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SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Esmeralda Swartz, Andy Jonak, Carmen Gonzalez, John Wetherill, Lori MacVittie

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Law Society Budget Introduces Modest Fee Increase for 2013

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 11/23/12 -- The Law Society's governing body (http://www.lsuc.on.ca/with.aspx?id=673) today approved its 2013 budget with a modest annual fee increase of 1.4 per cent for lawyers and paralegals. The 2013 fee for a practising lawyer will increase by $25, from $1,826 to $1,851, while the fee for licensed paralegals will increase by $14, from $982 to $996.

"In the current economic climate, we are particularly pleased to be introducing a budget with modest fee increases that maintains strong support for our core responsibilities and the priorities set by our governing board," says Law Society Chief Executive Officer, Robert G.W. Lapper, Q.C. (http://www.lsuc.on.ca/ceo/) This is Mr. Lapper's first budget since taking the position of CEO in February. "This is a prudent budget that takes into account the dynamics affecting the delivery of legal services and the practice of law in Ontario."

In addition to its core mandate of regulating the legal profession in the public interest, the Law Society's priorities for 2011-2015 include facilitating access to justice, strengthening professional competence and regulation, supporting equity and diversity, enhancing tribunals, and studying alternative business structures.

The primary factors underlying the 2013 budget are:


--  growth in the number of lawyers and paralegals 
--  increased use of Law Society reserves 
--  increasing governance expenses 
--  reductions in outside counsel expenses in the Regulatory Department 
--  increased staffing for the Client Service Centre 
--  decreasing Professional Development and Competence revenues 
--  decreasing investment income. 

The deliberations on the Articling Task Force recommendations are not expected to have a significant financial impact in 2013. The Lawyer Licensing Process fee of $2,400 and the Paralegal Licensing Process fee of $1,075 remain unchanged from 2012.

Included in the annual fee for lawyers is a county law library levy which is increasing by $2 to $205 for 2013. Operational funding of the county law libraries is increasing by approximately 2%, consistent with the growth in funding over the last five years.

"I am pleased we were once again able to keep fee increases very modest while sustaining funding for our core programs and key initiatives," says Law Society Treasurer Thomas G. Conway. (http://www.lsuc.on.ca/treasurer/) "Going forward, we will continue to strengthen our legislated activities, support sole and small firms and remain fully committed to enhancing access to justice for all Ontarians."

The Law Society regulates lawyers and paralegals in Ontario in the public interest. The Law Society has a duty to protect the public interest, to maintain and advance the cause of justice and the rule of law, to facilitate access to justice for the people of Ontario and act in a timely, open and efficient manner.

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