The Advisory: Volume 9, Issue 1, March 2011

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About the Law Society’s Policy, Governance and Research Group

THE POLICY AND RESEARCH group manages policy development and related research for the Law Society in two ways.

Firstly, the group manages most policy initiatives leading to amendments to the Rules of the Law Society and guidelines. It also manages proposed amendments to the Legal Profession Act. Secondly, it manages special projects, research and initiatives such as the Alternate Delivery of Legal Services Project and the Continuing Professional Development Program.

The group is also responsible for Law Society governance; that is, ensuring that the Law Society conducts its operations in accordance with the principles of good governance and the highest level of business ethics. As part of its governance role, the group prepares the agenda and materials for Bencher meetings, and identifies appropriate policy and governance follow-up arising from decisions made at those meetings.

The group also monitors and advises on numerous issues related to the regulation of the legal profession, including such matters as selfregulation, solicitor-client privilege, and access to legal services.

Michael Penny, QC (left) Susan Billington, QC (centre) Nicole Woodward (right)

Led by Policy and Research Director Michael Penny, QC, the group includes Nicole Woodward, Policy and Governance Counsel; and Susan Billington, QC, Policy and Program Counsel. Michael brought 25 years of private practice experience to the Law Society when he joined in 2007. He was named Director, Policy and Research in 2009. Nicole was called to the BC Bar in 2003 and the Alberta bar in 2005, and practised as an Associate with a national firm before beginning with the Law Society in 2009. Susan was called to the bar in 1986 and joined the Law Society 16 years ago, becoming policy counsel in 1997. She has worked extensively on the Law Society’s policy file and was the first Executive Director of its centennial legacy project, Pro Bono Law Alberta.

The group is supported by: Kristin Clark- Brown, Assistant to the Policy Group and Practice Advisors; Cindy Derwores, Policy and Governance Assistant; Melody Rodger, Policy and CPD Assistant; and Gillian Archibald, Hearing Coordinator.

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