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CEO's Message

Diana Miles HeadshotThere is no doubt much will be written about the extraordinary events of 2020. In this message, I would like to consider those events from the perspective of the organization whose operations I have the privilege of leading. As I look back at the past year, I am most impressed by the strength and resilience demonstrated by my team and all that they accomplished despite the upheaval taking place around them.

In mid-March 2020, along with organizations around the world, the Law Society was required to pivot to address the pandemic. As a regulator providing vital services in the public interest, it was essential that we continued all of our more than 40 programs and core activities. With the direction and assistance of our board, the organization quickly moved to work-at-home protocols while maintaining services and upholding our corporate obligations and high standards. This was accomplished as we developed new supports to help the public and members, through these challenging times.

The Professional Development and Competence Division completely revised processes to enable lawyer and paralegal candidates to effectively move through the licensing process in lockdown, transitioning from in-person, paper-based examinations to an online, remote proctored model in just nine weeks. The Professional Regulation Division moved all regulatory services off-site, modifying significant portions of workflow to digital document management, all while maintaining file completion benchmarks.

Our call centre recalibrated to support the new emergency family law referral telephone line to assist the public. We also supported members by delaying fee payments and other requirements and providing advice and information through our web page and Practice Management Helpline. We worked closely with stakeholders and government to help keep the justice system operating within the limits of public health measures. You can find more information on our activities in the COVID-19 and Key Trends sections of this report.
 

Despite the disruptions of the pandemic, we continued to move our strategic focus on burden reduction and proportionate regulation forward. We developed a sustainable budget for 2021 that decreases overall spending on operations and reduces member annual fees.
In developing the budget, we looked to balance the impact of unanticipated challenges with the need to modernize. The budget ensures the Law Society continues to support our mandate with timely, high-quality operational activities while maintaining annual fees at a level that is realistic and proportionate to our regulatory purpose.

The organization progressed significantly in response to the strategic priorities established in the fall of 2019. The board, working closely with senior management, considered a series of recommendations for strategic change with three main goals: 

  1. achieve savings and internal efficiencies
  2. reduce regulatory burdens
  3. streamline and modernize processes. 


To date, well over 20 of the recommendations have been approved and are now being implemented.

The steps the Law Society took in 2020 are important to our evolution as a modern regulator. Our organization is financially and operationally sound. Our board and our team have made significant contributions to ensure this remains the case, as we look to the opportunities and challenges of 2021. 

I would like to thank Treasurer Donnelly and our board for their support and guidance over the past year and I extend my gratitude to the team at the Law Society for their hard work and dedication. Together we have overcome unprecedented challenges and demonstrated the unity of purpose and excellence that has come to define our organization.

Diana Miles, Chief Executive Officer


Corporate Values
Responsiveness
We adapt quickly to the evolving needs of the public and legal professions. 
Legacy
We are proud of the work we do and the meaningful role we play in support of the public interest.
Compassion
We are genuinely interested in the needs of one another, and the public.
United in Purpose
We are one team that works together to achieve our shared goals.
Excellence
We act with integrity to be the regulatory gold standard.
Terms or Concepts Explained