This Week in Legal Ethics – Upcoming Ethics Continuing Professional Development

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LegalEthicsBannerBy Melanie Hodges Neufeld

Over the next few months, the Law Society is presenting fantastic legal ethics CPD events (one even free). Please check them out and register soon!

Select Dinner: Access to Justice

Thursday April 21, 2016 (Saskatoon) | Wednesday April 27, 2016 (Regina)
This program is exclusive to practitioners with 25 years or more at the bar and qualifies for 1 CPD Hour which also qualifies as Ethics
Speakers: Tom Schonhoffer, Q.C. & Gerald Tegart, Q.C.

The issues are succinctly laid out in the seminal Access to Civil and Family Justice: A Roadmap for Change report which states: “There is a serious access to justice problem in Canada. The civil and family justice system is too complex, too slow and too expensive.” Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin of the Supreme Court of Canada, agrees observing that, “options [for the middle-class] are grim: use family assets, become their own lawyers, or give up.” To further complicate this scenario, many Canadians face additional obstacles to justice – such as language, education, mental health, addiction and cultural literacy.

Webinar: Staying Out of Hot Water – How to Avoid and Address Law Society Complaints

Monday April 25, 2016 – 12pm to 1pm
Qualifies for 1 CPD Hour, which also qualifies for Ethics

No lawyer wants to receive that infamous envelope from the Law Society marked “Personal and Confidential”. Regardless of whether a Complaint filed against you has any merit, you are often required to respond to it to explain why it has no merit, which takes valuable time and resources away from work you’d rather be doing. It can also cause stress, anxiety, and potential conflict with clients or other lawyers.

The Law Society is happy to assist you to avoid these unpleasant circumstances by offering a number of tips and best practices to reduce the chances that a complaint will be filed against you. Advice will be provided on best practices for addressing a complaint, should one arise despite your best efforts. These suggestions are based on years of accumulated data which shows that there are a number of specific and consistent issues underlying many of the complaints received and considered by Complaints Counsel.

Presenters Valerie Payne and Stacey McPeek are Complaints Counsel with the Law Society of Saskatchewan (Ms. Payne since 2012 and Ms. McPeek since 2015). They, along with Donna Sigmeth, Q.C. (Deputy Director of the Law Society of Saskatchewan), are charged with the initial consideration of all complaints made against lawyers practicing in Saskatchewan.

Free Webinar: Exploring a New Regulatory Approach: A Conversation About Entity Regulation

Wednesday May 18, 2016 – 12pm to 1pm
Qualifies for 1 CPD Hour, which also qualifies for Ethics

The practice of law and the public’s demands for legal services are changing. Driven in part by new technologies, new business models and access to justice concerns, the delivery and regulation of legal services have begun evolving around the world. In light of these changes, the Law Societies of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are rethinking the way we regulate the profession. In collaboration, we are examining a spectrum of regulatory tools that includes entity regulation, proactive compliance-based regulation and alternative business structures to determine which, if any, might be effective in our jurisdictions. A discussion paper and accompanying abstract were co-authored by representatives of each of these law societies to explore and assess these new regulatory approaches being used around the world in various forms.

The Law Society is commencing a consultation in April to provide members with the opportunity to offer their input on how regulation might change in the Prairies. This webinar will further the conversation, enabling members to hear from Benchers of the Law Society of Saskatchewan and pose questions about the contemplated changes.

The webinar will be presented by Benchers Gerald Tegart, Q.C. and Brenda Hildebrandt Q.C. Gerald and Brenda are the Law Society of Saskatchewan Bencher representatives on the Prairie Law Societies Task Force, which will review the consultation results and develop recommendations respecting regulatory changes for the Benchers of all three law societies to consider. Gerald works as a Consultant in Regina while Brenda practices Health Law out of Saskatoon.

Annual General Meeting featuring a Multi-Jurisdictional Panel Discussion on Innovating Regulation

Thursday June 16, 2016 (Saskatoon)
Qualifies for 2 CPD Hours, all of which qualify as Ethics

The Law Society of Saskatchewan is considering making some changes to the way it regulates the profession. The Law Society will begin consultation with the membership regarding entity regulation in April, 2016. If adopted by the Benchers, entity regulation would be an additional regulatory tool that would direct some aspects of regulation at the entity a lawyer practices within, such as a law firm or other business unit.

This initiative is a collaboration between the three Prairie provinces, which began with an exploratory discussion paper on these topics and the topic of alternative business structures, which is something the Law Society would consider at a later date, if an entity regulation scheme was put in place. You can find more information on this initiative on the Law Society of Saskatchewan website at the following link: Innovating Regulation.

We are privileged to have a highly knowledgeable group of Benchers from three jurisdictions’, plus the President of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, joining us at this event to discuss entity regulation from their perspectives.

Herman Van Ommen, Q.C. chairs the Law Society of British Columbia’s Law Firm Regulation Task Force, and Ross Earnshaw is Chair of the Compliance-based Entity Regulation Task Force for the Law Society of Upper Canada. Both Ross and Herman are well positioned to offer insights on the many issues surrounding entity regulation, having been heavily involved in their Law Society’s research and consultation initiatives. Jeff Hirsch is President of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada and offers the national perspective on this issue. The Prairie Law Societies Innovating Regulation Task Force is represented by our own Bencher, Gerald Tegart, Q.C., who is Chair of the Access Committee for the Law Society of Saskatchewan. Brenda Hildebrandt, Q.C., who is also part of the Prairie Law Societies Innovating Regulation Task Force, and Past President of the Law Society of Saskatchewan, will moderate the session.

This session will include ample time for questions and comments from attendees as the Law Society seeks to engage the membership with this important development in the profession. At the conclusion of the discussion cocktails and live music will commence with time for networking with panel members, colleagues, and members of the bar. Dinner will be served shortly thereafter as the music continues, and the business matters and awards presentations will conclude the evening.

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