Interested in the Work of the Law Society? Become a Bencher.

Information Session –
Open Invitation
Thurs. February 20, 2020
12:00 noon

The policy work of the Law Society is conducted by both benchers and committee members. If you are interested in learning about this work, volunteering for a committee or running/applying to be a bencher, please join us for a light lunch in the Law Society classroom on February 20, 2020 at 12:00 noon. 

To help us accommodate the number of attendees, please
RSVP your interest in attending to ekinchen@lawsociety.mb.ca

If you have any questions in advance, please contact any one of the following: 

Kristin Dangerfield
Chief Executive Officer 
204-926-2013 
kdangerfield@lawsociety.mb.ca 

Leah Kosokowsky 
Director – Regulation 
204-926-2030 
lkosokowsky@lawsociety.mb.ca 

Anita Southall 
President 
204-957-8303 
alsouthall@fillmoreriley.com 

Lynda Troup 
Vice President 
204-934-2337 
lkt@tdslaw.com 

Kathy Bueti 
Past President 
204-989-0084 
kathybueti@bwwlaw.ca

Coming soon … Legal Information Hub

The Manitoba Law Library, in partnership with the Law Society, Dept. of Justice and others, and funded by a grant from the Manitoba Law Foundation, is piloting a legal information program in the Winnipeg courthouse.

The goal of the project is to provide information and assistance to members of the public who are struggling with dealing with the courts. Representation without legal counsel is difficult and challenging, particularly when trying to follow the rules and procedures that the legal system requires, and puts extra pressure on judges and parties who are represented. Additional assistance for self-represented litigants is important in order to increase fairness and access to justice.  

Under the supervision of a practising lawyer, law students will be available to provide assistance on a drop-in basis in the Great Library on Monday afternoons and Wednesday mornings. At times when in-person assistance is not available, the public will still be invited to use the ante room at the front of the library during regular library hours, and there will be a computer available for legal research.

As part of the pilot project, data will be collected on the types of problems people are encountering and the number of people the Hub assists. The pilot will start Monday, February 10th and last four months. 

2019 Manitoba Articling Review Survey Results

by Kris Dangerfield, Chief Executive Officer

The Law Society of Manitoba, in conjunction with the law societies of Alberta and Saskatchewan, conducted a survey in May and June of this year of articling students and new lawyers (those who articled in the last five years) as well as principals and those who mentored articling students or new lawyers in the last five years.

The intent of the survey was to help us better understand the nature of articles, the types of training and mentoring that articling students are receiving and how prepared articling students feel to practise law in the 21st century. We also wanted to better understand if articling students have or are experiencing any issues related to discrimination and harassment in their workplaces.

In total, the survey was completed by 736 articling students and new lawyers (549 in Alberta, 104 in Saskatchewan and 83 in Manitoba) and 407 principals, recruiters and mentors (295 in Alberta, 64 in Saskatchewan and 48 in Manitoba). The response rate in Manitoba, although better than average for an external survey, was 17.8% for students and young lawyers and 12.3% for principals and mentors. Some of the key findings from the survey of Manitoba respondents were:

  • 7 in 10 students are very satisfied or satisfied with their articling experience. 17% are unsatisfied;
  • 24% of Manitoba articling students and new lawyers report experiencing discrimination and/or harassment during recruitment and/or articling;
  • The top challenge for Manitoba students is inadequate compensation.
  • 6 in 10 articling students work 50-plus hours per week;
  • 50% of new lawyers lacked confidence in their training and felt only somewhat prepared or not prepared for entry level practice;
  • The quality of mentorship for students, mentors and principals is a challenge and impacts satisfaction with the articling experience.

Overall, the survey provided rich data which deepened our understanding on a number of issues including workloads, compensation and retention rates, and areas where both students and mentors felt that further resources or assistance may be beneficial.

The results also contained troubling reports about the incidence of discrimination and/or harassment during both the recruitment phase and the articling experience, with 24% of students in Manitoba reporting such experiences. Seventy percent of those who experienced discrimination or harassment were women. The primary types of discrimination and harassment reported included:

  • Discrimination based on being female or a visible minority;
  • Females given more administrative non-billable work;
  • Complimenting female students’ outfits and bodies;
  • Senior male counsel dismissive towards a female student;
  • Fewer positions offered to visible minority students;
  • Racist jokes;
  • Using students to attract clients from the same minority group.

These findings are generally consistent with a 2017 survey in Ontario which reported that one in five respondents faced harassing or discriminatory comments or conduct based on their gender, race, sexual orientation, citizenship, disability, or other personal characteristics during their articling terms. Anecdotally, in Manitoba we have been aware of complaints concerning harassment and discrimination in the profession, but it is disappointing nonetheless to hear of the extent to which these concerns exist. As one Manitoba Bencher stated when the results were provided to them in September, even one report of harassment or discrimination is too many.

Next Steps

What are we going to do about it? The survey results will be provided to the Law Society’s Equity Committee for consideration and discussion as to how best to address the concerns. A number of findings in the survey will help to inform our thinking around how articling might better integrate with the new PREP program and what changes and improvements might be made in future. That work is already well underway with our partners at CPLED for implementation in the new program. In addition, staff at the Law Society of Manitoba are currently reviewing the report with a view to identifying a number of opportunities to ensure that students and young lawyers are aware of existing resources available to support them in the early years of practice.

We wish to thank those who took the time to participate in the survey. Although the survey is closed, our door is always open and if you have information you wish to share, please contact our Equity Officer, Alissa Schacter.

Manitoba Reports are now on CanLII

[Guest author Sarah Sutherland. Cross-posted from The CanLII Blog.]

Over 9,500 decisions from the Manitoba Reports have been added to CanLII! 

CanLII is grateful to have received a grant from the Manitoba Law Foundation to add decisions from the first and second series of the Manitoba Reports to CanLII.org. 

For the last year we have been doing research into what gaps there are in legal research for jurisdictions across Canada. In Manitoba we discovered that there was a gap in access to historical caselaw for the province. Following this we applied for a grant to help fill that gap.

We have added around 4,500 decisions from the first series and 5,000 from the second series of the Manitoba Reports. You can find them on CanLII using this search query

Thank you to Karen Dyck, Erin Wilcott, and the staff at the Manitoba Law Foundation for making this grant possible, and Karen Sawatzky at the Manitoba Law Library for helping us identify local needs.

Happy researching!

3 Weeks Left to Take Advantage of Early Bird Pricing for the 2019 Isaac Pitblado Lectures

The 2019 Isaac Pitblado Lectures
Capacity to Decide: Planning for Death and Dying

November 8, 2019 │ 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Fort Garry Place Conference Centre, Grand Ballroom

3 Weeks Left to Take Advantage of Early Bird Pricing 

6 CPD hours, including 1.5 EPPM hours

Jointly presented by the Manitoba Bar Association, The University of Manitoba Faculty of Law & The Law Society of Manitoba

This year’s Pitblado Lectures will provide thought provoking presentations as well as concrete guidance for practitioners on topics including:

  • Testamentary Capacity
  • Predatory Marriages
  • Medical Perspective on Capacity
  • Video Recording Will Instructions
  • Capacity Assessments
  • Assisted Dying – constitutional, philosophical and ethical issues
  • How Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) works in Manitoba 

Featured out of province speakers include Professor Albert H. Oosterhoff
(Oosterhoff on Wills, 8th ed. and Oosterhoff on Trusts: Text, Commentary and Materials, 9th ed.) and Kimberly A. Whaley, of the Toronto litigation firm Whaley Estate Litigation Partners.

Stay tuned for updated information and speaker announcements on the
Pitblado website: www.pitbladolectures.com