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Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador launches new brand

Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador executive director Brenda Grimes and president Don Anthony speak to reporters following a news conference at its building on Water Street in downtown St. John's Friday afternoon to launch the organization's new branding.
Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador executive director Brenda Grimes and president Don Anthony speak to reporters following a news conference at its building on Water Street in downtown St. John's Friday afternoon to launch the organization's new branding. - Rosie Mullaley

President, executive director say it's an effort to better help the public

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

So, you've probably seen or heard its name in passing in media reports about a lawyer being disciplined for some wrongdoing, but never knew exactly what it does or why.

The Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador wants to change that.

In an effort to help people better understand what it does in the public's interest and make information more accessible, the organization has created a new brand — with a new logo, a user-friendly website and a Twitter account.

"Everything we do is in the public interest and this new brand reflects that – approachable, professional and uniquely Newfoundland and Labrador," the organization's president, Don Anthony, said during a news conference Friday at its offices on Water Street in downtown St. John's.

Designed by Pilot Communications at a cost of approximately $50,000, the new brand features the provincial iconic iceberg as its logo, which Anthony said represents, "the depth and breadth" of the organization's work.

The Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador’s new logo.
The Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador’s new logo.

The Law Society of NL is a gatekeeper for just over 1,000 lawyers and legal professionals in the province, ensuring they are competent and fit to represent their clients. It also enforces rules and disciplines them when necessary.

Anthony explained that while the work it does benefits its members by allowing them to see the compliance requirements to help them succeed in their legal practices, its main focus and mandate is to aid the public.

"I think there may be a misapprehension — I see it occasionally — from folks that think that we act on behalf of lawyers. I've seen comments, 'Well the law society is not going to do anything.' In fact, we regulate lawyers and the one goal is to ensure that is done while maintaining, as front and centre, the public interest."

Anthony said its new website includes information about many commonly asked questions, from how to find a lawyer and what to expect from your legal services to information about how to make a complaint about your lawyer.

"We're the ones who set the rules in what it is (lawyers) can do in the day-to-day practice of law," he said.

"But in so doing, we are not doing that in a way that is meant to entirely benefit the lawyers. We are doing it in a way that's meant to benefit those who are recipients of those services, being the public.

"We're not the advocacy group (for lawyers)."

The organization's executive director, Brenda Grimes, said lawyers are not regulating themselves in isolation. She pointed out that its board of directors — benchers, as they're called — have four public representatives, while there's also public representation on the complaints authorization committee and disciplinary panel.

"The misconception is that lawyers are regulating lawyers and it's all behind closed doors and they really don't care about the public. That couldn't be further from the truth," Grimes said. "We are very much focused on what is in the public's interest and what's in the clients' interests here, and not the other way."

But they say this is just the start.

Grimes said the organization is already working on a number of initiatives to help support lawyers in their work for clients so that, ultimately, the clients' interests are better protected.

"So, we're very much focused on the future and developing more proactive tools to help regulate the profession that will support the lawyer and enhance the lawyer's work for their clients. In that way, we will protect the public's interest even better."

Grimes noted there are also plans to further develop the website to include video, as well as a list of links and useful resources for self-represented litigants.

"It's a continuous process," she said. "We plan to keep evolving."

rosie. mullaley@thetelegram.com
Twitter: TelyRosie

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