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Practice Management Review

14.01A (1) Where the Executive Director is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that a member may be failing or may have failed to comply with the Act, the Rules or the Code of Professional Conduct, the Executive Director may direct a review of the management of the member’s practice.
(2) In determining whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that a member may be failing or has failed to comply with the Act, the Rules or the Code of Professional Conduct, the following factors may be considered:

  1. whether there are 4 or fewer members practising with the member in the same firm;
  2. any allegations made to the society relating to the member;
  3. any findings of the complaints authorization committee that there were reasonable grounds to believe that the member has engaged in conduct deserving of sanction;
  4. any findings or orders of an adjudication tribunal made under the Act;
  5. any findings or orders of any court of competent jurisdiction relating to the conduct of the member;
  6. any issues identified through an investigation or audit under Part V;
  7. any failure of the member to meet mandatory professional development or continuing legal education requirements under Part VI;
  8. whether there are any outstanding judgments, orders for costs or matters in bankruptcy, including assignments and petitions into bankruptcy as well as consumer proposals, relating to the member or the member has failed to comply with Canada Revenue Agency obligations; and
  9. any other information relating to the member or the member’s practice that comes to the attention of the Executive Director.

(3) Where the Executive Director has exercised his or her power under section (1) to direct a practice management review, the Executive Director shall designate a person or persons (the “reviewer”) to conduct the practice management review.

Notice

14.02A At least one clear day’s notice of the practice management review shall be provided by personal delivery, electronic communication or other appropriate means to the member.

Process

14.03A A practice management review may take place at one or more of the member’s offices and may include one or more of the following:

  1. a review of any or all of the member’s records, files, documentation and information; and
  2. interviews with the member and the member’s staff

Co-operation with Reviewer

14.04A The member and the member’s partners, associates, voting shareholders, directors and employees who are also members, support personnel and legal assistants shall respond to any inquiries and produce for the reviewer all records, files, documentation and information which the reviewer requires for the purpose of the practice management review. The reviewer may view, copy, remove and return same within a reasonable time.

Discontinuing a Review

14.05A Notwithstanding rule 14.10A, where the reviewer determines during the course of a review that there is a requirement to report the member to the society under the Act, the Rules or the Code of Professional Conduct, the reviewer shall discontinue the review and report to the Executive Director.

Report

14.06A (1) The reviewer shall, as soon as reasonably practicable, report in writing the recommendations arising from the practice management review to the Executive Director and the member.
(2) If the reviewer has been unable, for whatever reason, to conduct or complete the practice management review, he or she shall report, stating the reasons therefor, in writing to the Executive Director.

Undertakings

14.07A (1) The Executive Director may require the member to undertake, in writing, to adopt any or all of the recommendations in the report. The Executive Director shall provide written notice of this requirement to the member within 60 days of the receipt of the report.
(2) Where the Executive Director requires an undertaking, the member shall provide the undertaking within 30 days of receipt of the notice provided under section (1).
(3) The Executive Director may direct a reviewer to conduct a further practice management review to confirm that the member has fulfilled an undertaking given under this rule.
(4) A member’s failure to provide an undertaking required under this rule may constitute conduct deserving of sanction.
(5) A member’s failure to fulfill an undertaking given under this rule, without reasonable explanation, may constitute conduct deserving of sanction.

Failure to Comply

14.08A If any person required to cooperate with the practice management review fails to comply with the reviewer’s requirements for records, files, documentation and information, or has otherwise impeded the practice management review, the reviewer shall report the circumstances to the Executive Director, and such failure to comply may constitute conduct deserving of sanction.

New Sole Practitioners and New Members of Small Firms

14.09A Where a member intends to commence practising as a sole practitioner or in a firm with 4 or fewer other members,

  1. the member shall notify the society by filing a completed notice of change in association of practice under rule 2.20; and
  2. a practice management review under this rule shall be conducted within 12 months of filing the completed notice of change in association of practice.

Confidentiality

14.10A The fact that the member is subject to a practice management review shall not be made public except as required by law or in connection with a discipline proceeding under the Act.

Solicitor-Client Privilege

14.11A In the course of a practice management review, solicitor-client privilege shall not apply as against the society or the reviewer to enable the member, the member’s partners, associates, voting shareholders, directors and employees who are also members, support personnel and legal assistants to refuse to produce any records, files, documentation or information in their control or possession.

Application

14.12A This rule applies, with necessary modifications, to professional law corporations.

Coming into Force

14.13A These rules come into force on February 24, 2020.
(Adopted: Part XIVA, Winter Term Convocation, February 10, 2020)