NSBS COVID-19 Guidance to the Profession & Office Closure Information

Update March 31, 2020

The Society’s office will remain closed until Monday, May 4, 2020. The Society’s Library located at the NS Law Courts will also remain closed.


Dear members,

The Society is carefully monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) public health risk and we take the health and safety of our staff, the public and the profession seriously.

We are committed to supporting members and providing updates on how we will continue to fulfill our mandate during this time.

Effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020 the Society’s offices will close until Friday, April 3, 2020 to align with the Province’s advice to practice social distancing to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Read the government’s response to COVID-19 including information on how to protect yourself.

Guidance & Support for Lawyers

We have developed a page on our website with guidance and information to support you in the practice of law and delivery of legal services in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This guidance page also includes information related to client ID requirements. Please also review the guidelines prepared by the Federation of Law Societies in response to COVID-19.

We appreciate that not all law firms have the same level of support available to them during this time. We are here to support you in your practice. If you have specific questions about how to comply with your professional obligations or how to navigate practice management issues in the context of COVID-19, please contact the Society by email to jpink@nsbs.org and ecumming@nsbs.org. We will return your inquiries by email or telephone as soon as possible.

Society Information

  • Trust Accounts: We have heard from a number of Law Firms as well as Accounting Firms that they are encountering challenges in completing the ARTAR, either as a result of accountants being in quarantine, or where accounting firms are limiting travel or reassessing their processes to reduce the requirements for time spent on-site. As a result we have decided to extend the deadline for the filing of the ARTAR until April 30th. The filing date for the Trust Account Report (TAR) and the Annual Firm Report (AFR) will remain at March 31st, however requests for extensions, where there are extenuating circumstances, will be considered on a case by case basis. For further information, please contact trustaccounts@nsbs.org.
  • Education & Credentials Applications: The Education & Credentials Department will still be processing all applications during the time the office is closed. If you are having difficulty meeting filing deadlines please reach out to us at baradmissions@nsbs.org and we will consider extension requests.
    • April Call deadline for filing March 20th
    • Articling Application deadline April 1st
    • Registering for LRA Assessment April 3rd
    • Articling Final Reports April 30th
  • Complaint Matters: The Professional Responsibility Department will be continuing to process complaint matters during this period. If you have a response deadline that you are unable to meet due to current circumstances, please email sdowney@nsbs.org to request an extension.
  • Society Events: All Society events are cancelled until mid-April 2020, when we will reassess. We will post event updates to the nsbs.org website and through our newsletter InForum.

LIANS Information

LIANS will continue to process new claims during this time. If submitting a new claim, please use the on-line claim form located on the LIANS website at https://www.lians.ca/services/claim-reporting/claims-forms. If you need to contact Claims Counsel on an existing matter or want to discuss a new matter, please review our staff contact information.

NSLAP & COVID-19 Update from Homewood Health

Your Nova Scotia Lawyers Assistance Program (NSLAP) provider, Homewood Health, has provided an update with answers to a few frequently asked questions surrounding COVID-19 and the impact on Homewood service. Review the update.

Homewood Health is available 24/7 to support you, your employees and your families during this or any other time of need. The contact number is 1-866-299-1299

How to Contact Us During the Office Closure

While our offices are physically closed during this time, our staff is available remotely during our offices hours (Monday-Friday from 8:30 AM-4:30 PM) via email and phone for assistance. Review our staff contact information.

  • Contact Reception: Our reception line at 902-422-1491 will remain open and voice messages will be monitored regularly. You may also continue to contact us at info@nsbs.org and inquiries will be forwarded to staff and responded to accordingly.
  • Drop off Documents: You may continue to drop off documents to the Society (Cogswell Tower, 800–2000 Barrington Street, Halifax NS) in a drop off box located outside the entrance to reception. This mailbox will be monitored regularly.
  • NSBS Library: The Society’s library will be open for use during this time however, no staff will be on site. You may continue to send library inquiries to nsbslib@nsbs.org or call toll-free: 1 866 219 1202. Library services available will be limited to what can be accomplished remotely.

We will also continue to provide updates on our website and through Facebook and Twitter.

Additional Resources & Information

Additional Questions & Concerns

If you have any concerns or questions, please contact NSBS Executive Director, Tilly Pillay, QC at 902-422-1491 or LIANS Director of Insurance, Lawrence Rubin at 902-423-1300.

We are here to assist in any way we can in these unprecedented times.

Regards,

Tilly Pillay QC
NSBS Executive Director