The Law Society of BC is the governing body for the legal profession in British Columbia. Under the Legal Profession Act, its duty is to protect the public interest in the administration of justice. A board of directors, called benchers, governs the Law Society. The board consists of 25 elected lawyers and six appointed non-lawyers (called lay benchers). The lawyer benchers are elected to represent districts across BC.
Protecting the public
The Law Society works to ensure that lawyers do their work properly and that the public is well served by lawyers who are honourable, competent and independent. It sets and enforces standards for licensing, competence, education, ethics, and professional conduct. The Law Society also sets the qualifications to become a lawyer and to practise law in BC.
The Law Society requires lawyers to carry liability insurance to protect clients who suffer financial loss because of their lawyer's negligence. It also has a fund to pay clients who lose money because their lawyer steals trust money.
Dealing with complaints
The Law Society deals with complaints from the public about lawyers' conduct. In some cases, the Law Society holds a hearing into a lawyer's conduct. All Law Society hearings are open to the public. If the hearing finds the lawyer guilty of professional misconduct or a breach of the rules or laws governing lawyers, the Law Society may reprimand, fine or suspend the lawyer. It can also put conditions on the lawyer. And for serious misconduct, the Law Society can disbar a lawyer, meaning that the lawyer can’t practise law.
To contact the Law Society, visit lawsociety.bc.ca, or call 604-669-2533 in the Lower Mainland or 1-800-903-5300 elsewhere in BC.