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June 2015 Convocation


Treasurer Minor acclaimed for second term
Treasurer Minor was acclaimed for a second term at today’s Convocation. Over the next 12 months, Treasurer Minor plans to focus on key initiatives that further enhance the organization’s regulation of lawyers and paralegals in the public interest. New initiatives include the creation of task forces to address compliance-based entity regulation and mental health issues (more below), as well as a roundtable for new licensees to discuss professional issues and Law Society initiatives. Treasurer’s blog.

Compliance-based Entity Regulation Task Force established
Convocation agreed to establish a task force to study and make recommendations on a compliance-based regulatory approach for entities through which lawyers and paralegals provide legal services. Compliance-based regulation is a proactive approach where the regulator identifies matters to be proactively addressed in practice and provides flexibility as to the approach to be taken, primarily through the setting of goals and the provision of supports to achieve those goals. There is evidence, from other common law jurisdictions, that compliance-based regulation may reduce complaints and improve ethical conduct. Full report.

Mental Health and Wellness Task Force established
The Mental Health and Wellness Task Force was established by Convocation, at the request of the Treasurer, to create a strategy to promote wellness and provide a more proactive and targeted approach to mental health and addiction issues, based on the principle that mental health and wellness are central to supporting the professional responsibility of lawyers and paralegals. Full report.

Call for input on proposed amendments to lawyers’ rules of conduct approved
Convocation approved a call for input on proposed amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct on the following subjects:

  • Conflicts of interest
  • Doing business with a client
  • Short-term legal services
  • Incriminating physical evidence 
  • Advertising

A description of and language for the proposed amendments will be posted on the Law Society website. The deadline for submissions is October 16, 2015. Full report.

Lawyer and paralegal rules amended re: language rights
Convocation amended the lawyer and paralegal codes of conduct regarding language rights, based on amendments made to the Federation of Law Societies’ Model Code of Professional Conduct. The amendments clarify that clients have the right to be served in the official language of their choice and that lawyers and paralegals should carefully consider whether it is possible to provide the required services in a competent manner. The Paralegal Standing Committee also approved related amendments to the Paralegal Professional Conduct Guidelines. 

The amendments to the lawyers’ rules include additional commentary advising that a lawyer should take into consideration whether provincial legislation may provide a client additional language rights, including rights in relation to Aboriginal languages.

Full reports: Professional Regulation Committee. Paralegal Standing Committee

Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct amended re: lawyers transferring between law firms
Convocation amended the Rules of Professional Conduct regarding conflicts of interest resulting from lawyers transferring between law firms. The amendments include:

  • A new rule and commentary which provide that when a lawyer transfers from one law firm to another, the lawyer may disclose confidential client information to the extent reasonably necessary to detect and resolve conflicts of interest;
  • New commentary to the Rule to provide that the purpose of the Rule is to deal with actual, not imputed, knowledge; 
  • New commentary regarding reasonable measures to be implemented by the new law firm to protect the confidentiality of client information; and
  • A redrafted rule which provides guidance on lawyer due diligence for non-lawyer staff.

Full report.

Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct amended re: limited scope retainers
Convocation amended the Rules of Professional Conduct following changes to the Rules of Civil Procedure and the Family Law Rules related to limited scope retainers. The following amendments were made to the Commentary of Rule 3.2-1A1.1:

  • A new paragraph advising that a lawyer should consider confirming with a client in writing when the limited scope retainer is complete, and may also consider providing notice to the tribunal of the completion;
  • New commentary providing that when the limited retainer services include an appearance before a tribunal, the lawyer is cautioned against misleading the tribunal regarding the scope of the retainer. Further, disclosure of the limited nature of the retainer to the tribunal may be required either by rules of practice or by the circumstances;
  • A new paragraph advising that a lawyer consider whether the existence of a limited scope retainer should be disclosed to a tribunal, an opposing party, or counsel for the opposing party; further, the lawyer may consider obtaining instructions from their client on this point.

Full report

By-Laws amended re: law student experiential learning
Convocation amended By-Law 4 [Licensing] and By-Law 7.1 [Operational Obligations and Responsibilities] to address certain supervised law student experiential learning. The by-law amendments were approved in principle at May Convocation. Full report.

Webcasts of Convocation to continue
Convocation approved regular webcasting of Convocation to ensure transparency and accessibility. The first five Convocations of 2015 were webcast on a trial basis. Full report.

Convocation approved committee and other appointments. Full report.

 Convocation receives CEO’s report 
Convocation received a report from Law Society CEO Robert Lapper on Law Society initiatives, operational trends and activities, and policy work to support Convocation’s strategic priorities. Full report

Priority Planning Committee received
Convocation received a report from the Priority Planning Committee on the status of work completed and ongoing on the priorities set for the 2011-2015 bencher term. Convocation will set new priorities for the 2015-2019 bencher term this fall. Full report

Lawyer Career Choices Survey released
The third Career Choices study, which survey’s new lawyer licensees to investigate their experiences from law school to their entry into practice, was provided to Convocation for information. Full report.

Paralegal Change of Status Survey released
Convocation received a report on paralegals who changed practising status in 2012, 2013 or 2014. The report arises from the work of the Working Group on the Retention of Women and with the aim of building a better understanding of movements within the paralegal profession, particularly among women. Full report. More information.

Human Rights Monitoring Group interventions approved
Convocation approved interventions in the following cases:

  • Lawyer Mahienour El-Massry — Egypt 
  • Lawyers Valerian Vakhitov and Khusanbay Saliev — Kyrgyzstan 

Full report.


  • Agenda
  • Minutes of Convocation
  • Election of Treasurer
  • Treasurer’s Remarks
  • Consent Agenda 
    • Confirmation of Draft Minutes of Convocation – May 28, 2015
    • Motions 
      • Committee Appointments
      • In Camera Appointments
    • Report of the Director of Professional Development and Competence – Deemed Call Candidates


Professional Development & Competence Report

  • Competence Enhancement – Law Student Experiential Learning By-Law Amendments

Professional Regulation Committee Report

  • Amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct

Paralegal Standing Committee Report

  • Amendments to the Paralegal Rules of Conduct

For Information

  • Report on Paralegals Changing Status
  • Paralegal Professional Conduct Guidelines
  • Information on Proposed Amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct

Treasurer’s Report

  • Proposed Task Forces

Secretary’s Report

  • Transparency and Accessibility of Convocation

Equity and Aboriginal Issues Committee/Comité sur l’équité et les affaires autochtones Report 

  • Human Rights Monitoring Group Requests for Intervention

For Information

  • Career Choices Study

Report of the Chief Executive Officer

Audit & Finance Committee Report

For Information

  • LibraryCo Inc. Financial Statements for the Three Months ended March 31, 2015
  • Other Committee Work


Priority Planning Committee Report


  • Convocation’s Priority Planning - Status of Work on Convocation’s Priorities


Report from The Action Group on Access to Justice

Convocation was webcast on June 25, 2015. View the archive. 

Terms or Concepts Explained