new lawyers will be increased, which means thousands of lawyers could pay lower premiums in 2012 than in 2011. Full report.
By-Law 4 amended re: exemptions to paralegal licensing
By-Law 4 [Licensing] was amended to limit the exemptions for certain professional associations to fully accredited members. Full report.
By-Law 12 amended re: grant approval process
By-Law 12 [Compensation Fund] was amended to better facilitate the grant approval process by providing a procedure for the committee to approve urgent matters without in-person meetings. Full report.
Articling Task Force Terms of Reference amended
Convocation broadened the Articling Task Force’s Terms of Reference to permit the Task Force to recommend changes to the overall Licensing Process, which may be required to complement the Task Force’s recommendations regarding articling. Full report.
Bencher Virginia MacLean was removed from the Equity and Aboriginal Issues Committee at her own request. Bencher Sydney Robins was appointed to the Professional Regulation Committee. Motion.