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Law Society seeks feedback: Addressing career-long competence of lawyers and paralegals, responding to Ontarian’s legal needs

June 23, 2021

TORONTO, ON — The Law Society of Ontario’s Competence Task Force is seeking input on how to maintain and enhance the career-long competence of lawyers and paralegals in a manner that protects the public interest and is responsive to the public’s legal needs.

The Law Society encourages lawyers, paralegals, legal organizations, members of the public and others to read the report and participate in the Call for Comment between now and November 30. Sharing experiences and ideas will help to ensure that the Task Force has the benefit of a full range of options and approaches to support post-licensure competence.

The Task Force’s Report: Renewing the Law Society’s Continuing Competence Framework details the Law Society’s mandate to regulate the competence of lawyers and paralegals, provides an overview of how competence regulation has evolved to keep pace with regulatory best practices and identifies key themes that may inform new approaches to competence programs and requirements.

“A commitment to career-long competence is one of the hallmarks of a self-regulating profession,” said Teresa Donnelly, Treasurer of the Law Society of Ontario. “This term’s Board of Directors has set ‘competence and quality of service’ as one of its key objectives. I believe that licensees and stakeholders also see the value in this and will provide candid input and suggestions.”

“Thoughtful and frank input from the legal professions, big firms and small, solos and in-house, is vital to the work of the Task Force so that we can develop recommendations for the future which will achieve a balanced and proportionate approach to support lawyers and paralegals in maintaining their professional knowledge, skills and judgment, thereby ensuring their competence over the course of their careers,” said Bencher Sidney Troister, Chair of the Competence Task Force.

The Law Society has not made any decisions about the structure or content of an updated competence model. All input will be reviewed by the Competence Task Force as it assesses the effectiveness of the existing Law Society competence programs, considers which programs should continue, be modified or concluded and evaluates alternative competence programs to achieve regulatory objectives. The Task Force will finalize its recommendations to the Board of Directors and identify measures for ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the competence framework.

The Law Society regulates lawyers and paralegals in Ontario in the public interest. The Law Society has a mandate to protect the public interest, to maintain and advance the cause of justice and the rule of law, to facilitate access to justice for the people of Ontario and to act in a timely, open and efficient manner.


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