Law Society of Ontario Approves New Competence Framework

At its May 2022 Convocation meeting, the Law Society of Ontario approved a new competence framework. As reported by the Law Society:

“The new Competency Framework includes the creation of a practice essentials course which will be mandatory for lawyers or paralegals within one year of setting up as a sole practitioner for the first time. This will take effect as of January 2024. The approximately 30-hour online course will set new sole practitioners up for long-term success by focusing on foundational practice and business management topics.

As part of the new framework the Rules of Professional Conduct and the Paralegal Professional Conduct Guidelines will be amended to adopt the Federation of Law Societies of Canada Model Code of Professional Conduct commentary (Section 3.1-2) regarding technological competence.

The Law Society requires licensees who are practising law or providing legal services to complete 12 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Hours each year. Currently, there is a six-hour limit on archived or recorded CPD programs that are eligible for credit each year. The new framework waives this limitation.

The new framework also calls for the wind-up of the Certified Specialist Program (CSP). Licensees who are currently Certified Specialists may use that designation until Dec. 31, 2022. The Indigenous Legal Issues specialization will be continued subject to any future recommendation made by the Equity and Indigenous Affairs Committee to Convocation regarding the specialization.”

In November 2021, CALE/ACEJ submitted feedback in the consultation for this new competence framework. In its submissions, CALE/ACEJ took the position that, among other things, mandatory CPD should be retained for licensees and that the Federation of Law Societies of Canadian Model Code of Professional Conduct commentary on technological competence should be adopted.

2022 CALE/ACEJ Conference: Call for Presentation Proposals

The next annual CALE/ACEJ Conference will be held October 20-22, 2022, hosted by Bora Laskin Faculty of Law at Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario. This conference is planned to take place in-person.

Proposals are invited for presentations on either teaching legal ethics or research and scholarship about legal ethics and professionalism. The latter includes research relating to the regulation of the profession.

We invite anyone interested in presenting on a topic to contact us. We welcome proposals from junior scholars and from those working on legal ethics outside the academy. The eventual format of the presentations will depend on, among other things, the number of proposals we accept, but we expect that each presenter would have about 15-20 minutes plus time for questions. There is no need to have a formal paper accompanying your presentation: slides or oral remarks alone are fine. You need not have a finished product: works in progress are welcome.

One of the reasons for asking for proposals at this early stage is that we understand that for some of you it can be easier to obtain institutional funding to attend the CALE/ACEJ conference once you have been accepted as a speaker. We therefore aim to communicate acceptances as soon as we can so that you can leverage that acceptance to obtain funds.

For teaching, please respond to Andrew Flavelle Martin (andrew.martin@dal.ca) and David Rosenberg (drosenbe@lakeheadu.ca) by June 30, 2022.

For research, please respond to Richard Devlin (richard.devlin@dal.ca) and Phil Lord (plord@lakeheadu.ca) by June 30, 2022.

Lawyer experiential training program enhancements (CALE/ACEJ submissions)

The Law Society of Ontario has invited interested parties to provide views on mandatory minimum compensation for experiential training for lawyer licensing candidates. Today, CALE/ACEJ sent a letter to the Law Society with our submissions, which can also be found below.

CBA-FLSC Ethics Symposium

This year’s CBA-FLSC Ethics Symposium will be fully virtual and will take place on Friday April 8.

There will be panels on (1) Lawyer Competence: Reconciliation and Working with Indigenous Peoples; (2) Ethics and the Financial Arrangements between Lawyers and Clients and (3) The Law Societies as Regulator – Developments in Self-Regulation. More details and registration information can be found at the link below.

CALE/ACEJ Feedback to the Law Society of Ontario Competence Task Force Consultation

The Law Society of Ontario is currently asking for comment on its regulation of post-licensure competence for legal professionals. This Call for Comment, found here, closes on November 30, 2021 and the relevant background report prepared by the Law Society of Ontario’s Competence Task Force can be found here.

There are many topics and issues addressed in the background report. CALE/ACEJ has submitted feedback today on the topics of (1) CPD and (2) Technological Competence. Our feedback in full can be found here:

CALE/ACEJ Lifetime Achievement Award 2021

CALE/ACEJ is delighted to announce that Justice Alice Woolley has been chosen as the recipient of the CALE Lifetime Achievement Award for this year.

Justice Woolley was one of the founding directors of CALE/ACEJ in 2012, which held its first official meeting at ILEC IV in Banff in 2012. In 2012, she was appointed Vice-President of CALE/ACEJ, a position she held until 2015, when she became President. Justice Woolley resigned from her role as President in January 2019, following her appointment to the bench.

In her roles with CALE/ACEJ, Justice Woolley helped to promote and connect the Canadian legal ethics community to the broader international legal ethics community. Her hard work and skillful leadership led to the successful hosting in 2012 of the fifth biennial International Legal Ethics Conference in Banff, Alberta – the first and only time this conference, which attracts hundreds of legal ethics scholars from around the world, was held in Canada. Her participation in international conferences and workshops, in addition to her role as President of the International Association of Legal Ethics built further bridges between the Canadian and international legal ethics communities.

As an academic, Justice Woolley’s contributions to legal ethics scholarship are quite significant. In addition to numerous law journal articles, Alice is the author of the important text, Understanding Lawyers’ Ethics in Canada and the co-editor and co-author of the leading casebook on legal ethics in Canada, Lawyers’ Ethics and Professional Regulation. As one of the authors of a supporting reference letter to her nomination for this award stated: “Only a very few scholars on the international scene have comparably broad and ambitious research interest” and described her “scholarship to be sharp, rigorous, and above all utterly intolerant of platitudes and lazy thinking.” As another referee summed up: “In terms of ‘re-defining’ the field, Justice Woolley is recognized as the most prominent, influential and prolific modern legal ethics scholar in Canada.”

In her role as a legal educator, Justice Woolley was a leader in bringing problem-based learning to the teaching of legal ethics and in innovating with a “flipped classroom” model. Her dedication and skill in teaching was recognized institutionally at the University of Calgary, with her two-time receipt of the Howard Tidswell Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence.

Importantly, Justice Woolley did not confine her public service and intellectual contributions to only the academic sphere. While an academic, she wrote 100 blog posts on ABlawg and Slaw between December 2007 and July 2018 which engaged with a variety of legal ethics and judicial ethics questions and were widely read by lawyers and lawyer regulators in addition to academics.

On more personal notes, her referees wrote, among other things “one of Alice’s signal qualities as a scholar, which is her lack of ego and her unfailing generosity regarding the work of others” and that “through all of her incredible professional efforts and accomplishments – Justice Woolley has remained a grounded, modest and reliable friend.”

This award is meant to “to recognize sustained accomplishments in the field of legal ethics and professionalism by a member of CALE/ACEJ”. Through her leadership with CALE/ACEJ, her academic scholarship and public service, Justice Woolley is extremely deserving of this recognition. To use the words of one of the referees for this award: “I cannot imagine a member of CALE, or in fact any member – past or present – of our Canadian legal ethics community who better fits this description.”