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Activities & Committees

Executive and Administration

Allan Fineblit, Q.C. - Chief Executive Officer
Marilyn W. Billinkoff - Deputy Chief Executive Officer

 

For information on: Contact:
Lawyers' practising fees - deadlines, payment
options and amounts
Colleen Malone, Chief Financial Officer
Determining or changing your membership status Richard Porcher, Director - Admissions and Membership
Personnel matters James Ramsay,  Office Manager
Information Technology and Web Site Sean Rivera, Assistant Director of Technology

 

Admissions and Education

Admission and Education policies are set by the Admission and Education Committee. The Committee sets policy related to Continuing Professional Development programs and the admission of persons to the Bar, which includes the CPLED program, applicants from other Canadian jurisdictions (transfer applications), and members applying for permission to resume active practice.

Admissions and Education Committee Chair, Jim McLandress

 

For information on: Contact:
Obtaining a Certificate of Standing for practising in another jurisdiction Pat Bourbonnais, Assistant to the C.E.O.
Inter-jurisdictional practice and requirements for appearing in Manitoba from another jurisdiction Donna Mihalick, Assistant to the Director of Admissions and Membership
Requirements for lawyers wishing to transfer to Manitoba, or resume practice in Manitoba Richard Porcher, Director - Admissions and Membership
  • Manitoba CPLED Program 
  • Articling Program
Brenda Silver, Director - Professional Education and Competence
  • Continuing Profesional Development Programs
  • Program registration 
  • Ordering materials and publications
Eileen Derksen Mead, Program Counsel - Continuing Professional Development 
Tracy Lloyd, Program Counsel - Continuing Professional Development 
Uyoyo Obareh, Program Assistant

Complaints Investigation, Competence and Discipline

 

Complaints which raise concerns of "professional misconduct", "conduct unbecoming a barrister and solicitor" or "incompetence" may be referred to the Complaints Investigation Committee. This Committee, after reviewing a staff lawyer's investigation of a complaint, may resolve to take no further action, hold a complaint in abeyance pending court proceedings, send a letter to the lawyer reminding the lawyer of his or her professional obligations, issue a formal caution to the lawyer, or recommend that the lawyer complete a remedial program. If the Committee is satisfied that a complaint discloses professional misconduct, conduct unbecoming a barrister and solicitor or incompetence, the Committee may authorize that charges be laid and direct that an inquiry be held before the Discipline Committee.

If a lawyer is convicted of professional misconduct, conduct unbecoming a barrister or solicitor or incompetence, the Discipline Committee may reprimand, fine, impose conditions of practice on, suspend, disbar or permit the lawyer to resign, and may make an order of costs.

The Reimbursement Fund offers reimbursement to clients of lawyers for losses sustained as a result of the misappropriation or conversion of trust funds by lawyers. It is funded by the levy of an annual assessment on all practising lawyers. An applicant wishing to make a claim for reimbursement must file a statutory declaration or affidavit with the Society to confirm that the application meets the requirements of The Legal Profession Act and Rules.

Download the Complaints Investigation Process flowchart in Adobe PDF format.

Complaints Investigation Committee Chair, Barry Effler

Discipline Committee Chair, Diane Stevenson

Reimbursement Fund Claims Committee Chair, Kathy Bueti

For Information On: Contact:
General inquiries regarding the complaints procedure Grace Page, Paralegal
The fee arbitration process Lana Renaud, Assistant to the Deputy C.E.O.
Investigation of complaints Leah Kosokowsky, Director - Complaints Resolution
Noelia Bernardo, Legal Counsel
Susan Billinkoff, Legal Counsel
Lara Badmus, Legal Counsel
Discipline hearings C. Kristin Dangerfield, Senior General Counsel
Darcia Senft, General Counsel

Spot Audit Program

The mandate of the Audit Department is to ensure that the members of the Law Society of Manitoba are complying with the Rules respecting accounts and to ensure that trust monies are being handled appropriately. These objectives are accomplished through two processes: the Spot Audit Program and the review of the Annual Trust Account Report.

The Auditor-Inspectors conduct routine spot audits of law firms on a rotational basis. In addition, special audits of members having trust account difficulties are conducted as required.

The Annual Trust Account Report is a mandatory report which provides the Law Society with annual information concerning the member's trust account.

There are two types of Annual Trust Account Reports. While most firms elect to file the Self-Report, some firms choose to file a Form D which includes a review of their trust records and a report by an independent accountant. There are a few members who are not offered the self-report option because of a prior history of significant trust accounting problems.

For Information On: Contact:
  • Trust account audits 
  • Annual Trust Account Reports 
  • General accounting inquiries
Kathy Levacque, Director of Audit 
Sandra Alleyne, Auditor
Ron Bailey, Auditor
Deborah Metcalfe, Auditor

 

Professional Liability Insurance

The Law Society of Manitoba is a member of the Canadian Lawyers Insurance Association (CLIA), a reciprocal insurance exchange which provides professional liability insurance for all practising lawyers in nine provinces and territories. The Professional Liability Claims Fund Committee sets policy in fulfillment of the Law Society's mandate to protect the public by providing all practising lawyers in Manitoba with mandatory professional liability insurance for errors or omissions in connection with the rendering of professional services.

The Policy insures lawyers for damages and legal costs of up to $1 million per error and $2 million annually. When a claim made against a lawyer is paid, the lawyer pays a deductible ranging from $5,000 to $20,000, depending on the lawyer's paid claim experience in the previous five year period. 

Under the Policy of Insurance, the lawyer is required, as soon as practicable after learning of a claim or becoming aware of circumstances which might give rise to a claim, to report the claim to the Director of Insurance. Once a claim is reported, the claim is managed "in-house" by the Director of Insurance or one of the Claims Counsel on staff at the Law Society of Manitoba. Should a claim proceed to litigation,  the Professional Liability Insurance Claims Fund will appoint counsel to defend the insured lawyer. 

Professional Liability Claims Fund Committee Chair, Roberta Campbell

 

For Information On: Contact:
  • Lawyers' Professional Liability Insurance Program 
  • Professional negligence claims 
  • Claims reporting
Tana Christianson, Director of Insurance
Claims under review Kate Craton, Claims Counsel 
Joan Holmstrom, Claims Counsel
  • Excess Liability Insurance 
  • Obtaining Certificates of Insurance
Heather Vanrobaeys 
Kristin Forbister

Practice Issues

The Practice and Ethics Committee considers requests from members of the legal profession for practice direction on matters which apply to the profession in general, and for ethical advice on practice-related issues.  Practice directions are published periodically and circulated to the membership, either directly or posted on the Law Society's website.

Practice and Ethics Committee Chair, Joelle Robinson

For Information On: Contact:
Practice and Ethics matters C. Kristin Dangerfield, Senior General Counsel
Darcia Senft, General Counsel
Leah Kosokowsky, Director Complaints Resolution 
Marilyn Billinkoff, Deputy Chief Executive Officer
Allan Fineblit, Q.C. Chief Executive Officer 

Equity Initiatives

The equity initiatives of the Law Society of Manitoba are overseen by the Equity Committee. The Committee has developed model policies on alternate work schedules, maternity/parental leave, respectful workplace and accommodation as well as a guideline for best practices for employment interviews. The Law Society has also established the Office of the Equity Ombudsperson to provide assistance to Manitoba lawyers, support staff, articling students and clients of lawyers in dealing with issues of discrimination and harassment. The Equity Ombudsperson also offers a parental support program which provides coaching sessions to lawyers and their spouses or life partners to help them plan for maternity and parental leave and meet the challenges of becoming new parents.

Equity Committee Chair, Richard Buchwald

For Information On: Contact:
Equity initiatives Marilyn Billinkoff, Deputy Chief Executive Officer
Equity Ombudsperson Brenlee Carrington Trepel
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