Lawyers Regulating Lawyers?

Lawyers regulating lawyers?

Written by: Alice Woolley and found at

Decision considered: Law Society of British Columbia v Laarakker Law Society of British Columbia Disciplinary Hearing Reports, September 21, 2011


A disciplinary decision by the Law Society of British Columbia does not fall within the usual mandate of ABlawg. It is not an Alberta decision, nor even a judicial one, and has no direct precedential significance for Alberta lawyers or courts. The decision warrants comment, however, because the threat it creates to the legitimacy of lawyer self-regulation applies to all Canadian law societies. Specifically, the misdirection in regulatory energy reflected by the decision of the Law Society of British Columbia in this case is something to which all Canadian law societies have shown themselves to be susceptible.

For the full article, click HERE.

Regulatory Issues in a Global Context

From The ABA Law Journal

Despite Globalization, Lawyers Find New Barriers to Practicing Abroad

Posted Nov 1, 2011 4:19 AM CST
By Anna Stolley Persky

For the full article, click HERE.


The Ethics 20/20 Commission already has signaled its intention to recommend amendments to the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct that would make it easier for lawyers from foreign countries to practice in U.S. jurisdictions, at least temporarily.

At the same time, however, the commission has indicated that, while it is considering the possibility of recommending some form of law firm operating structure that would involve nonlawyers, it does not intend to recommend that outside investment in law firms be permitted. The commission was expected to issue an initial draft recommendation on alternative business structures before the end of this year.

Alice Woolley: “Rhetoric and Realities … “

Alice Woolley, “Rhetoric and Realities: What Independence of the Bar Requires of Lawyer Regulation”

For the full paper available on SSRN, click HERE.


The Canadian legal profession is largely self-regulating. Provincial law societies governed by lawyers elected by their peers set the standards for admission to the profession and for ethical conduct, and investigate, prosecute and adjudicate allegations of professional misconduct by lawyers. Advocates for this regulatory structure rely on the concept of “independence of the bar,” the idea that lawyers must be free from any external interference with their representation of clients. Critics of the regulatory structure, meanwhile, argue that independence has a broader meaning than the advocates suppose and that, in any event, the self-regulatory structure of the Canadian profession is not necessary to ensure independence. Continue reading

Unauthorized practice and access to justice

Great post by Alice Woolley on how regulating the unauthorized practice of law may lead to injustice on  From the introduction:

Unauthorized practice and access to justice

Written by: Alice Woolley

Case considered: Lameman v Alberta, 2011 ABQB 396

The Beaver Lake Cree Nation have commenced an action against the federal and provincial Crowns claiming that their treaty rights have been infringed by the Crown “taking up so much of their traditional territory that [they] have no meaningful right to hunt, trap or fish” (Lameman v Alberta, 2011 ABQB 396, para 12). The Crown brought applications to strike the Nation’s actions, the hearings in respect of which were adjourned on the basis of the Nation’s impecuniosity.

The full post is available at and accessed if you click HERE.

Article: Self-Regulation of Legal Profession in Canada

You should care about how lawyers are regulated

Written by Gail J. Cohen Posted Date: June 01, 2011, for the Blog of Canadian Lawyers and Law Times

Posted: 01 Jun 2011 09:38 AM PDT

Original piece posted HERE.

The self-regulatory system for lawyers in Canada needs an overhaul, University of Calgary law professor Alice Woolley argues in a paper  released today.

There has been some (really not enough) debate in the legal profession in Canada about the future of self regulation. There are critics who call for it to be abandoned entirely and have the courts regulate and discipline lawyers as is done in many U.S. states. Continue reading