THOMAS CLARIDGE TORONTO
Benchers who in May began a
four-year term as governors of
Canada’s largest law society have
been shown a draft of what they
may decide are the top issues
they should deal with in the term.
The draft came in the form of
a report to the June Convocation
of the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) from its Priority
Planning Committee. Included in
the report was a “current work
plan” in eight priority areas.
The list was topped by the
challenge of maintaining high
standards and ensuring effective
competence by targeting entry-level competence, quality assurance (post-licensing competence)
and licensees’ quality improvement. The other seven areas were
discipline, including professional
regulation, efficiency of the discipline process, transparency and
functioning of LSUC tribunals;
access to justice; diversity within
the profession; small firms and
sole practitioners; paralegal
regulation; strategic communications; and governance.
The benchers were told that in
March 2007 Convocation
approved recommendations of a
Governance Task Force calling
for a full review of priorities for
achieving strategic objectives for
the law society, to be held at a
meeting of benchers soon after
each bencher election and
appointment of a Priority Planning Committee to assist in setting the priorities.
The committee was given a
mandate to recommend priorities for Convocation’s consideration and approval; review previously established priorities
and new policy issues that may
arise; recommend future priorities and report annually to
Convocation on the status of
A planning session in September 2007 identified nine
priority areas that were later
reduced to the current eight,
and a work plan was approved
in January 2009.
“The areas identified by Convocation in 2007 as priority areas
remained priorities throughout
the bencher term,” the report
said. “Many of them related directly to the core function of the
Law Society set out in s. 4.1 of the
Law Society Act to ensure that
lawyers and paralegals meet
standards of learning, professional competence and professional conduct that are appropriate for the legal services they
provide. These include discipline,
paralegal regulation, and maintenance of high standards and
ensuring effective competence.
“Others, such as access to jus-
tice and governance structure,
relate to the principles the Law
Society must have regard to in
carrying out its functions, duties
and powers, as required by s. 4. 2
of the Law Society Act.
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