Federation News Archive - 2015

Federation of Law Societies of Canada Launches Interactive Model Code of Professional Conduct

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada has launched the Interactive Model Code of Professional Conduct, an online tool that links the provisions in the Federation’s Model Code to the matching or related rules of professional conduct in every law society in Canada. “This interactive tool will allow mobile lawyers, law society staff and leaders, academic researchers and others to quickly and easily find the enforceable rules in every Canadian jurisdiction using the national Model Code as the central reference point” says Federation President Jeff Hirsch. “Users will be able to isolate specific sections of the Federation’s Model Code and view the corresponding code of conduct of another jurisdiction.” The Federation’s Model Code was developed to harmonize as much as possible the ethical rules governing lawyers across Canada. It has now been implemented by ten Canadian law societies, is reflected in the Barreau du Quebec’s new Code of Professional Conduct and is under review in the remaining jurisdictions. The Interactive Model Code of Professional Conduct is available on the Federation’s website (www.flsc.ca) and can be accessed through a permanent link at: http://flsc.ca/interactivecode. You may also wish to consult the Federation's news release.

Federation names new President for 2015-2016

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada is pleased to announce that Jeff Hirsch has been elected President for 2015 - 2016. Mr. Hirsch is a partner with Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP in Winnipeg, practising in the areas of administrative law, commercial litigation, and professional negligence. He provides advice to self-governing professions as counsel to discipline and complaints committees, as a prosecutor and with respect to policy development.  He earned his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Manitoba and was called to the Bar of Manitoba in 1987. Mr. Hirsch joined the Federation Council as the representative of the Law Society of Manitoba in 2009. He  currently chairs the Federation’s Standing Committee on Access to Legal Services and represents the Federation on Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin’s Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters.  He is an advocate for and frequent lecturer on improved access to justice for all Canadians. Mr. Hirsch notes that in a regulatory world where the legal profession is increasingly mobile “there is a critical need for more national conversations and collaboration amongst Canada’s law societies”. The development of that collaboration and how it is carried out is part of the focus of the Federation’s current governance review process.  Mr. Hirsch believes that it is vitally important for the Federation to be responsive to the need for change. “As we complete our governance review, I am reminded that we must listen to our members and deliver the value they want from the Federation”. Mr. Hirsch served as a Bencher of the Law Society of Manitoba for seven years and as President in 2009 - 2010.  During that time, he chaired the Law Society’s Special Committee on the Independence of the Legal Profession, the Complaints Investigation, Discipline, Nominating and Equity Committees. For the past 10 years, Mr. Hirsch taught the Remedies course at the Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba. You may also wish to consult the Federation's News Release.  

New President Named For CanLII

The Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) and the Federation of Law Societies of Canada are pleased to announce that Xavier Beauchamp-Tremblay of Montreal is CanLII’s new President, effective August 10, 2015. The announcement was made jointly by Martin Felsky, PhD, JD, the Chair of the CanLII Board of Directors, and Tom Conway, President of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. Mr. Beauchamp-Tremblay obtained his law degree from the University of Montreal and was admitted to the Barreau du Quebec in 2007. Prior to joining CanLII, Mr. Beauchamp-Tremblay was an associate in the Montreal office of Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP. He practised in the areas of intellectual property and information technology law, with an emphasis on trade-mark and branding law.  Mr. Beauchamp-Tremblay completed his articles and began his career at Stikeman Elliott LLP where he advised clients in commercial litigation, intellectual property and insolvency law. An avid tweeter and blogger, Mr. Beauchamp-Tremblay has a keen interest in legal technology issues and the impact of technology and social media on legal practice. He is a frequent speaker on technology topics and gave talks at Canada’s Legal IT Conference and the American Bar Association’s Techshow. He has also written on the intersection of technology and the law. “I firmly believe that technology and online legal information will play an increasingly critical role in the future of the legal profession and in interactions among citizens, courts, tribunals and government”, said Mr. Beauchamp-Tremblay. “As CanLII’s new President, I am eager to play a pivotal role in this unfolding story”, he added. At Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP, Mr. Beauchamp-Tremblay played a central role in the development of Actifs créatifs, a blog providing clients with commentaries on various aspects of intellectual property law, and in the development of another ground-breaking technological innovation. “Xavier Beauchamp-Tremblay is an out-of-the-box thinker with a proven track record in creative problem solving, particularly in the application of technology to the delivery of legal services. We are very pleased that he will be leading CanLII at this important juncture”, said Tom Conway, the President of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. Mr. Beauchamp-Tremblay’s priorities as President include expanding CanLII’s offering of secondary materials and cultivating alliances with justice system stakeholders and other groups that share CanLII’s mission of providing free access to Canadian law and legal information. [caption id="attachment_3468" align="alignright" width="269"] Xavier Beauchamp-Tremblay, President of the Canadian Legal Information Institute…

SCC decision makes important statement about core legal principles

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada says the February 13th Supreme Court decision striking down certain provisions of Canada’s Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act and regulations pertaining to the legal profession, is an important statement about core principles that are at the heart of Canada’s legal system. “The court has recognized that a lawyer’s duty of commitment to a client’s cause is a principle of fundamental justice” says Tom Conway, President of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. “Canadians should be reassured by this decision, which upholds basic constitutional protection of individual legal rights.” The decision by the Supreme Court concludes a 14 year legal battle between the Federation and the government of Canada over application of the federal anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regime to lawyers and Quebec notaries. The regulations would have forced lawyers to collect information about their clients and their financial transactions and turn that information over to the government on demand.  The Supreme Court found those requirements violated protection in the Charter against unreasonable search and seizure, and rights of security of the person. “It is fundamental to the system of justice in Canada that lawyers cannot be required to function as state agents, acting against their clients’ interests, and their offices cannot be turned into archives for the use of the prosecution against their clients,” the Federation said in its brief to the Supreme Court. The Federation and its member law societies have been actively engaged in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing activities for over a decade. Model Rules prohibiting legal counsel from accepting $7,500 or more in cash, and detailed know-your client obligations, have been adopted and implemented by all law societies. All lawyers and Quebec notaries are bound by these rules, which accomplish the important goal of protecting the public by fighting money laundering and terrorist financing in a way that respects important constitutional principles including the duties legal counsel owe to their clients. “Money laundering and terrorist financing are serious crimes” the Federation President added. “Any member of the legal profession who is caught participating in illegal activities will be subject to law society discipline and possible disbarment, in addition to any criminal charges that may be applicable.” Law societies undertake regular audits of activities of the legal profession as part of their regulator responsibilities in the public interest, ensuring compliance with client…