April 2003

April 25, 2003

By-law implementing redesigned Specialist Certification program approved
Convocation approved a new by-law that enables the implementation of the redesigned Specialist Certification program. The program is undergoing redesign based on the business plan approved by Convocation in June 2002, to provide lawyers with enhanced skills development and greater transparency in the certification process.

The new system of applications and payments for the redesigned program comes into effect in January 2004. During this period of transition and until December 2003 , members may continue to apply for specialist certification under the current recognition process. Members applying for certification after December 2003 will be required to comply with the requirements and processes of the reformulated program.

The Specialist Certification program recognizes lawyers who have met established standards of experience and knowledge in designated fields of law, and have maintained high standards of professional practice. The program aims to promote the public interest and enhance lawyer competence by facilitating the development of specialty expertise in a given field.

The new By-law implements the program as approved by Convocation in June 2002, as well as incorporating the operational standards of the program, as provided to Convocation for information in September 2002.

Professional Development & Competence and Admissions Committee Report

More information about the program:

Annual Financial statements get Convocation's approval
Convocation has approved the Law Society's annual financial statements for the General Fund, Lawyers Fund for Client Compensation, Errors and Omissions Insurance Fund and LibraryCo Inc.

The full annual report will be available at the Annual General Meeting May 7, 2003 at Osgoode Hall.

Finance and Audit Committee Report

Convocation approves $100,000 payment for study
Convocation approved a $100,000 contribution to the study being conducted by university law schools in Ontario (with the exception of the University of Toronto who are completing a separate study) on the effects of rising tuition fees on accessibility of legal education.

Convocation's recommendation is based on the understanding that after consultation with the Law Deans, terms of the study and any refinements must be brought back to Convocation for approval before the money is spent.

The study is being completed by Dr. Alan King on behalf of the Law Deans group at Ontario law schools.

Finance and Audit Committee Report

Complaints Resolution Commissioner By-Law approved
Convocation has approved a by-law that establishes the review and resolution functions of the Complaints Resolution Commissioner. The role of the CRC is to review complaints of persons who are dissatisfied with the outcome of the Law Society's consideration of a complaint, and to attempt to resolve complaints at an earlier stage in the complaints investigation process, where a decision on the complaint has not been made by the Society.

Professional Regulation Committee Report

Foreign Legal Consultant By-Law approved
Convocation passed a by-law on Foreign Legal Consultants (FLCs), incorporating changes to the Law Society's policy on FLCs passed in November 2002, paying particular attention to the public interest, client needs, and the increasingly global nature of certain aspects of legal practice.

The bylaw codifies the rules and requirements and fees for becoming an FLC and maintaining the licence. It also established transitional provisions for those currently licensed as FLCs.

The policy passed in November permits Ontario lawyers in good standing, who are also members of the bar of foreign jurisdictions, to practise Ontario law and be licensed as FLCs. Ontario lawyers will also be entitled to employ, partner, associate, or affiliate with FLCs in Ontario, provided this is done in accordance with Law Society by-laws. Neither of these practices were permitted under the earlier policy.

Inter-Jurisdictional Mobility Committee Report, April 25, 2003

Inter-Jurisdictional Mobility Committee Report , November 2002

By-law, Rule update gets approval
Amendments to By-Law 24 and Rule 3.04.1 of the Rules of Practice and Procedures have been approved by Convocation.

The amendment to By-Law 24 implements Convocation's earlier decisions that the fact that a review is being, or has been conducted, will not be made public, and that a proposal order made under by-law will not be made public unless it suspends or limits a member's rights and privileges.

The amendment to the Rules of Practice and Procedures implements Convocation's decision that where a tribunal limits or suspends a member's rights and privileges, following a professional competence proceeding, both the order and the decision should be made public.

Professional Development, Competence & Admissions Committee Report

Updated model policies
The Equity and Aboriginal Issues Committee presented for information purposes two updated model policies: the Guide to Developing a Policy Regarding Flexible Work Arrangements and the Guide to Developing a Policy Regarding Workplace Equity in Law.

These model policies have been developed to guide lawyers in promoting equity and diversity in all areas of their practice, including employment and the provision of services. All model policies adopted by the Law Society are available on-line.

Model Policies