Number of elected paralegal benchers to increase from two to five
Convocation approved changes to its governance structure that will see all five elected paralegals become benchers. Currently, five paralegals are elected to the Paralegal Standing Committee and the Committee then elects two paralegals as benchers. Convocation approved the increase in the number of paralegal benchers to ensure effective governance by having all elected paralegals act as decision-makers at Convocation. An amendment to the Law Society Act is required to implement the changes. Full report.
By-Law 11 amended to add a non-licensee representative to PAC
Convocation approved amendments to By-Law 11 [Regulation of Conduct, Capacity and Professional Competence] to include a non-licensee as a public representative on the Proceedings Authorization Committee (PAC). PAC makes determinations about regulatory matters, including whether a matter should proceed to the hearing stage. The addition of a public representative to PAC stems, in part, from the Law Society's participation in the Federation of Law Societies of Canada's National Discipline Standards Project. Full report.
By-Law 12 amended re: Claims Officer appointment
By-Law 12 [Compensation Fund] was amended to give the Compensation Fund Committee the authority to appoint Claims Officers. The amendments provide a foundation for a new process where consideration by a fact-finder, or Claims Officer, will assist the Committee in deciding whether to make a grant from the Fund. Full report.
By-Laws 6 and 7 amended re: insurance requirements for certain partnerships
Convocation amended By-Law 6 [Professional Liability Insurance] to require paralegals working in
partnership with lawyers to purchase insurance from LAWPRO, effective January 2014. Full report.
Convocation also amended By-Law 7 [Business Entities] to clarify that lawyers who enter into partnership with non-licensees, and lawyers who enter into partnership with both paralegals and non-licensees, are to obtain insurance for the non-licensee partner from LAWPRO. Full report.
The new policies reflected in the by-law amendments were previously approved at February Convocation.
Cathy Corsetti re-elected chair of the Paralegal Standing Committee
Cathy Corsetti was re-elected the chair of the Paralegal Standing Committee at its April 2013 meeting. The chair is elected by the committee annually.
Report of longitudinal study on departures from private practice released
Leaving Law and Barriers to Re-entry: A Study of Departures and Re-entries to Private Practice by Professor Fiona Kay is the latest in a series of reports based on a longitudinal study of nearly 1,600 Ontario lawyers surveyed over a 20-year period. The report, prepared for the Law Society, finds that women leave private practice at higher rates than men, reinforcing the importance of the Law Society's retention of women in private practice initiatives. The report also examines broader organizational constraints impacting both male and female lawyers and points to strategies to address those constraints. Full report.
Human Rights Monitoring Group interventions
The Law Society intervened in the following cases
- human rights lawyer Mohammad Seifzadeh - Iran
- human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa - Zimbabwe
Audit and Finance Committee report
Convocation approved the following items in the Audit and Finance Committee report:
- the audited Annual Financial Statements for the Law Society for the financial year ended December 31, 2012
- the updated Investment Policy
- the continued retention of the Law Society's investment manager and custodian
- Deloitte LLP as The Law Society of Upper Canada and LibraryCo Inc. auditor for the 2013 financial year
Tariff for calculation of costs in Law Society proceedings amended
Convocation amended Tariff A - Fees for Services to be Considered, under Rule 25.01 to specify that the hourly fee for service for a lawyer with 10/11 years of experience is $300. Full report.
Convocation authorized the Treasurer to sign the proxy in favour of proposed LAWPRO shareholder resolutions at the Annual and General Meeting of Shareholders of the Lawyers' Professional Indemnity Company to be held May 1, 2013. Convocation also authorized the Treasurer to sign the proxy in favour of proposed LibraryCo Inc. shareholder resolutions at the Annual and General Meeting of Shareholders of LibraryCo Inc. to be held May 3, 2013. Full report.
Appointed Bencher Catherine Strosberg was appointed to the Complaints Resolution Commissioner Selection Committee.
Hearing and Appeal Panel members were appointed for a term of one year.
Progress made on recommendations from paralegal regulation review
The Paralegal Standing Committee reported on the Law Society's progress on the eleven recommendations made by David Morris in his review of paralegal regulation last November. Initial progress has been made on most of the recommendations, many of which were consistent with the direction already being taken by the Law Society. The working group appointed by the Committee to study the report will continue its work over the coming months. Morris was appointed by the Attorney General to conduct an independent five-year review of paralegal regulation. In his report, he described the regulation of paralegals by the Law Society as an "unqualified success". Full report.
Tribunals protocol established
A new protocol provides a more effective mechanism for handling any regulatory issues concerning practice before administrative tribunals and adjudicative agencies. The Law Society is working with adjudicative agencies to develop protocols for the reporting of regulatory issues concerning lawyers and paralegals. The Social Justice Tribunals Ontario Cluster as well as the Environmental and Land Tribunals Cluster have agreed to work with the Law Society on the protocol which will parallel the judicial protocol established in 2009. Full report.