The Professional Regulation Committee’s consultation report: Mandatory Succession Planning was included as an information item at the June 2022 Convocation. The Consultation period ended on November 30th.
NEW COMPETENCY FRAMEWORK
In May 2022, Convocation considered the Competency Task Force’s report and approved a new Competency Framework which includes:
Read FOLA's Statement regarding the LSO's Report here.
In June 2021, the Competence Task Force’s Report: Renewing the Law Society’s Continuing Competence Framework was included as an Information Item to Convocation and the LSO subsequently issued a Call for Comment on it. That Report detailed 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. That Report also provided 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, that Report included comments on the importance of LiRN and of providing supports to small/soles.
On January 17, 2022, the Law Society, in partnership with the SCJ and the OCJ, launched a pilot project which allows eligible lawyer licensing candidates (namely articling students, LPP students and candidates completing their placements as part of the integrated practice curriculum program at Lakehead or Ryerson) to attend an increased number of matters related to family law cases without first needing the permission of the court pursuant to Rule 4(1)(c) of the Family Law Rules.
Further information about the pilot project, including information with respect to when advance permission is not required but stand-by availability is required, as well as when advance permission is required, can be found on the Law Society website here.
A short video about the Rights of Appearance project, which was initially presented at the 16th Family Law Summit, can be found at the link here.
Please feel free to send comments to PolicyConsultation@lso.ca.
In April 2022, Convocation confirmed a policy of mandatory minimum compensation for articling and other experiential training positions. The decision follows a debate and input from the profession on whether the minimum compensation requirement should be replaced with a best practices approach that encourages but does not require minimum compensation.
Mandatory minimum compensation for articling, the Law Practice Program and the Programme de pratique du droit was initially approved by Convocation in December 2018, as part of a series of enhancements to the lawyer licensing process, but implementation was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The target date for implementation is May 1, 2023.
This vote followed a comprehensive consultation period and both the TLA''s & FOLA's Submission can be found below.
In advance of the February 2022 Convocation, FOLA, The Advocates’ Society, the Toronto Lawyers Association, and Family Lawyers Association have issued a Joint Communiqué on the LSO’s FLSP licencing Report to Convocation in response to the LSO’s Report on Family Legal Services Provider Licence.
The LSO has received input from various stakeholders across the justice sector (including from FOLA) and now think this requires consideration. As a result, the Access to Justice Committee Report on the FLSP Licence will not be on the agenda for the meeting of Convocation on February 24, 2022. The LSO will be considering next steps and how best to move access to legal services forward and will share further updates as they move ahead.
In June 2020, the Law Society’s Access to Justice Committee invited lawyers, paralegals, legal organizations and members of the public to provide comments on a FLSP Licensing model.
The proposed scope of permissible activities, required competencies and outline of the training program were detailed in the Access to Justice Committee: Family Legal Services Provider Licence Consultation Paper.
Following extensive consultations with Law Association members, FOLA presented the Law Society with our Submission on November 30, 2020.
OTHER ASSOCIATION SUBMISSIONS
JUMP TO :
On November 3, the Law Society’s Access to Innovation (A2I) project began accepting applications from providers of innovative technological legal services (ITLS).
A2I opens up avenues for improved access to justice and offers new ways to reach consumers, while protecting the public. In addition to supporting providers of technological legal services with a framework to develop responsible and innovative tools, the A2I project helps legal professionals understand the opportunities associated with ITLS and how they can enhance their work by using, adapting to, or developing their own ITLS tools.
Access to Innovation fact sheets:
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 email@example.com 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).
At the 2023 LSO AGM, FOLA brought a motion forward to have the LSO devote more resources to ensure access to lawyers in under-served communities in the province.
As many of you will know the population of lawyers is not getting any younger but, in some areas, people in need of legal services will not be able to get a lawyer. As time goes on this situation is getting worse.
FOLA's motion asked the LSO to develop a plan and devote resources to this growing challenge.
FOLA'S MOTION PASSED 52-9 (with 3 abstentions)!