Newsletter of the Canadian Bar Association (BC Branch)
What's Going on in the Courts? Public perceptions and frontline realities
December 1997 Voi.9•No.6
INSIDE President's Message
Executive Director's Column
Builder's lien Act
The Kelowna Project
Lawyers in the Community
Career Placement Offices
Q&A: Young Lawyers
Evolution of the Courthouse
Outside the Lower Mainland in BC call us TOLL FREE:
rontpage headlines over the past month or so have featured items such as: "Justice system in a jam", "Court funding in 'crisis"' "Clogged courts mean thousands could evade justice, judge warns", "Case dropped due to delay". What lies behind those headlines is a complex story with many different perspectives and opinions, and only one clear consensus: there are problems in today's court system which are making the timely administration of justice a difficult sometimes impossible -pursuit.
Last year, the provincial courts handled an astonishing number of new cases: 120,000 adult criminal cases, 40,000 civil cases, 20,000 young offender cases, 20,000 family law cases and 2,000 child apprehensions. Chief Judge Robert Metzger has stated that the courts in Coquitlam, Surrey, Abbotsford, Kamloops and Prince George have reached the "breaking point" and judges are already staying charges because of delays. All this despite a record number of cases being diverted from trial by virtue of innovative changes such as disclosure court and the successful mediation of 100,000 civil lawsuits outside of the courtroom since 1991.
Although the issue has been simmering for Over-booked courtrooms months, recent media The media coverage of the and long delays are coverage was sparked courts "state of crisis" impeding the ability of by a memo from Judge continues to feed into the lawyers and their clients William MacDonald, public's perception that administrative judge for the justice system is to ensure a timely Surrey, to Associate the very society it failing resolution of their cases . Chief Judge Dennis was established to protect. Schmidt of the Everyone has their Provincial Court of BC. grievances and pet The letter said that there was a one-year delay theories for who or what to blame for the for a one-day criminal trial and a 16-month current situation: "the Government is not delay for a civil trial in Abbotsford provincial putting enough money into the system", "too court - some of the worst delays in the many courts have been closed", "judges are not province. In light of the Askov ruling, this has exerclSlng enough discipline in their once again raised the specter that haunts many courtrooms", "some lawyers are unprepared or · involved in the court system- serious cases use every trick in the book to delay", "Legal Aid being thrown out because of undue delay. funding schedules encourage people to make multiple court appearances", "courtrooms are Abbotsford is not alone. Throughout the double and triple booked", "the Charter of province, over-booked courtrooms and long Rights and Freedoms has significantly delays are impeding the ability of lawyers and lengthened trials". There is no end to fingertheir clients to ensure a timely resolution of their cases. Continued over
What's Going on in the Courts? Continued from page I
pointing on all sides of this issue. The real question, however, is what to do to make it better right now. Attorney General Ujjal Dosanjh, in consultation with Chief Judge Metzger, has agreed to provide some emergency support as of January 1, 1998, in the form of four new judges with the necessary staff and facilities resources; $300,000 per year for three years to retain ad hoc judges to address criminal backlog; the establishment of a criminal case management task group under the direction of Associate Chief Judge Schmidt; and the establishment of a joint justice planning committee to prepare an action plan to address the issues of delay and backlog. And beginning in January, the Trial Overflow Programme administered by the BC International Commercial Arbitration Centre will begin offering arbitration options to civil litigants whose cases are "bumped" due to lack of court facilities or available judges. The CBA will be actively involved in the work of the criminal case management committee. A task group of lawyers has been appointed by the Chief Judge, in consultation with the CBA
and the Law Society, to provide their input and expertise to the task of: 1. Examining the way criminal cases flow 路
through the Provincial Court, from charge to disposition. 2. Making recommendations to ensure that each court event is timely and meaningful, and that court events are scheduled realistically and occur as scheduled. Individual lawyers, Bar Associations and CBA Sections are encouraged to provide written submissions by January 5, 1998, to the Chair of the Committee: Associate Chief Judge Dennis Schmidt Office of the Chief Judge 501 - 700 West Georgia Street Vancouver, BC V7Y 1E8 Alternatively, you can contact the following Task Force members with your ideas and concerns: Greg Rideout, Q.C., Joanne Challenger, Jack Olsen, Bill Smart, Q.C., Ravi Hira, Mark Benton, Nancy Phillips and Sandra Watson.
Arbitration Centre Open For Business The BC International Commercial Arbitration Centre has established a new fee structure for those who choose to proceed to arbitration rather than litigation. The commencement fee for claims or counterclaims of up to $50,000 is $500; for those over $50,000 the fee is $1,500. An administration fee, disbursements and fees of the arbitration tribunal are extra. As part of the Centre's new approach, their Rules for
Domestic Commercial Arbitrations are being revised and simplified. Lawyers are welcome to review these Rules and provide their comments and suggestions to: Peter Grove, CA, Executive Director P.O. Box 27 Suite 1140 - 1090 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, BC V6E 3V7 Phone: 604-684-2821 Fax: 604-684-2825.
BarTalk Vol. 9
Honouring Our Own
Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay
CBA (BC Branch) President 1997/98
t the Bench & Bar Diimer held in against us, the judiciary, and the justice system Vancouver on November 20, as a whole. It would appear that the media is 1997, I had the honour of spurring on the public to embrace vigilantism, presenting Allan Bate, Q .C. with forgetting that an independent judiciary ensures the kind of freedoms that our veterans the Charles A. Goyer, Q.C. Memorial Award recognizing his exceptional fought wars for . Letters to Editors I wrote contributions to the legal profession and to recently on this subject, to both the Vancouver jurisprudence in BC. The accolades that poured Sun and the Nanaimo Daily News, made into the Branch revealed that ii1 his 46 years at "Letter of the Day" . No doubt because I the Bar, Al has won the admiration and awe of engaged in some retaliatory bashing of m y colleagues from around the Province and the own. Yukon through courtroom skill and keen intellect, but mostly because of his unfailing We know who we are, and we know what we can do. We know what it takes to be a lawyer: professionalism and the imparting of his the lectures, the studying, the books, the long guidance and wisdom to those fortunate enough to work with and against him. He S.C.C. decisions, the billing pressures, the CLIENTS! We know lawyers are very publichandled difficult, serious criminal matters for the Crown for many years with intensity, but minded, and spend countless volunteer hours advising community groups, Boards, and also with integrity, diligent hard work, and Government. We know, that for the most part, compassion. He was truly interested in the we do a hell of a job for the colleagues he came into people we act for. Most contact with, always people think their own recognizing that the "other We know, that for the lawyer is great; ii:' s the other guy" was a lawyer, just most part, we do a guy's lawyer who's a jerk. like him. He pretended he hell of a job for the The Kelowna Pilot Project couldn't hear, he rolled his people we act for . results tell us, however, that eyes, he wore the same the most effective measure - vest for 46 years, and would wax long at times in dismay . . . "our we can take to improve our image is to improve own forensic Eeyore." He's the kind of lawyer our relations one-on-one with the consumers of we all want to be when we grow up! Bate lived legal services, our clients. That's a concept most of us can understand. the last many years in Prince George, and is now retired in Chemainus. Bate is well-loved. BUT, do we display our respect for one another We should all be proud to share a profession and for ourselves in our daily professional dealings? Do we demonstrate our pride in our with an outstanding man such as Al. The truth chosen profession? Do we make it known that is, our profession is made up of many exceptional men and women. What a shame we take to heart, and live by, high professional that lawyer and judge bashing has reached the standards in our daily practicing and community life? I am not suggesting a "Lawyer status of spectator sport- entertaining for the Pride" parade or a Million Lawyer March, but armchair observer; extremely damaging for the real-life players. I am not speaking of "lawyer it may come to that. Let's make sure that we stand up for ourselves and each other. Al Bate jokes", the best of which are told by lawyers. has proven you can be both a successful lawyer Once we lose our sense of humour, we lose ourselves. I am, however, referring to the and a human being. Let's start there. seemingly constant media barrage of criticism
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S COLUMN
Making a Difference
Executive Director, BC Branch, Canadian Bar Association
hanging the world. Making a difference. For so many of us in the law, those phrases have defined how we began, how we dream~d about ourselves, why we chose the Law. Noble ideals, these ... noble beliefs, that this profession, this Calling, if you will, can shape and alter the way society lives, can lift the oppressed, encourage the defeated, enlighten the ignorant, can make real the notions of democracy and civilized coexistence. Didn't we all believe that, or at least hope for it? Don't we still, really? For many of us, many years down the road and immersed in daily living, swamped in billable hours demands, making mortgage payments, harassed by worry and responsibility, it's hard to see that we've made any difference at all. Maybe we reflect on that subject and think "Well, I sure didn't change the world after all . .. it's far from perfect, I've just been working, practising, carrying on." It's difficult to see, sometimes, how the world is better off because we've passed through. But this Calling has changed the world irrevocably and dramatically. Yes, sometimes the increments are less evident, sometimes more . .. but these ideals of ours have not been misplaced. Our forebears, the first lawyers, were invariably the peacemakers . . . the mediators, if you will. Intercessors who forestalled violent conflict and chaos . They built consensus among the people about conduct and the way we would live together . . . setting down and interpreting the terms of that consensus, that social contract. They made it possible to resolve grievances and settle conflict without force, so that societies could begin to evolve and move forward, to find ways to work together for the common good. That hasn't changed. Who writes the treaties that keep nations from one another's throats? Who makes it possible to settle disputes in the rational forum of the courts? Lawyers. Who gave us the Bill of Rights, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms? Lawyers. Who gave us our human rights codes, the laws that protect all of
us from the predators among us? Yes, lawyers. Lawyers. Who stands beside the wrongly accused in the face of the hostile mob? Who stands for the victims of discrimination? For the working family in a dispute with government or business? Who represents those very businesses or governments within a rigid code of ethics, sworn to fairness? Who have fought and continue to fight for the rights of women in the workplace? Lawyers! The list goes on infinitely. Who would dare say that the world is not a better place to be because of lawyers? Only a fool . .. Lawyers, all of us and each of us, change the world in some way, for the better, every day. Each time we explain a Will to a couple trying to protect their children's futures; each time we advance the case of a disabled victim of negligence for redress; each time we negotiate and draught a contract to cement business deals that will employ hundreds . .. we make a difference. We change the world, for the better, just as we dreamed we would. Oh, perhaps not at the barricades, perhaps not as visibly as the Jean Vaniers or U Thants, and perhaps not in ways that will leave our names engraved on monuments and written in histories . .. but very substantially and very meaningfully. And each time we take part in yet another Board or committee meeting for a national charity,. for the parent-teacher association, the community clinic . .. each time we volunteer, and we volunteer at rates like no other profession or occupation in this society, each time we use skills unique to us as lawyers for the good of our neighbors, this world becomes a little better. Our Calling gives us access to the levels of power and to the skills that make a complex society function, and our Calling is to give back, to use that knowledge and privilege for the greater good. The proof is all around us and we continue to do it. Making a difference. I'm fiercely proud to be a lawyer! BarTalk Vol. 9
Planning Poin.ts for Avoiding Probate Fees
uring a recent meeting of the Taxation Law Subsection, Gordon Funt of Fraser and Beatty discussed the new probate fee regime in BC and offered some planning points to assist in reducing this "tax." Mr. Funt noted that the recent rise in probate fees has transformed the charges for probate from a fee for government services to that of a tax for the collection of Provincial revenue. On the value of an estate in excess of $50,000 the rate is now 1.4%, an increase from 0.6%. With BC's large deficit and a reduction in federal transfer payments, probate fees may increase further. The legislative basis for probate fees is the Supreme Court Rules, which are made by the Lieutenant Governor in Council or, in other words, the Provincial Cabinet. Accordingly, it would be simple for the Government, by Cabinet order, to increase probate fees without public consultation or legislative debate. Probate fees apply to "the gross value of all the real and personal property of the deceased physically situated in BC that passes to the personal representative at the date of death". Accordingly absent administrative relief, liabilities are not deducted in computing the gross value of the estate subject to probate fees. PROPERTY PHYSICALLY SITUATED IN BC Probate fees apply to property physically situated in BC. This means that property situated in other parts of Canada, in the US or in other parts of the world may not be subject to BC probate fees. However, other jurisdictions such as Ontario have their own probate fees and the US has estate taxes which may apply to Canadian residents. The US estate tax can exceed 50% of the value of the US property and the Canada-US Income Tax
Convention does not necessarily provide protection from US estate taxes. The question becomes what property is viewed as physically situated in BC for the purposes of probate fees. Property is often classified as movable or immovable. An immovable located in BC will be viewed as "physically situated" in BC. Real property is the principle immovable. In addition, the Vancouver Probate Registry generally views the following types of movable property (including intangibles ) as physically situated in BC: • automobiles, if in BC • cash, if in BC • bank accounts, if bank branch is in BC • debts, if debt instrument is in BC • bearer bonds, if held in BC • bonds and debentures, if held in BC • Canada Savings Bonds, if held in BC • shares, if share certificates in BC • interests in partnerships or in businesses, if jurisdiction in which activities are carried on is BC • yacht, if located in BC • life insurance *, if policy in BC • RRSP, RRIF *, if payable or recoverable in BC (*Note that if the RRSP, RRIF or life insurance is designated to a beneficiary directly then those assets do not form part of the estate and probate fees are not levied on their gross value.) The views of those in Probate Registry often depend upon the particular facts. Mr. Funt reminded members that, in appropriate cases, the views of those in the Probate Registry can and should be challenged.
Continued over 5
Planning Points for Avoiding Probate Fees Continued from page 5
cross/sections Ar rhe Ocrober meering of rhe Labour Law Secrion. Geoffrey Crampron , Direcror, Collecrive Agreemenr Arbirrarion Bureau and Chair of rhe Employmenr Srandards Tribunal gave a very informarive presenrarion ro rhe members. He provided a comprehensive review of rhe pracrice and procedure before rhe Bureau and Tribunal. Members who arrended were also given helpful brochures and handours. To join rhis acrive Secrion and participare in furure meerings conracr rhe BC Branch office.
cross/sections welcomes news from any CBA secrion. If you've gar a srory ro rell, call Fran Hodgkins ar 687-3404 or 1-888-687-3404 if you 're ourside rhe Lower Mainland.
Unlike the Income Tax Act, there is no exemption or "roll-over" from probate fees on property left to a surviving spouse. As a result, if one spouse dies leaving all of his or her property to the surviving spouse and that spouse dies shortly thereafter the total probate fees will approximate 2.8% of the value of the property initially held by the first spouse. Similarly there is no roll-over provision for property left to children of the deceased. TENANCIES-IN-COMMON AND JOINT TENANCIES
Where a joint tenancy exists, the interest of a deceased joint tenant is extinguished and accrues to the surviving joint tenant. The deceased joint tenant's interest does not form part of his/her estate and is not subject to probate fees. Under a tenancy-in-common the parties hold distinct shares in the property and so on the death of a tenant-in-common the deceased's interest forms part of his I her estate. In the absence of a clear intention being set forth by the parties, whether parties hold property as joint tenants or tenants-incommon may depend on particular statutory provisions or on common law rebuttable presumptions. For example, under the Property Law Act, R.S .B.C. 1996, c.377 for land held in fee simple a tenancy-in-common will exist unless a contrary intention appears in the instrument creating the interest. Difficult legal problems may arise where the parties have a joint bank account i.e., either party is entitled to withdraw funds from the account. Special care should be taken to show evidence of whether a joint tenancy or tenancy-in-common is intended by the parties. To avoid probate fees, the simple answer seems to be to hold property in joint tenancy. However, life (and death) is not so simple. A number of income tax and estate planning issues require consideration. First, the transfer of property from sole
ownership to joint tenancy will trigger a disposition of at least a portion of the property and may give rise to a taxable capital gain and associated tax liability. If the transfer is to a spouse, the spousal roll-over provisions in the Income Tax Act may be available to defer the potential tax liability on the capital gain. The principal residence rules may also serve to reduce or eliminate the capital gain . . Even where a transfer of property from sole ownership to joint tenancy does not create a tax liability, the transfer may result in the application of the attribution rules under the Income Tax Act. Although income and capital gains from the property may be enjoyed by the joint owner, they may be attributed to the original owner for income tax purposes and taxed in his I her hands. Second, BC Property Transfer Tax may be triggered on the transfer of land with limited exceptions. Third, as a joint tenant's interest will not form part of his/her estate it will not pass according to the terms of the transferor's Will regardless of his I her wishes. This should be kept in mind in order that the transferor's overall wishes with respect to the passing of property on death are fulfilled . Finally, for income tax purposes a joint tenant's death will trigger a deemed disposition of his/ her interest. The deemed disposition may result in a tax liability for the deceased's terminal year with the tax paid from the deceased's estate . Consequently, the surviving joi~t tenant may enjoy the entire benefit of the property as a result of the right to survivorship while the tax liability is borne by the deceased's estate or, in practical terms, the beneficiaries under the deceased's Will who may have no interest in the property. LIFE INSURANCE, RRSP'S, RRIF'S
Under s . 48 and 49 of the Insurance Act. R.S.B.C. 1996, c.226, an insured may, in a contract or by declaration, designate a beneficiary to receive the insurance money. When this occurs the money does not form part of the insured's estate and, accordingly, is not subject to probate fees. BarTalk Vol. 9
The Law and Equity Act, R.S .B.C. 1996, c. 253, allows the owner of a RRSP, the annuitant, to designate a person to receive benefits payable under the Plan in the event of the annuitant's death. The designation must be in accordance with the terms of the registered plan to be effective. Furthermore the designation must be in writing and signed by the annuitant, or contained in the annuitant's Will. If there is a valid designation the RRSP will not form part of the deceased' s estate and will not be subject to probate fees. Similar provisions exist for RRIF' s. (See s. 49 and 51 of the Law and Equity Act.) GIFTS A common planning technique is to give assets to your intended beneficiaries prior to death.
Unlike the US, Canada has no gift tax . However, a gift will be subject to income tax to the extent that the fair market value of the asset exceeds its cost. A broad exemption is available for gifts to spouses and certain other limited exemptions may be applicable. PLANNING Joint tenancies, beneficiary designations, transferring assets to other jurisdiction to avoid BC probate fees, setting up a living or intervivos trust may also be used as effective planning techniques to reduce the impact of or to avoid probate fees . However, any plan to avoid probate fee s must be examined in the context of the person's overall testamentary wishes and potential income tax consequences.
1997/98 BC Branch Sections Have you
registered? • Participate in one or many of the 64 Sections throughout BC • Stay on top of recent legal developments • Provide input into substantive issues addressed by your Section • Meet and mingle with
Major Changes to Builders' Lien System Robert Jenkins of Jenkins Marzban Logan summarized the major changes to be implemented by the introduction of the new Builders' Lien Act. Slated to come into force in the Fall of 1997, the Act will have a significant impact on the construction industry. MULTIPLE HOLDBACK SYSTEM The 10% holdback will be retained but the single holdback system currently in effect will be replaced with a multiple holdback system similar to that in other provinces. Under the new system, the maximum amount which can be recovered by all lienholders claiming under the same contractor or subcontractor is the greater of the 10% holdback retained from the person retaining them or the amount due to that person by the owner or contractor, as the case my be. This amendment will be appreciated mostly by the general contractors. THE HOLDBACK TRUST ACCOUNT There is no current requirement for an owner to secure the holdback which comes due 40 days after completion. Under the proposed Act, the 10% withheld from each payment must be deposited to a joint bank account and maintained until the holdback is due. Failure to
deposit the funds will be deemed to be a default of payment by the owner entitling the contractor to possibly stop work or terminate the contract. There will most likely be an exemption for projects having a value of less than a certain amount.
lawyers practising in your area of law • Join now by calling Fran Hodgkins. A form will be faxed or mailed.
Call 687-3404 or toll-free 1-888-687-3404 outside the Lower Mainland
PROGRESSIVE RELEASE OF HOLDBACKS Instead of holdbacks for the work of all subcontractors being retained until after completion, those finishing work early, such as excavators, framers, form work etc., will be able to receive their holdbacks 40 days after completion of their contracts or subcontracts. There will, in most cases, be a requirement for a payment certifier. There will therefore be a need for certification of substantial completion of the individual subcontracts which may or may not be well accepted by the consultants. There will be more work and more judgments required, but presumably they will be able to charge an additional fee for the individual certifications. This provision is intended to get payments earlier to the persons who performed the work and reduces the length of time the holdbacks for certain trades are retained.
Continued over December 1997
Major Changes to Builders' Lien System
clearly for a grossly exaggerated amount. LIABILITY FOR WRONGFUL FILING OF A LIEN
Coiltinued from page 7
The times within which all categories of lien claimant may file liens will be common and will be linked to completion of the contract or subcontract under which they worked . Substantial completion will be defined in relation to the estimated cost of completing the work or correcting deficiencies. The formula to be adopted will likely be something to the effect that if the building is completed to such an extent that it is suited for its intended purpose and the cost of completing the work and correcting deficiencies is less than say, 3% of the value of the work up to a total of $250,000, plus 1% of the remainder, it will be deemed to be substantially completed. Also anticipate a requirement to post, in 2 conspicuous places on site a notice of substantial completion of each of the subcontracts and the head contract. According to Mr. Jenkins, you should also expect the filing times to be extended from the current 31 days from substantial completion to a period such as 45 days with a corresponding extension of the holdback period. This change is to satisfy those working or supplying material towards the latter part of individual contracts or the project whose invoices commonly are not due until 30 days after completion. The object here will be to find a system which is simple and common to all potential claimants.
The new Act will include a section with words such as, "one who knowingly files or causes an agent to file a false statement in Form 3 commits an offence and is liable to a fine not exceeding $2,000 or the amount by which the stated claim exceeds the actual claim." CONSULTANTS' LIENS
The holdback sections will not apply to agreements with consultants. STRATA LOTS It is likely the filing limitations of the
Condominium Act will be repealed and replaced with legislation permitting liens to be filed within 31 days of occupancy of strata lots. PARTICULARS
The right of lien claimants and owners to information from each other will be expanded, including entitlement to particulars of mortgages and money advanced. THE OWNERS TRUST It can be anticipated that a trust obligation, such
as now imposed on contractors and subcontractors by Section 2 of the current Act, will be implemented. Effectively, all sums received by an owner "for the purpose of making a payment or payments on account of the price of improvements" will be trust funds. PRIORITY OF LENDERS It is not anticipated there will be any substantial
CLEARING TITLE OF LIENS
The procedure to post security for liens by payment into court (currently section 33) will be clarified and the court will be permitted to order security in an amount less than the claim of lien. It is anticipated the ability to cancel a lien on posting less that the amount of the claim will be cautiously exercised by the courts . It appears to be intended to cover obvious duplication and cases where hardship could develop for an owner where a lien is 8
change to the priorities of registered mortgages but the implementation of the holdback trust account will be of interest to the banks. Banks generally want to ensure enough funds remain to be advanced to cover the costs to complete. CAUTION
In closing Mr. Jenkins cautioned lawyers to be aware that the courts decided that the old Act did not always mean what it appeared to say. The same may well happen under the new Act. BarTalk Vol. 9
Lessons From .the Kelowna Project Client relations, not advertising, makes the difference long time ago, in a land far away. 3. To expand business opportunities for lawyers and increase public confidence in To many who remember "The Kelowna Project", this may seem the legal profession by encouraging an apt introduction to the final lawyers to follow business practices which result in better service to clients. report on the Project initiated more than two years ago. However, the The details of the project are outlined in a resulting conclusions are anything but a fairy report which is available by contacting the BC tale. For the first time, we have legitimate, B.C.-based data to support what many had Branch office, and will not be outlined here. suspected all along: advertising is not the 90s The results and conclusions, however, are shared below in order to "fix-it" solution 路 to ensure that every lawyer negative public opinion To retain market share, in BC has the about lawyers. It's opportunity to learn good, old-fashioned lawyers must from the lessons of customer service that communicate well with Kelowna. makes or breaks the their cli ents, and complete relationship between the job quickly and RESEARCH RESULTS lawyers and the public smoothly from the client's we serve. First, follow-up research point-of-view. among consumers shows The Kelowna Project that the advertising was initiated in the campaign had minimal impact on public context of an aggressive negative media opinion or behavior. This is supported by campaign by the BC Society of Notaries Public. The BC Branch and the Law Society co- existing research by organizations such as the sponsored the Project, and the Kelowna Bar Queensland Law Society and the Petroleum committed their energy and time to being the Resources Communication Foundation, which found that institutional image advertising pilot participants. requires hundreds of thousands of dollars . The Project included a combination of committed over an extended period of time, in advertising, public relations and client order to have an impact. Even then, public sentiment toward a group or industry drops relations initiatives, designed to meet the back down to pre-advertising levels once the following three objectives: campaign is stopped (ever wondered why 1. To test the impact of a proactive public Coke and Pepsi spend so much on awareness campaign on public attitudes advertising?). and behavior toward using the services of lawyers as opposed to non-lawyer service Second, while consumers surveyed in this pilot acknowledge the strengths of lawyers, i.e., providers. their expertise and experience, they are still 2. To provide the public with general more likely to use a notary when they perceive their legal matter to be uncomplicated. They information about lawyers and the legal profession, including the different roles do not perceive a differentiation in played by lawyers in the various kinds of competency on simple matters, and they view legal work they undertake on behalf of notaries as a cheaper alternative. clients. Continued over
Lessons From the Kelowna Project Continued from page 9
Follow-up research with Kelowna law firms indicated that the Project had minimal impact on their methods of marketing. However, a significant 40 per cent said that the Project changed the way in which they deal with clients . Most notably, when asked what should be emphasized in a project like this one, lawyers ranked client relations as the number one area of emphasis. CONCLUSIONS
While advertising is a useful vehicle to build "top of mind" awareness, the most significant factor that influences public attitudes toward lawyers is the clients' total experience in relation to how they are treated, and the level and quality of overall service they receive. Communicating positive messages about
lawyers to the public will be ineffective and could, in fact, be highly damaging, if the client's experience is contrary to what has been promised in advertising. Lawyers clearly need to place more emphasis on marketing their skills and expertise, and on building positive working relationships with their clients, if they hope to retain market share fo r legal services and improve the overall image of the profession. WHERE TO FROM HERE?
The BC Branch Communications Committee will be taking a closer look at the Kelowna Project results, and will be suggesting ways for the CBA to act on the information to the benefit of Members. Individual lawyers interested in looking at ways to improve client relations, can contact the Branch office to request a copy of the Client Care Kit which was used by law firms involved in the Project.
CBIA Term Life Insurance
"Apples vs. Oranges"
Recently CBA BC Members have received, from the John Robinson Group, a term insurance cost-comparison. The quotation targets two specific ages for large amounts of insurance and at first glance the alternative plan appears attractive. Closer examination reveals an invalid comparison in the following areas: Waiver of premium
• Included in the Bar Plan- In the event of disability beyond six months, all future premiums are waived as long as the disability continues. • Not included in the alternative quotation - If added to the alternative quotation, the comparison becomes more valid and less attractive. Cost Comparison
• Shown for the first 10 years only • 11th year onward (not shown)- The alternative quotation cost increases by 446% while the CBIA Plan increases 60%. For a complete and valid comparison, including total premiums paid on both plans, contact Eric Mass, the CBIA Authorized Representative at (604) 688-8790 or fax (604) 688-8106.
BarTalk Vo l. 9
Embezzlement and Fraud A sampling of suggestions to protect ourselves
Every thing ofbeautt;, Comes shining thru in your eyes And all that is you becomes part of me too 'Cause all you do seduces me Words : Dan Hill, Music: Dan Hill and John Sheard, i:ecorded by Celine Dion
David J. Bilinsky is a partner at Lakes Straith & Bilinsky and a principal of Integral Management Inc. He can be reached on the Internet at email@example.com
ou come into the office only to be told that the bookkeeper is still ill and is off for the third day in a row. Odd, can't recall the last time she was off ill. In fact, you can't recall when she last took holidays, either. One of your most dedicated workers. Usually first in the office in the morning, and not quick to leave at the end of the day, either. Oh well nothing to be done but bring in a temp - can't keep things hanging on hold waiting for her to get back on her feet. Later that morning the temp from the agency arrives, and starts at work with the deposits. She brings back the monthly bank statement and cancelled cheques from the bank, because she was told that the bookkeeper usually picks them up rather than having them sent in the mail. The temp then starts on the monthly general chequing account reconciliation. An hour later, there is a discrete knock on your door. Seems that the temp has a few questions about trying to post a couple of cheques. The payee names on the two cheques doesn't seem to match any accounts on the computer. Odd. Your bookkeeper also points out that the cheque amounts seem to match amounts overdue to suppliers, but the cheques are not made out to the suppliers. You don't recognize the payees, either. · Your next call is to your accountants, to come in and assist the temp to straighten things out. They send someone over and they start to
work. A few hours later again there is another discrete knock on your door. Seems there is a problem with cheques being made out to unknown parties ... Seem too far fetched? This situation actually happened. The bookkeeper had worked out quite a system . First she would take in cheques payable to legitimate suppliers to be signed by a partner. Second, the bookkeeper would then put one or two cheques into a correcting typewriter and change the payees name. Third, the altered cheques were deposited into an account maintained by the bookkeeper. Fourth, when the bank statement and cancelled chequ.es were ready at the bank, the bookkeeper would pick them up, take the bogus cancelled cheques, put them back in the typewriter and change the payee's name back to the legitimate supplier. Then it became a game with the supplier of "yes we paid you", "no you didn't" that the bookkeeper could keep going indefinitely. The loser was the law firm that had thousands of dollars syphoned off by a trusted employee. What can we do to protect ourselves against employee embezzlement and fraud? Here is a sampling of suggestions put forward in this area: • Obtain a stamp that goes onto each invoice that has areas for date received, date paid, cheque number, signing officer's initials and file #. Have the original. invoice presented at the same time as signing the cheque, and initial the invoice as well as the cheque. Keep the invoices in the same order as the cheque numbers. • Divide and Conquer: Have a different person do the bank reconciliation from the person
Practice Talk Continued from page I I
who prepares the cheques. Have your accountant do so once in a while (unannounced). • Obtain a Protectograph, and use it. At least then the amount of the cheque cannot be altered . . • Control the cash. Don't write cheques to "cash". Use petty cash vouchers and reconcile them as you would cheques and bank statements. Deposit cash incomings immediately. • Know your employees. Watch for signs, such as too opulent a lifestyle or too desperate a one, or perhaps for signs of drug abuse. Don't ignore potential signs of trouble. • Do you have employees who seem to hide stuff? There are documented cases where employees hid bills, cheques, letters etc. This may be due to a fear of being caught not having done all their work (which is a sign of a different problem) or may be their way of covering the loss of monies that were intended to pay those bills. • Watch for employees who never take holidays. What may be taken as dedication to the job could also be a need to keep things under cover at all times. • Use a single-write system (manual) or a law-society approved computerized one (that maintains a journal system that cannot be back-dated). • Don't let employees sign cheques, and require signatures from two partners who must initial the cheque requisition (and invoice). • Remember that the busier you are, the more likelihood there is that you will delegate these tasks as being routine. This is OK provided that you have in place the systems and checks and balances that ensure that temptation is not given the opportunity to be turned into trouble. • Keep an eye out for those for whom gold may glitter a little too seductively. After all, it was Oscar Wilde who said "I can resist everything but temptation."
The author wishes to ackn"owledge the assistance of Ian Doddington C.A. and Gayle Meyers of The Law Society of British Columbia and Roger G. Nickel, C. A. in the preparation of this article.
BarTalk Vol. 9
tablishing a system for property tax exemptions for conservation covenants in relation to riparian property and allowing a development plan to include policies to protect the natural environment,
ACTS IN FORCE
This feature is a continuing part of the Branch Legislation and Law Reform program.
.You wi ll see a reference in some cases to the number of the Bill when it was intro-
Forests Statutes Amendment Act, 1997, S.B.C. 1997, c.48, (Bill 47), amends the Forest Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c.157, streamlining tenure administration and making housekeeping amendments and amends the Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act,R.S.B.C.1996, c.159, streamlining decision making and approval processes. sections 12, 26, 30, 33(a), (b), and (d), the part of section 44(g) that substitutes paragraphs (a)- (c) of the definition of "higher level plan" and sections 46, 47, 48, 49 and SO(b) of the Act in force October 16, 1997; section 28 of the Act in force effective April 21, 1997 Local Government Statutes Amendment Act, 1997, S.B.C. 1997, c.24, (Bill26), amends the
duced in the House. This number may be different
from the chapter number of the new Act which is quoted after the title of the Act and which is the proper citation for the Act. The Bill Number has been given to you to 路 make it easier for you to note up the Bi lls you may have in your library. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided to you in this article but the information should not be relied upon. Lawyers should refer to the specific legislative or regulatory provision.
Municipal Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c.323, establishing a system for municipal and regional district tax exemptions for conservation covenants in relation to riparian property, allowing official community plans to include policies respecting and to designate development permit areas to protect the natural environment, preventing a development variance permit from being issued if it would result in an adverse impact on the environment, providing municipal authority to control runoff, allowing local governments to require landscaping for environmental purposes, providing increased authority in granting development permits to proteet the environment and adding wild fires as a specified hazard for which development permit areas may be established, permitting local governments to require development approval information in areas established in an official community plan, and providing for the payment of a security deposit to repair damage to the natural environment that has occurred contrary to a development or other permit, and Vancouver Charter, S.B.C. 1953, c.55, es-
and makes consequential amendments to. the Islands Trust Act and Taxation (Rural Area) Act. in force October 20, 1997 Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, 1997, S.B .C. 1997, c.27, (Bill 22), amends the Employee Investment Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c.112, expanding the definition of eligible business to include partnerships and cooperative associations, deleting the requirement that an eligible investor work at least 20 hours per week and adding definitions of eligible security and investee business, making approval of additional equity by the administrator discretionary, broadening the types of eligible investments, allowing lending and acquiring of securities involving an affiliate or associate which is an eligible business and expanding the types of permitted investments. sections 11 - 22 of the Act in force October 16, 1997 Traffic Safety Statutes Amendment Act, 1997, S.B.C. 1997, c.43, (Bill41), amends the (a)
Motor Vehicle Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c.318, expanding the range of debts for which ICBC may refuse to issue a licence, number plate or permit, and
Insurance (Motor Vehicle) Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c.231, providingthatinjuryordeath caused by acts of violence are not covered by automobile insurance and that persons committing such acts of violence are liable for the full amount of any damages caused, and removing references to "ownership" as a cause of injury, death, loss or damage, permitting ICBC to refuse, cancel or limit insurance coverage to a person who is indebted to the government or ICBC in certain Continued over
Legislative Update Continued from page /3
WHEN YOU NEED HELP... Lawyers in AA meetings a) Every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at Christ Church Cathedral, in Vancouver. b) Every Thursday at 12:30 p.m. at the Lawyers Assistance Program office, 4151080 Mainland Street, Vancouver. c) Every Thursday at 5:45 p.m.
cases and providing collection remedies.
REPORT AVAILABLE sections 1, 6(d) to (g), 13, the part of section 51 enacting s.19.1 of the Insurance (Motor Vehicle) Act, sections 52, 53, 54(b) and 55 except the part enacting s.30.1(1)(j) of the Insurance (Motor Vehicle)Act in force October 1, 1997
Report - First Interim Report by the Royal Commission on Workers' Compensation in BC (Contains recommendations for occupational health and safety and the regulatory review proPLEASE NOTE: Builders Lien Act, S.B.C. 1997, c.45, (Bill38): The Ministry of Employment and cess.) Investment issued a press release on October 31, 1997 saying that the act will take effect this fall, but without s.4.7, which would have allowed home purchasers to withhold 10 per cent of the purchase price.
Source- Royal Commission on Workers' Compensation in BC office - 1-800-522-0312 or in Vancouver 660-0130; Internet address: www .bcroyalcom.org
in New Westminster. For in formation on location, call
REGULATIONS TO NOTE
Women lawyers support group Meets first Wednesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. at the
Family Maintenance Enforcement Act, B.C. Reg. 346 I 88, the Family Maintenance Enforcement Act Regulation is amended, providing attachment exemptions for non-deductible 路 maintenance.
LAP office at 415-1080 Mainland Street, Vancouver.
B.C. Reg. 344/97 effective November 1, 1997 Insurance (Motor Vehicle)Act, B:C. Reg. 447 I 83, the Revised Regulation (1984) under the Insurance (Motor Vehicle) Act is amended pre. scribing the deductions, tax credits and premiums for the definition of "net income loss" in s.52 of the Act, expanding the provisions for the enforcement of unpaid debts owing to ICBC and deleting references to indemnification by ICBC for liability due to ownership of a vehicle.
Branch Calendar January 1998 - April 1998 january 7, 1998 February 4, 1998 February 7, 1998 February 25, 1998 March 6, 1998 March 6-8, 1998 March 25, 1998 April21, 1998 April21, 1998 April 22, 1998 April25, 1998
Executive Committee Meeting Executive Committee Meeting Provincial Council Meeting Executive Committee Meeting Solicitor's Forum National Mid-Winter Meeting Executive Committee Meeting Nominations for PresidentClose Nominations for Election to Provincial Council Mailed Out Executive Committee Meeting Provincial Council
B.C. Reg. 328/97 effective October 1, 1997 Securities Act, B.C. Reg. 351 I 97 is made, bring into effect National Instrument 32-101, entitled "Small Securityholder Selling and Purchase Arrangements". effective December 1, 1997
BarTalk Vol. 9
LAWYERS IN THE COMMUNITY
Leslie Pinder Author, poet, political negotiator "While she came from an age where everybody wanted to change the world, she has effected change," says Chief Manny Jules of the Kamloops Band. "It's rare that you get to work with someone like Leslie." Leslie J. Pinder began life in Elrose, Saskatchewan and at 21 moved to Vancouver. She graduated from UBC Law School in 1976. In the late 1970s, Leslie worked on native land claims issues for the Union of BC Indian Chiefs as in-house counsel, where she met Chief Manny Jules of the Kamloops Band. "I remember her having lots of red hair," Jules says of his friend. "We got along great." Max Wyman of the Vancouver Sun met Leslie about 20 years ago at the party of a mutual friend . Max, immediately impressed, says she was "very quick, funny, smart, extremely clever and witty." In 1982, Louise Mandell and Leslie formed the law firm of Mandell Pinder. For the past 13 years the firm has worked exclusively for native people in Canada and has served for 20 years as general council to the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and other Bands in BC and Alberta. Although not native herself, Leslie is committed to helping native clients and organizations. "(Leslie) has a passion for having us be a just society", says Chlo Ostrove, who articled with the firm in 1981. "She's made a huge difference to the society we live in. The cases she's advanced have set precedents." Leslie worked with the Peigan Indian Band to resolve problems developing from Oldman River Dam. Leslie's firm worked to conclude a Memorandum of Understanding between the Band and the federal Minister of Indian Affairs . Leslie's work suits her well because "She's a valuable resource, not only to myself," says Jules, "but to a lot of native people." Her firm's mediation work has settled disputes between parties over hydro dams on tribal lands and the destruction of tribal fisheries . Mandell Pinder uniquely resolved an intractable dispute between greatly divided December 1997
parties. "The work she's done for clients has changed the relations between native and nonnative people," says Ostrove. In 1983, Mandell Pinder worked with Chief Jules and the Kamloops Indian Band on their proposal to amend the Indian Act-the first Indian-led initiative to change the Act. First Nations people created the amendment to avoid losing their jurisdiction over surrendered lands. Through their work the initiative ultimately became law, as Bill C-115 in 1988. Political negotiation is par for the course. Leslie worked with the Penticton Indian Band to develop an Interim Agreement with Apex Ski Resort that forged a new working relationship. Mandell Pinder also worked with the Spallumcheen Indian Band. They developed a by-law codifying rules that enabled the Band Council to take control over the care of their children." Mandell Pinder's bylaw work does not end there, "She helped draft by-laws that a lot of First Nations are using," says Jules.
We're looking for more outstanding lawyers If you know of a lawyer who has made a vital contribution to life in his or her community beyond the law, please call BarTalk Editor Caroline Nevin at 687-3404 or, if you're outside the Lower Mainland, call our toll free line
Leslie's contribution to the community extends past the Law. She has two published novels, Under the House, 1986 and On Double Tracks, 1990 (short-listed for the Governor General's Award for Literature in 1990). Almost with awe Wyman says, "it's wonderful how her work overlaps ... art and law, two incongruous areas." Leslie wrote the monograph The Carriers of No: After the Land Claims Trial, her personal account of receiving Chief Justice McEachern's judgment in the Delgamuukw case. With multiple reissues, the monograph is a UBC Law School text. Leslie's written achievements also include published short stories, poetry and an opera, described by Judith Forst in the Vancouver Sun as a "really grand opera that could be done on any major stage in the world."
"She's as sharp as a blade and has tremendous wit and humanity," says Wyman. Leslie is both friend and lawyer to her native clients. Her "key advice at critical times" and "brilliant mind" have made her an asset to those who, like herself, yearn for a just society. IS
Career Placement Offices LAW FOUNDATION GRADUATE FELl.OWSHIPS,
University of British Columbia
University of Victoria
This past September, UBC's Faculty of Law welcomed its first Career Placement Officer (CPO), Catherine Shaw. Together with Assistant Dean of Career Placement and Admissions, Robert Reid, and the student Articling Committee, the appointment of a CPO will complete the Career Placement Program.
The Faculty of Law at the University of Victoria has a new Career Placement Officer, Tara Richards . UVic Law's Articling & Career Placement Officer (ACPO), provides resources to both UVic law students and the legal community.
Most importantly, the Career Placement Office liases with law firms and legal employers across Canada. Employers seeking UBC Law students for articles, part-time work, research, government and summer employment are encouraged to contact the Career Placement Office. Email addresses, Internet addresses, and firm brochures from interested firms would be greatly appreciated.
The ACPO offers services to firms and organizations to assist in meeting their recruitment and career placement needs. A job posting service, incorporation of information in the resource library and database, collection of resumes, and interview facilitation are all services accessible through the ACPO. The ACPO is an efficient and effective link, connecting students with prospective employers and providing a centralized career development and placement resource.
Ms. Shaw offers workshops and lectures to students on subjects ranging from Interviewing Techniques to Business Development and Successful Articling, with the participation of many prominent Vancouver law firms . She also provides oneon-one counseling for students, updates the faculty website at http:/ /www.law.ubc.ca and will be creating a Career Placement website, which will incorporate links to law firms across Canada. Other functions include creating and maintaining a resource centre for student directories, firm brochures, and the like.
Ms. Richards identifies, establishes and maintains recruiting contacts with potential employers for UVic law students. In addition, she provides assistance to students with individual employment and career planning, job search strategies, and establishes stronger ties between UVic Law and the legal community. The ACPO provides centrally located information to UVic Law students on articles, summer employment, part-time and careers in government, public interest groups, labour and business, as well as the traditional practice of Law.
The Law Foundation of BC awards up to four graduate fellowships of $12,500 each on an annual basis. The next deadline for applications is January 5, 1998 for the 1998/ 99 academic year. To be eligible, an applicant must be pursuing full-time graduate studies路 in law or a law-related area at a recognized university in Canada, United States, or abroad . Applicants must be residents of British Columbia, or graduates of a BC law school, or members of the BC Bar. The Law Foundation Graduate
Fellowship is not available for the graduate program at UBC as the Law Foundation makes a separate grant to this program. Please contact the Law Foundation at 1340-605 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC, V6B 5J3 or call  688-2337 for an application form .
Ms. Shaw has an office in UBC's Faculty of Law, 1822 East Mall, Vancouver, V6T 1Zl. She welcomes inquiries by telephone at (604) 8220846, by fax at (604) 822-8108, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Tara Richards at the University of Victoria, Faculty of Law, PO Box 2400, Room 240, Victoria BC, V8W 3H7. Telephone (250) 472-4719, Fax (250) 721-8146, Email email@example.com
BarTalk Vol. 9
Straight Talk Froin New Lawyers To get some idea of what life as a new lawyer is like, we interviewed four young lawyers within their first or second year of call in BC. Two are practicii1g in large urban centres, two in smaller communities. All were guaranteed anonymity-these are men and women with their whole career in front of them, and we wanted to encourage frankness. What we found was a common concern that law schools may not be adequately preparing students for life in the "real" world. We will ask the two Deans of Law to respond to this in the next issue of Bar Talk.
What is the single biggest difference between your expectations when you first came out of law school, and your "real" life as a lawyer?
We expected more collegiality, a warmer relationship with fellow lawyers. It seems like some lawyers have difficulty separating their client's position from their own. The stress is a big one: not the quantity - we expected i t - but the fact that it's unrelenting. More people are depending on us to do well there's a severity of consequence we have to deal with that goes way beyond how well we might do on a particular law school exam.
why you want to go into it. We know people who have worked in law firms in reception or corporate records, to get some sense of what it's really like. Volunteering is another way to get some experience.
What advice would you give to the law schools about preparing students for the realities of being a lawyer?
We need more practical courses. We get out after articling, and we're officially able to do anythingbut the reality is that some of us have never learned how to do a conv~yance, or draft a will or contract. It's one thing to be taught the case law, but you need the applied basic skills as well. Focus more on file management and the day-to-day realities of being a lawyer. We need the procedural stuff - we come out with a heightened sense of what it is to be a litigator, but we're lacking in practice management.
How many hours a week, on average do you work? It varies, depending on the law firm. Some of us
work 70 hours per week; but a week of 55-60 is more common.
Roughly, how much do you estimate you earn a month?
Again, it varies. Between $3,000 and $4,000 net seems most common.
What tips would you pass on to young people thinking about law as a career? Don't watch lawyers on TV and think that's realthe ratio of time you'll spend in court versus administrating paper is unbelievable. The practice of law is very administrative, and you need to make sure you really understand what it is and
Make sure the professors are very aware of the current practice of law. Or, get more practitioners involved in law school life. Otherwise you learn only from the academics; they're good to have too, but they're not in touch with the reality we're facing. Strengthen the links between law schools and the legal profession. Make it a credit requirement to spend time in a law firm or government lawyer's office.
What advice would you give to law firms who have articling students? Keep young lawyers interested, otherwise you'll lose them. Hook us up with the right lawyer in the area we're interested in. We can't keep being used as Continued over
Q&A Continued from page I 7
workhorses, and without some sense that sooner or later we' ll get to work on something interesting. Get us in contact with the clients as soon as possible; we' ll gain a better sense of what we're doing and w h y it's important to do it well. The big law firms have to get rid of their laissezfaire attitude; we're working hard for them, and they need to fulfill their obligations to us. There should be a mandatory ceiling on billable hours for new lawyers. If
the standard is 1600 a year, then make it something like 1400. That means four hours a week that we can then put into practice development and learn more of the skills we n eed to be better lawyers down the line. In the long run, those of us who are worked into the ground for the sake of billable hours are going to cost more - we'll be less organized, less methodical, less useful to the company in the long term. In the States, some firms have eliminated the billable hours requirement; they're focusing on client-based practice, and they're findin g that the lawyers actually work harder and more effectively on that basis.
Help support the Law for the Future Fund One billable hour from every member The Law for the Future Fund is calling on every member of the CBA to contribute one billable hour to the Hourglass Campaign. Since 1984, the Law for the Future Fund has helped finance more than 35 innovative and timely research projects, dealing with issues such as the independence of administrative tribunals, law and ethics in health care allocation, recodification of the Criminal Code, gender and racial equality, and the Systems of Civil Justice Task Force. To make your contribution, please complete this pledge card, cut it out and return it with your cheque, VISA or Mastercard number to the CBA at 50 O'Connor Street, Suite 902, Ottawa, Ontario, K I P 6L2. You will receive an official receipt in the mail.
Your support makes a difference.
Hourglass Campaign Pledge Yes, I support the Law for the Future Fund's
Hourglass Campaign. My gift is:$._ _ _ __
Date: _ _ _ __
Signature: _ __ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ __ The above gift is to be held by the Canadian Bar Law for the Future Fund for a period of not less than I0 years.
Payment: Enclosed is a cheque payable to the Canadian Bar Law for the Future Fund.
0 VISA 0 MASTERCARD Card #·_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Exp. _ _ _ __ Name: _ _ _ __ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ Address:_ _ _ __ __ _ _ _ _ _ __ Please return to: Canadian Bar Association 902-50 O'Connor, Ottawa ON K I P 6L2 Co11sfitut ed ns il body corpornle ami politic i11 accordnl!ce with the Cmmdn
Corporntio11s Act ami received Letters Pnteut 011 Nov. 30, 1984. LFFF is n registered cltnrity with Revenue Cmmdn No. 0692848·23-10 .
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BarTalk Vol. 9
The Evolution of the Courthouse Children and other vulnerable witnesses have greater than average difficulty testifying in court. Realizing that important testimonies can be hindered by the structure of the courts, the Child Abuse Committee of the Ministry of the Attorney General commissioned a study to determine how the courts can assist vulnerable witnesses in communicating their evidence more effectively. The resulting study, Court Design Issues affecting Children and other Vulnerable Witnesses Background Study and Guidebook, is now available. This valuable guidebook is a resource both for current and future BC courthouses. With a focus on making the courts more sensitive, the study sought design solutions and resulted in recommendations on numerous issues including, private entrances, signage (directional), special waiting areas, alternate approaches for testifying, and addressing security and privacy needs. Also addressed are troubleshooting recommendations, such as the central problem of preventing "uncontrolled confrontation" between witnesses, the accused and their supporters. Helping vulnerable witnesses give unhindered testin1ony helps everyone.
says the study has good advice for staff and many suggestions for dealing with vulnerable wih1esses. The guidebook and study are available to any interested party. To receive the guidebook, please contact: Ministry of Attorney General Communications and Education Division lOth Floor, 1001 Douglas Street Victoria, BC V8V 1X4 br Fax: (250) 356-9037
Built on the site of a notorious turn-of-the-century hotel, the Law Courts building recognizes its historic location and re-awakens Prince George's downtown area.
The Prince George courthouse was already built when the study was released, but its design has subsidiary benefits to vulnerable witnesses. "It's a fully secure building. Prisoners will not have the opportunity to contact witnesses before being on the stand," says Larry Cade, Senior Program Manager, Courts and Judiciary, Facilities Services Division, Ministry of Attorney General. The courthouse also has closed circuit television capabilities. Private entrances into the courtrooms could be accommodated, but are not yet built. Glazing takes Vulnerable witness groups, and organizations directly involved with policing, building or operating courthouses, received the study and guidebook. Mr. Cade December 1997
natural light from the atrium into courtrooms.
What Does the Future Hold for Solicitors? If you do any solicitor's work in your practice, mark this date in your calendar: Friday March 6, 1998. For a full day, we will be exploring the bright new future of solicitor practice- what it looks like, what it takes to get there, and what we can do now to make sure it happens. Designed along two broad themes - "New Markets, New Types of Practice" and "Strengthening the Role of Solicitors" - the event promises lively discussions and speakers. A concurrent event at the CBA Mid-Winter Meeting, this "President's Forum" at the Ocean Pointe Resort in Victoria is sponsored and organized by the BC Branch, with a minimal charge ($35) to cover a portion of costs. Registration information will be sent to all members early in the New Year. Anyone who is interested in finding out more about this Forum, or who wants to get involved, is invited to call the Branch office at 687-3404 to leave a message for Co-Chairs Margaret Ostrowski or Ken Jacques.
30 Years of LSLAP The UBC Law Students' Legal Advice Program is celebrating its 30th year of service to the community. During the past years, thousands of individuals have contributed untold hours to help the Program become BC' s second largest legal aid provider and Vancouver's largest "law firm". LSLAP spearheaders and heroes include Jerome Atrens, Michael Harcourt, John Stanton, Jim Pozer and current staff lawyer Brian Higgins. The Program is based on the concept of students providing help to those who need it the most. In 1968, one year after its inception, 25 students ran the Program and met with about 300 people in its office in the UBC Student Union Building. In 1969, a second group formed which would later merge with the SUB clinic to become what we know as LSLAP. Since its inception, LSLAP has grown tremendously and is a vital part of the legal aid system in BC. Recent reductions to Legal Services has made the survival of the Program
Brian Higgins, LSLAP's current staff la짜vyer
even more crucial. Last year, over 6,500 people sought help from LSLAP at one of the 23 community clinics, and the demand for the service continues to grow. The Program is grateful for the continuing and generous support of its sponsors: the Law Foundation; the Community Legal Assistance Society; the Federal Summer Career Placement Program; the BC Students Summer Works Program; the City of Vancouver; the District of North Vancouver; and the community centres who donate their space. With the continued assistance of these vital organizations, the Program looks forward to serving the community for another 30 years.
Thirty years deserves a celebration! Please join your colleagues and judiciary at the UBC Golf & Country Club on January 30, 1998. Tickets are $35 and are available by calling Jennifer Smith at LSLAP, 822-5791 (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Ticket purchase deadline is January 10.
BarTalk Vol. 9
Speak Up For Yourself Seminars can improve your marketability and credibility This is Part One of a Two Part Series on marketing services through seminars. Look for Part Two in the next issue of BarTnik. Some lawyers don't like public speaking. They are afraid someone will ask a question they can't answer or they fear other lawyers will criticize them if they make a mistake. An aversion to public speaking is understandable, but it shouldn't stand in the way of developing and presenting an effective marketing seminar. A seminar is a compelling marketing tool. You save a tremendous amount of time because you present information to many prospects at once. Seminars enhance your credibility, and you win new clients because prospects can talk with you in a nonthreatening, educational setting. After two or three trial seminars, you'll actually enjoy the spotlight because prospects will respond to your message eagerly. What's more, you'll be pleased to discover that the audience's questions are no different from the ones you field every day in your office.
attendees. Although I'm not in favor of discounting- if you have a competent marketing message, you should be able to get prospects to act now without lowering your fees-some prospects will find the promise of a lower fee persuasive. SUBJECT MATIER
People generally attend seminars because they want to understand "how to" solve a problem or achieve a goal. Write a short statement about what your seminar will explain; for example, "How to A void Probate," "How to Settle Your Accident Claim" or "How to Prevent Sexual Harassment Claims." TITLE
Because people are so pressed for time, the biggest problem is getting prospective clients to attend a seminar. Start by setting aside the long-term goal of gaining clients and focus on the short-term goal of filling your seminar with qualified prospects.
The title is the single most important part of seminar marketing. Take your subject statement and turn it into a powerful title. Numbers work well in enhancing a seminar's value: Prospects perceive "Six Ways to Prevent Business Claims" as more valuable than "How to Prevent Business Claims." Add words that emphasize your prospect' s risk. For example, "Six Ways to Prevent Costly Business Claims" or "Six Ways to Prevent Claims That Could Bankrupt Your Business." Risk-oriented titles usually attract more prospects than benefitoriented titles because the fear of loss is greater than the desire for gain.
Identify the audience you want to attract: business executives, senior citizens, accident victims, etc. Business executives' and professionals' schedules often prevent them from attending seminars. Offer to present your program at their office or to send them a free audio tape of your presentation.
Offer at least two seminars so prospects can select the more convenient time. Consumers prefer earlier in the week, while business professionals seem to prefer later in the week. Evenings are a good option, too, though many retired people prefer daytime seminars.
CREATING YOUR SEMINAR
Identify the services you want to market, then package them in an appealing manner. Some lawyers discount services for seminar
If you can persu ade a local library to sponsor your program, you will reduce your room costs and reinforce the perception that your Continued over
Speak up for Yourself Continued from page 2 I
program is educational. Make sure the library is easy to find and has ample, close-in parking. LENGTH
The longer you keep your prospect's attention, the more likely you are to win a new client. Ninety-minute programs are common. Even two-hour programs work well. Make sure your presentation is well-written and your information relevant. If people get fidgety, pause for a short break. TUITION
There's no question that prospects who pay to attend have a high interest level. Still, attempts to qualify prospects by charging admission often backfire. So before you decide whether to charge, consider the following: (1) What are alternative sources for information? (2) What does your audience expect? (3) How many people are in your target audience? RESERVATIONS
For free seminars, I recommend you not accept reservations. Typically, 50 per cent of the people who make reservations don't show up. On the other hand, some people discover at the last minute that they can attend. If they didn't make reservations, however, they may assume you won't have enough seats. OFFER
Make sure you offer something attractive to those who attend your program. A free followup consultation over the telephone or in person is a way to let your prospects know the next step you want them to take. You can hand out a fact sheet or questionnaire for attendees to fill out and turn in. After you review their cases, you can call them. PROMOTION, PROMOTION, PROMOTION FLIER
information you will present, the dates and places and a phone number to call for information. Make sure your flier is appealing to the eye and graphically strong so it seizes and holds your reader's attention. The more information you provide about your program's content, the more reasons people have to attend. Leave fliers at various places around the community, including the library where you'll hold the seminar. MAIL
Send your flier to everyone on your mailing list, including current clients, past clients, prospects and referral sources. Even if these people don't have reason to attend, they can pass your flier along to someone else. PUBLICITY
Send news releases to the media. Spell out the specific topics you will discuss and include a phone number. . ADVERTISING
Boost seminar attendance with paid advertising in whatever media best reach your target audience. Your ads should contain the same information as your flier. SPONSORSHIP
Often you can get added publicity by inviting someone to sponsor your program. If your seminar interests the business community, ask the chamber of commerce to be your sponsor, with the hope that it will send your seminar flier to all its members. Or you might seek sponsorship by a business newspaper that wants to attract new subscribers from your audience. When seeking a sponsor, emphasize the educational nature of your program. While many groups like to sponsor programs, they often hesitate to provide a forum for overt marketing. Reassure them that you will not sell anything.
This material was written by Trey Ryder and was reprinted with permission from the American Lawyer Magazine.
Your seminar flier should include your photo and biography, a detailed description of the 22
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So You've Been Invited to Become a Partner! The latest offering of the Young Lawyers' Conference, So You 've Been Invited to Become a PartnerA Canadian Bar Association Guide to Legal Partnership in Canada, was released at the CBA Annual Conference in Ottawa. "This practical guide - available in English and French - is aimed at those lawyers who are about to or who have recently become a partner in a law firm," explains Stephanie Tynan, of Saskatoon, Chair of the Young Lawyers' Conference. "It is written by young lawyers for young lawyers." The 77-page booklet, sponsored by Coopers & Lybrand, includes sections on accounts, incorporated practices, insurance and retirement. The book sells for $15 for members; $25 for nonmembers and can be ordered by contacting CBA Publications at 1-800-267-8860, ext. 156.
Guest columnists welcome If you'd like to comment on recent developments in the law or legislation, we'd like to
Volunteer Registry a Hit! We asked if you would be willing to volunteer your time and legal skills to the community- and you said YES! The Volunteer Registry has signed-up 153 lawyers so far, and the forms keep coming in. From all over the province, in large firms, sole practices, government offices and corporate boardrooms, lawyers have committed to help community groups in their area. Once the database has been established, community groups will be contacted to fill out a registration form outlining their requirements, and our "matchmaking" service will kick into gear, probably in the early New Year. Thank you to all who have said they'll be part of this program! If you want to learn more about it, or to ask for a Registry form, contact Sandra Webb, Communications Assistant, at the Branch Office.
hear from you. Please call BarTalk Editor Caroline Nevin at 687-3404 or, if you're outside the Lower Main-land, call our toll free line at 1-888-687-3404.
Video-conferencing Pilot Court Services Branch of the Ministry of Attorney General is working with the Supreme and Provincial Courts to install video-conferencing equipment in one courtroom each at Vancouver Law Courts and Prince George Law Courts. The installation is expected to be completed by January, 1998, and the pilot project and evaluation will be overseen by a committee consisting of judges, court administrators and a member of the Bar. It is expected that a successful pilot will mean an expansion of video-conferencing capabilities to other courtrooms. We'll bring you a full story on this topic in a future issue of Bar Talk.
Stop Right There! With the introduction of new traffic safety initiatives such as big-buck fines and red light cameras, it's tempting to nod your head when people complain of a Government revenue grab. But, before you do, think long and hard about the alternative: as a Bar, we fought a very tough battle to ensure that No-Fault was not introduced and that the tort system was not compromised. With ICBC's struggling financial performance, it's important that we support these new traffic safety initiatives and continue our efforts to get other initiatives off-the-ground. We need them to succeed, or we'll be facing No-Fault, Round Two, very quickly. Letters to the Editor are encouraged .. . we want to hear your views. Send your letter to: Caroline Nevin, Director of Communications and Public Affairs Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch lOth Floor, 845 Cambie St. Vancouver, BC V6B 5T3 Fax: (604) 669-9601 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org December 1997
Allan Bate, Q.C. Honoured at Bench & Bar Dinner At the November 20th annual Bench & Bar Dinner, among 240 friends, family and colleagues, Allan Bate, Q:C. was awarded the CBA BC Branch' s prestigious Charles A. Goyer, Q.C. Memorial Award For Distinguished Service.
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Surrounded by his wife, children and grandchildren, Mr. Bate listened as accolades and congratulations from across the province were read aloud by Branch President Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay during the presentation ceremony, beginning with the words of one of his nominators: "His humility is legendary, his experience, knowledge, wisdom, wit and humour are what we could all only wish for - he has shared willingly all of these qualities and more with every lawyer who has had the privilege of working with him." Known as a "lawyer's lawyer", perhaps the most fitting message of the day was provided in the following fax from a colleague: "Your character and competence have honoured the profession. It is most fitting the profession now honours you." Mr. Bate is well-known across British Columbia and the Yukon Territories as a compassionate, ethical lawyer with excellent litigation skills and "a heart of gold". A 1950 graduate of the University of British Columbia, Mr. Bate was called to the Bar in 1951. After two years in Vancouver, Mr. Bate began the first of five years of practice in the Yukon Territories. Upon his return to Vancouver, Mr. Bate was employed in the City Prosecutor's Office for five years, and then practiced in Kamloops, Vernon and, finally, Prince George. After 31 years of practice in Prince George, including 15 years as ad hoc Crown Counsel, Mr. Bate recently moved to Chemainus, B.C. The Charles A. Goyer, Q.C. Award was created to recognize exceptional contributions to the legal professions, to jurisprudence or to the law in British Columbia. The award was established in memory of Georges. A. Goyer, Q.C., a respected member of the BC Branch, who passed away after a courageous battle with cancer.
BC Online Update The CBA has provided Philip Halkett, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, with an extensive list of our concerns regarding the sale of an operating license for BC OnLine (see lead story in the October issue of BarTalk). Our 'concerns were further emphasized in a recent meeting between Mr. Halkett and Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay, Branch President, Ken Sarnecki, Chair of the Government Relations Committee, and Paul Scambler, our Victoria member involved in developing the CBA's response to this issue along with Tim Schober.
We have stated that we are opposed to the sale unless these concerns can be addressed to our satisfaction, and we consider the ball to be firmly in the Government's court at this time. Our information "on the ground" in Victoria suggests that there is political pressure to speed up the process of proceeding to finalize negotiations with bidders. We are concerned that there be careful consideration of the public policy issues at stake and we will continue to ensure that our issues are being addressed in Victoria.
FAX: (604) 669-960 I • BarTa lk Editor:
CAROLINE NEVIN, Director of Communications 687-3404 email@example.com • Legislation & Law Reform Officer: ANN MCLEAN (Victoria) (250) 598-2860 firstname.lastname@example.org • Section Talk Editor: SHELLEY BENTLEY, LL.B.
CIBC TRUST CORP. 665-!784 • Editorial Board MARGARET OSTROWSKI, Chair joE Wooo BARBARA BLUMAN BRUCE WOOLLEY
© Copyright the British
Columbia Branch of the Canadian Bar Association-1997.
This publication is intended for inform· ation purposes only and the information contained herein should not be applied to specific fact circumstances without the advice of counsel. The BC Branch of the Canadian Bar Association represents over 8,600 lawyers within British Columbia and is dedicated to improve and promote access to justice, to review legislation, initiate law reform measures and advance and improve the administration of justice.
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