You will hear much about entity regulation in the coming months. You will probably have some questions about what it all means. Here are some facts for you to consider.
What it is
Entity regulation is about regulating the entity in which lawyers work (e.g., law firms, corporate law departments, government law departments, and solo and small firms).
Regulation is based on the risk associated with each of these entities and developing elements that are applicable to each of them. What might a regulatory principle look like? Here are some examples that would apply to all legal entities: avoid conflicts of interest, develop competent practices to avoid negligence, and maintain appropriate records/file management.
The way in which we regulate is important. The Society is adopting an approach that is proactive (what measures need to be in place to ensure lawyers comply with their ethical duties), principled (as opposed to prescriptive rules) and proportionate (the extent of the regulation should be proportionate to the risk).
What it is not
The Society is not seeking to download the burden of regulation onto legal entities or individual lawyers. We are trying to reduce the burden or, even better, get "out of the way" so lawyers can be innovative and creative in their delivery of legal services.
The Society does not anticipate increased fees as a result of this initiative. We are conscious that we need to keep within existing resources and budget.
Why are we doing this?
The current regulatory model is outdated for Nova Scotia’s legal profession. Entity regulation gives us an opportunity to achieve outcomes that are desirable for regulating in the public interest: competent, ethical and reliable legal services that are accessible to those who need these services.
We look forward to continuing our discussions with you.
Tilly Pillay QC
Chair, Entity Regulation Steering Committee