Bencher Table Vacancy
There will be a Bencher vacancy arising when Ken Warren, KC’s, term as President of the Law Society of Alberta concludes on Feb. 23, 2023.
In the event of a vacancy at the Bencher table, the Benchers, using the process outlined in Rule 17 of the Rules of the Law Society of Alberta, have two options to fill the seat: they may appoint an eligible member, or they may appoint the candidate who received the next-most number of votes in the previous Bencher election (in this case, November 2020).
If the Benchers choose to appoint a lawyer to serve as a Bencher, rather than going to the lawyer with the next-most votes from the November 2020 election, the Benchers follow the process outlined in section 19 of the Legal Profession Act (the Act) and Rules of the Law Society of Alberta, Rule 17.
Accordingly, the Law Society has opened its online application process for lawyers to apply to fill the vacancy that will be created by the conclusion of President Warren’s term on Feb. 23, 2023. Once chosen, this individual will serve until February 2024. The successful candidate will be free to run in the November 2023 Bencher election should they want to continue to serve as a Bencher beyond the expiration of their appointed term. Benchers are elected for terms of three years, up to a maximum of nine years total if re-elected including the time spent as an appointed Bencher.
The key responsibilities of the Benchers lie in two areas: governance (attending and participating in board and committee meetings) and adjudication (participating in hearings related to conduct, admission and other regulatory matters).
All active members of the Law Society may apply to fill a Bencher vacancy. The defined Bencher competencies are available on the Law Society website.
The online application is open until Monday, Nov. 21, 2022, at 4:30 p.m. MT. The application will request information about your current practice, skills and ask for a current CV. The Nominating Committee is requesting that applicants keep their CV to a maximum of two pages (12 point font). Please note that incomplete, late applications or applications that submit CV’s longer than two pages will not be reviewed. It is the sole responsibility of the applicants to ensure their applications are complete in accordance with the above.
Applications will be assessed based on supplementing the existing skills at the Bencher table and the Law Society’s goals and objectives as outlined in the Strategic Plan. Applicants will be considered for the current open position as well as any additional openings for the next six months.
Benchers may spend roughly 500 volunteer hours each year on Law Society work. Benchers who chair committees and actively participate in the adjudication work will likely need to commit more hours. Committee work is divided amongst the Benchers and external volunteers, and Benchers may sit on several committees and/or task forces in any given year.
The Benchers hold meetings five times each year, with four meetings held in Calgary and one meeting being an annual planning retreat in June.
Committee meetings are typically held an average of five times each year and all meetings are held virtually. Mandatory education sessions related to the adjudication role of a Bencher are held several times per year.
The Law Society encourages Alberta lawyers to volunteer their skills and talents to advance the mandate of the Law Society of Alberta, namely, to protect the public interest through the regulation of Alberta lawyers.
For more information on the role of Benchers, the Board and Committees, and the Strategic Plan, visit the Law Society website.