Professional Standards Committee

Professional Standards Committee

The primary function of the Professional Standards Committee is to ensure that the standards of competency required in the Rules of the Law Society of Saskatchewan and the Code of Professional Conduct are upheld. This is not a disciplinary function, but rather educational and supportive, to ensure that lawyers bring adequate skills and knowledge to the practice of law.

A matter is referred to the Professional Standards Committee Chair/Vice-Chair by Professional Responsibility Counsel following the investigation of a complaint, or where the member’s practice meets the requirements of the Practice Review Program. The majority of complaints referred to the committee show indications of problems with file and office management. Upon review of the matter, the chair/vice-chair may:

  • Make, and follow up on, recommendations to the member to address practice issues that are found in the course of the chair/vice-chair’s review.
  • Direct that a Law Office Management Review of the lawyer's practice be conducted.
  • Direct that the matter be referred to the Ethics Committee, if more appropriate.
  • Direct that the matter be referred to the Conduct Investigation Committee, if more appropriate.

If a Law Office Management Review is conducted, the Practice Advisor who completed the review may make recommendations for improvement to the lawyer's practice and they and the chair/vice-chair will work with the lawyer to implement these recommendations.

Practice Review Program

The Practice Review program is designed to further protect the public by identifying problems in a member's practice before a complaint arises. The Practice Review program extends the Practice Advisor's role and the services to members who meet any of the following criteria:

  • New solo or small firm practitioners*;
  • Multiple Saskatchewan Lawyers' Insurance Association (professional insurance) claims against the member;
  • A pattern of otherwise minor complaints being made against a member;
  • Multiple accounting issues raised by Law Society Auditors;
  • Concerns raised directly with the Law Society by the Courts and/or other members, or;
  • Failure to meet mandatory professional development requirements.

The participation of practitioners in the program is compulsory.

* "New solo or small firm practitioners" includes both junior lawyers and more senior lawyers who are beginning their own solo or small firm private practice. "Solo practitioners" also include members who are in a loose association of a few members where expenses are shared but there is no real "firm management" or consistency of procedures. "Small firm practitioners" generally means a new firm with three or fewer lawyers, where at least half of the members meet the "new solo practitioner" criteria.