To Volunteer or not to Volunteer

Our firm is made up of fantastic people who regularly “give back” both in the legal community and beyond it. Our Law Clerk, Christine, is a Beaver Leader and I am on the Board of Directors of the Halton County Law Association and Chair of OJEN-Halton, to name a couple of names.

This Blog is not meant to discourage volunteering, however, it is meant to ensure you do it wisely. Unfortunately, these days the adage “no good deed goes unpunished” is true more often than it should be.

From a Business Law point of view; if you volunteer to be a Director for a Corporation, be sure that you are covered under Director Liability Insurance. Additionally, ensure that all decisions you are involved in are properly documented. If you disagree with a position the Board is taking, make sure that is reflected in the Minutes of Meetings. This is all to protect you from liability in the event you are sued as a Director of the Corporation.

If you’re a lawyer, carefully look over your LawPro policy to see if your activities on the Board would be covered. If not, consider the risk to you and your firm if you are on the Board: would you be seen as offering legal advice? Tread carefully here as lawyers are generally only invited on the Board because of their legal advice.

Finally, make certain that your employer (this applies to lawyers and non-lawyers alike) does not have a policy prohibiting you from volunteering at certain organizations. “Damage to your employer’s reputation” is something you don’t want to deal with because you were “doing a good deed”.

So, go forth and be good – just protect yourself when you’re doing good.

Inga B. Andriessen JD
iandriessen@staging.andriessen.ca

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