In preparation for a new model of legal services regulation in Nova Scotia, the Society is already making significant adjustments to its operations. All staff are engaged in building the Triple-P approach into the Society’s activities, as envisioned in the Regulatory Objectives (proactive, principled, proportionate). Here are just a few examples of how we’re doing things differently:
- Incorporating Triple P into professional responsibility – The Professional Responsibility Policies and Procedures Committee has embarked on a process to examine ways to incorporate the Triple P concepts in the PR process. For example, the complaints intake stage is an excellent opportunity to identify and attempt to resolve complaints between lawyers and clients informally, and in a way that repairs rather than further strains relationships. Other options being considered include enhancing the staff toolbox to support changing lawyer behaviour through education and guidance, rather than written warnings. These ideas and others are baby steps toward changing the conversation with lawyers when dealing with complaints.
- “Grand Rounds” – Inspired by a common medical ritual, the Society is taking a more proactive approach to collaborating on member-focused regulatory matters. Every Monday now brings a short multi-department meeting to review current issues and brainstorm solutions. Introduced in January, it’s already proving beneficial by reducing the proliferation of group emails and creating a more effective triage mechanism.
- Risk assessment: lawyers – The Society is evolving from its previously reactionary approach toward recognizing issues before they become potential problems. As situations arise in lawyers’ practices (illnesses, stresses, financial burdens, etc.), a new team-based approach flags issues and determines areas where we may be able to assist. A growing example of this is reaching out to aging sole practitioners, who may be able to use some direction and assistance in succession planning and winding down their practices.
- Risk assessment: systemic issues – The Society is managing risk more proactively by examining ongoing systemic issues that have a regulatory impact. For example, we are taking a close look at the Land Registration Act with a view toward recommending improvements and amendments that will assist lawyers in providing better service.
- Trust account reporting – In the past, every legal entity that held funds in trust in had to file an annual trust account report (TAR) and accompanying ARTAR (accountant’s report on the TAR). Any exceptions for consideration had to be brought forth by the entity itself. The Society now takes a more proactive approach to the filing of these reports by asking questions such as, “Is it really necessary to file the ARTAR?” or “How is the public or the membership best served in this situation?” We more closely review what is being filed, and the history behind it. We are also developing new policies for waivers in trust account reporting in cases where there is no risk to the public.
Communications “Content Team” – Since November, the Society’s communications & web unit has been hosting regular meetings with representatives from each department, to bring a more coordinated Triple P approach to the Society’s communication and engagement efforts. The sessions are already resulting in web improvements and better internal communication. The hope is to also encourage greater participation from staff across the organization in developing content for the website and various publications, including social media.
Posted February 2, 2016