At the LSO's June Convocation, the Competency Committee released their Report: "Renewing the Law Society’s Continuing Competence Framework".
OVERVIEW: The work plan of the Task Force includes four phases: discovery, development, design, and implementation. The Task Force has completed the discovery phase and is currently in the development phase of its work. This has included the creation of a working definition of competence and the identification of themes and principles to inform the design and implementation phases.
CALL FOR COMMENT: On June 23, 2021, the Competence Task Force’s Report: Renewing the Law Society’s Continuing Competence Framework was included as an Information Item to Convocation. The Report details the Law Society’s mandate to regulate the competence of lawyers and paralegals and provides an overview of how competence regulation has evolved to keep pace with regulatory best practices. The Report also provides an overview of the Task Force’s work plan, a working definition of competence, and proposed themes and principles which may inform new approaches to competence programs and requirements.
Most importantly, the Report includes comments on the importance of LiRN and of providing supports to small/soles.
The LSO has issued a Call for Comment and are open to the suggestions and feedback of all interested parties. You may respond to some or all of the questions within the Call for Comment until Nov. 30, 2021.
FOLA will be preparing a Submission and if you'd like to send us comments for consideration as we draft it, please send them to Katie at email@example.com by October 20th.
VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: LSO EMERGENCY FAMILY LAW REFERRAL LINE
In response to the suspension of regular court operations, the LSO set up an Emergency Family Law Referral Line ("EFLRL") with support from the OBA, FOLA, the courts and various family bar groups. The EFLRL call centre has LSO staff who will connect self-represented litigants with lawyers for 30 minutes of pro bono legal advice to assist in determining whether their matters are “urgent” as defined by the Courts and to help those with urgent matters get further assistance.
If you are interested in joining the roster of lawyers providing this pro bono service, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information: (1) Your contact information; (2) Whether you are able to take on domestic violence and child protection matters; (3) Whether you provide legal services in French.
In 2017, Convocation approved a set of reforms to the contingency fee regime to enhance consumer protection, improve transparency and fairness for clients, and facilitate access to justice. Amendments to the Solicitors Act and regulations, as well amendments to the Law Society’s rules of conduct are required to fully implement the reforms.
On October 22, 2020, Convocation approved amendments to the lawyer and paralegal conduct rules to implement certain transparency requirements, previously approved in principle by Convocation. The amendments, which come into effect July 1, 2021, include:
See the Professional Regulation Committee report to Convocation for more information. The Paralegal Professional Conduct Guidelines were also amended (see report).
The Smarter and Stronger Justice Act, 2019, which received Royal Assent on July 8, 2020, includes changes to the Law Society Act that enable the Law Society to regulate firms – in addition to individual lawyers and paralegals. Any specifics of firm regulation will be implemented through by-laws adopted by Convocation, after consultation with licensees.
Firm regulation is expected to enhance public protection. At the same time, the new provisions are intended to be positive for firms and licensees alike. Firm regulation would: