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October 22, 2020

Malcolm Mercer appointed as Chair of the Law Society Tribunal 
Malcolm Mercer has been appointed Chair of the Law Society Tribunal, effective November 16, succeeding David A. Wright. The Law Society Tribunal is an independent adjudicative body that hears and decides regulatory cases about Ontario lawyers and paralegals.

Contingency fee reforms
The lawyer and paralegal conduct rules and the paralegal guidelines were amended to implement transparency requirements previously approved in principle by Convocation as part of its recommended reforms to Ontario’s contingency fee regime. The rule amendments complete the implementation of the new contingency fee regime, which comes into effect July 1, 2021, and which also includes amendments to the Solicitors’ Act and new regulation, O. Reg. 563/20. The reforms are intended to enhance transparency and consumer protection and facilitate access to justice. The Law Society is developing resources to support lawyers and paralegals. Full report. See also the Contingency Fee Reforms page for more information.

Lawyer licensing process enhancements
Enhancements to the experiential training component of the lawyer licensing process, approved in December 2018, are on hold and will not be implemented by May 2021 as originally intended as a result of new priorities that have emerged since the onset of the pandemic. Full report.
 
Fee structure for licensees over 65 and life members
Convocation agreed to remove the annual fee exemption for life members (licensees who have practised law in Ontario for 50 years or more), excluding those licensees who as of January 1, 2021 have met the requirements for life membership. By-law amendments are required to implement the fee structure change. Convocation also approved by-law amendments to establish a new fee category, at ten per cent of the annual fee, for licensees over 65 who are no longer practising law or providing legal services. The by-law amendments implement, with modifications, proposals for strategic change approved at August Convocation. The proposed fee structure changes were modified following feedback from licensees and further consideration by the Professional Regulation Committee. Full report.

Other decisions:
 
Law Society Tribunal Practice Directions amended
Human Rights Monitoring Group request for intervention approved

Agenda

Agenda

Reports

Consent Agenda - Motion

  • Confirmation of Draft Minutes of Convocation – September 24, 2020
  • Motion – In Camera Appointments
  • Human Rights Monitoring Group Request for Intervention

Financial Update (Oral report)

Professional Regulation Committee Report

  • Amendments to Rules of Professional Conduct re: Contingency Fee Reforms
  • Fees and Filing Exemptions for Licensees Over 65 and Life Members

Paralegal Standing Committee Report

  • Amendments to Paralegal Rules of Conduct re: Contingency Fee Reform

(Please refer to the Professional Regulation Committee Report)

For Information:

  • Amendments to the Paralegal Professional Conduct Guidelines

Tribunal Committee Report

  • Law Society Tribunal Practice Directions

In Camera Report

Treasurer’s Report (in camera)

REPORTS FOR INFORMATION ONLY

Audit and Finance Committee Report (in camera)

Equity & Indigenous Affairs Committee Report

  • Reports of the Activities of the Discrimination and Harassment Counsel

Professional Development and Competence Committee Report

  • Update on Licensing Enhancements
The Law Society held a virtual Convocation meeting on Thursday, October 22. Here is the link to the webcast.
 
Licensees, members of the media and the public are welcome to view the public portions of Convocation via the Law Society’s webcast. While audio recording is permissible for note taking purposes only, the webcast or video archive of the proceedings may not be captured, recorded or distributed for any purpose. 
 
Terms or Concepts Explained