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News

Friday, May 04, 2012

Printable Version

In this issue:
Message from the President: Benchers Amend Trust Safety Rules, Delivered Final ADLS Report and Adopted Justicia Project.
Past Economic Crisis Continues to Affect Insurance Program

Message from the President: Benchers Amend Trust Safety Rules, Delivered Final ADLS Report and Adopted Justicia Project.

By Steve Raby, QC, President, Law Society of Alberta

In their April meeting, the Benchers approved Trust Safety Rule amendments, delivered the final ADLS Report and adopted a new Justicia Project.

Trust Safety Program
In response to feedback received last year, the Benchers approved amendments to the Trust Safety Rules and also introduced a new Rule that a lawyer or law firm must not benefit from trust money in a trust account.

The amendments to 119.3(4) and 119.43(1) refine the accountability of responsible lawyers and update the Rules around electronic banking deposits.

The Law Society has received and continues to receive feedback from lawyers about the Trust Safety Program. The Trust Safety Committee will consider further changes to the Program based upon such feedback. Lawyers are encouraged to email comments and suggestions to Trust.Safety@lawsociety.ab.ca  by May 11, 2012.

Alternate Delivery of Legal Services
The final report of the Alternate Delivery of Legal Services is being delivered to all stakeholders involved in the project, and to the Minister of Justice. The report is posted on the Law Society’s website at www.lawsociety.ab.ca.  

Phase I of the Justicia Project Approved
Created as an Access to Justice strategy, the Retention and Re-Engagement Task Force has been researching the issues affecting the retention and re-engagement of lawyers in the private practice of law.

The Strategic Directions Report of the Law Society’s Access to Justice Committee identified the need for a Task Force to enhance access to justice for Albertans by developing programs and policies to retain and re-engage lawyers in the private practice of law.

The Task Force recommended that the Law Society introduce and phase in the Justicia Project in Alberta. The Benchers approved Phase 1: 2012-2013 consultation and engagement plan for national law firms to implement the Justicia Project in Alberta.

By way of background, the Justicia Project in Ontario was introduced by the Law Society of Upper Canada in 2008. It has brought together over 55 law firms in Ontario committed to sharing best practices, developing resources and adopting programs to support women lawyers in private practice. In Alberta, Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP has volunteered to support the introduction and implementation of the Justicia Project in Alberta.

 

Past Economic Crisis Continues to Affect Insurance Program

By Anne Kirker, QC, Bencher and Chair, Insurance Committee and Lisa Sabo, Director, Alberta Lawyers Insurance Association

Insurance Levy set for 2012/2013 Year
The Benchers have approved the ALIA Insurance Levy for insured lawyers in the amount of $3,300 plus GST for the 2012/2013 policy year.

In 2011, the Alberta Lawyers Insurance Association (ALIA) continued to feel the adverse effects of the 2008 economic crisis. An above-average number of claims were received while the organization strived to fulfill its goal of becoming a model insurance program in alignment with the Law Society of Alberta’s vision of becoming a model regulator.

ALIA has continued to see increased claims in the real estate area, where the claims volume doubled between 2008 and 2010. While those numbers have started to come back down, the reduction in real estate claims was offset in 2011 by an increased number of claims in matrimonial and family law, as well as estate planning and administration. The insurance levy represents an actuarial calculation of funds necessary to cover claims costs for the coming year and includes the premium paid to CLIA of $828 per insured lawyer. The levy is also impacted by ALIA’s return on investments which has also been impacted by the economic downturn, resulting in less available money to subsidize the insurance levy. The combined effect of increased claim costs and loss in investment income has resulted in the modest increase in the insurance levy paid by all Alberta lawyers in private practice.

Payment Due on July 3, 2012
The levy is due July 3, 2012. Payments may be made in two installments. This will be indicated on the insurance invoice which will soon be mailed to lawyers.

Please note that lawyers who have paid claims in the past five years will pay surcharges in addition to the set levy.

Exemptions from the Levy
Exempt active lawyers are insured at no charge for Pro Bono services provided through:
• Volunteer Lawyers Services program,
• Calgary Legal Guidance,
• the Edmonton Community Legal Centre,
• the Central Alberta Community Legal Clinic,
• Lethbridge Legal Guidance,
• the Children’s Legal and Education Resource Centre, or
• Grande Prairie Legal Guidance.

Purchasing excess coverage
The Law Society also recommends that firms consider purchasing excess coverage for additional protection.

Applications are available on the Canadian Lawyers Insurance Association (CLIA) website at www.clia.ca or by calling Melissa Laslo at ALIA at 403-930-7211 or 1-800-661-1694.

As the value of client matters and transactions increases over time, so does the need to secure adequate levels of errors and omissions insurance.

Note on Claims Reporting:
It is strongly recommended by ALIA that practitioners take steps to prevent claims. Preventing claims remains the most effective way of controlling costs of the insurance program.

Missed limitation claims continue to be a steady area for claims reported to ALIA. Frequent errors are found in a failure to enter the limitation date in the firm’s system or a mistake in entering the date. It is important for all individuals involved in a file to ensure important dates have been entered into the firm’s limitation system.

It is a requirement of the ALIA policy that all claims or potential claims be reported to ALIA during the policy period. Please ensure that any claims or potential claims are reported to ALIA on or before June 30, 2012.

Be Aware of Fraud
Please continue to check the Law Society website and read the EBulletins and Advisories for information on fraud and how to prevent fraud. If you have been targeted by any fraud scams, please send an email to ReportingFraud@lawsociety.ab.ca.

 

Law Society of Alberta

2011 ALIA Annual Report Available On Line

The 2011 ALIA Annual Report can be viewed on the Law Society website at www.lawsociety.ab.ca.

 

Student Recruitment Dates

The 2012 recruitment period will be June 4 to June 15.

An employer may, any time after the commencement of the recruitment period, give notice to a student
that it intends to make an offer of employment. However, employers may only make offers of employment on June 12, 13 and 14 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Those offers must remain open for acceptance until 12:00 noon the following day. An offer of employment may be made at any time after the recruitment period.

 

Understanding the Challenges Internationally-Trained Lawyers Face

The Law Society of Alberta will be investigating the challenges internationally-trained lawyers face in entering the legal profession in Alberta.

Internationally-trained lawyers who are seeking to practice law in Alberta can face a variety of challenges along the way from successfully completing the requirements stipulated by the Federation of the Law Societies of Canada’s National Committee on Accreditation, finding articles, completing the bar admission course, passing the bar exams in Alberta and then becoming integrated into the legal community.

The Law Society seeks to better understand these challenges and has engaged Charis Management Consulting Inc.to assist with this investigation.

Anyone interested in our work is encouraged to contact Jocelyn Frazer, Equity Ombudsperson at toll-free 1-888-229-4769.

 

Lawyers Invited to the 2012 Canadian Public Health Associations’ Annual Conference

Public and environmental health professionals, researchers, policy-makers, academics and students will meet June 11-14, 2012 in Edmonton for this annual conference.

The 2012 theme is 'Public Health in Canada: Creating and Sustaining Healthy Environments'. One of the main themes is the built environment which may be of interest to environmental, human rights, civil and corporate law lawyers and anyone associated with housing and landlord/tenant relations.

Dr. David Suzuki, co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation, will be the keynote speaker for the opening plenary on June 12 at 9:00am.

Information is available at; www.cpha.ca.

 

Printable Version

www.lawsociety.ab.ca
Law Society of Alberta
Calgary Office
Suite 500, 919 11th Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta T2R 1P3
Phone: 403-229-4700

Edmonton Office
Suite 800, Bell Tower
10104-103 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 0H8
Phone: 780-429-3343

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