Since the end of November, the Executive Director and Society officers have been meeting with lawyers, law firms and others to review and seek feedback on the Society’s proposed structure for developing a Management System for Ethical Legal Practice (MSELP). The goal of the consultation process was to inform lawyers about the nature of the Legal Services Regulation project and seek their input on how it is proposed to roll out an entity regulation model.
The MSELP is designed to support a process through which lawyers, law firms and other legal entities will consider the processes and practices they have in place to ensure they operate in a way that meets their ethical obligations while having effective management systems in place.
As well, the draft MSELP self-assessment process – and an alternative approach proposed by the Society’s equity committees during the consultations – ask lawyers to consider whether their practices support equity, diversity and inclusiveness for equity-seeking groups and to consider how their practices support enhanced access to justice and legal services.
Though the meetings showed strong support for the approaches being advocated, it’s clear that both ongoing consultation and communication are required before a final system can be implemented.
Members of the Legal Services Regulation Steering Committee – and eventually Council – are considering a recommendation for development of a pilot project to address the issues and concerns that have been raised. A pilot would allow the Society to clarify both how the self-assessment can be administered (alternative options are being considered), and how the Society can provide support to lawyers and firms. The nature and extent of the resources that will be available to support lawyers and firms will also be addressed as part of a continuing consultation process.
Darrel Pink, Executive Director