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Law society gets to work on addressing unmet legal needs

Submissions can be made by people, businesses, organizations outside the legal profession
Law Society of B.C. president Craig Ferris | Submitted

B.C.’s legal profession regulator is asking for ideas from individuals, businesses and organizations as to how unmet legal needs of British Columbians can be met.

It’s a Law Society of B.C. project that could shift how the province’s lawyer practices after a society task force identified areas in legal services that will likely require changes in regulation and modernization in relation to the practice of law, business structures, legal education, accreditation, lawyer development and other areas.

“Change is constant in all aspects of our lives, and this is true in the practice of law as well,” said the report adopted Sept. 10, which made 23 recommendations. That task force began work in January 2019.

How the proposals will be received is through what’s being called an innovation sandbox. 

Those wishing to participate must include a summary of services a provider is proposing to pilot, who are expected to be clients, how the services will increase access to justice, as well as information about the provider and an assessment of any risks to the public. 

The society will review submissions and monitor the effectiveness of the proposals that are approved as pilots.

“Survey after survey, in B.C. and other jurisdictions, reveal that a significant percentage of the public is not benefitting from the advice of a lawyer to assist with their legal problems,” society president Craig Ferris said. 

“The innovation sandbox is a forward-thinking approach that allows us to test and monitor whether individuals and businesses who are not lawyers or law firms can make affordable legal services available to British Columbians who currently get no legal help, while still ensuring there are proper safeguards to protect the public,” Ferris said.

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