APB News

Members of public to be among those to discipline lawyers

VANCOUVER – The Law Society has completed the selection process for members of the public chosen to sit on hearing panels that discipline lawyers and those that examine the fitness and character of a person applying to be a lawyer. This is the first time that people who are neither lawyers nor members of the Law Society board of governors will sit on the influential panels. Among the 20 people named to do so are a university professor, a retired social worker, a former forest industry executive, an architect, a band chief, and retired police officers.

This past spring the Society ran a province-wide ad campaign to attract applicants. Nearly 600 people from across BC applied. The screening and selection process was assisted by a third-party recruitment team. “We recognize it’s not enough to say ‘trust us,’” said Society president Gavin Hume, QC. “We need to be transparent to the public, and involving people who aren’t lawyers in our processes is one of the ways we’re demonstrating the Law Society’s commitment to maintaining public confidence.” One of the people selected is the former mayor of Sidney, BC, Donald Amos. “The number one reason I put my name forward is the opportunity to contribute to the community interest,” said Amos. “I felt with my background and work history I could make a positive contribution to the Law Society’s hearing process.”

Earlier this year, the Law Society took the first step toward broader participation in hearings by inviting lawyers who are not Benchers (members of the Society’s board of governors) to serve as members of a similar pool from which hearing panels are drawn. The Law Society of British Columbia regulates the more than 10,000 lawyers in the province, setting and enforcing standards of professional conduct that ensure the public is well-served by a competent, honourable legal profession. More information is available here: http://www.lawsociety.bc.ca/page.cfm?cid=2308&t=Members-of-public-will-be-among-those-to-discipline-lawyers