The Law Society encourages issues to be resolved privately, between complainant and lawyer or paralegal, before a complaint is brought before them.
The Law Society handles the following issues concerning lawyers’ and paralegals’ behavior, as outlined on their website:
“Issues relating to service, ethics or honesty, communications (including failure to reply to communications or to report on a transaction), delay, misleading, rude and discriminatory behavior, or failure to account for, or the improper handling of, money.”
There are many issues beyond the scope of the Law Society’s power, so consulting with another lawyer or paralegal, or exploring options in the civil or criminal courts, is suggested. Additionally, the Law Society is unable to review complaints more than three years beyond the date the problem occurred or was brought to your attention.
The complaint process begins with the submission of a complaint form; upon receipt, the complaint is acknowledged, and the complainant is issued a file number.
If the complaint is beyond the scope of the LSO or if there is insufficient information to suggest that the Licensee engaged in professional misconduct or were unable to meet the requirements of their role, the LSO will administratively close the file.
If the information in the complaint raises concerns for the LSO that is within their scope, they will provide the complaint to the Lawyer and ask for a response and supporting documentation. How a licensee responds is very important as it can often mean the difference between a complaint being closed or moving forward to a hearing process. If the matter moves to a hearing, a trial proceeds where the LSO prosecutes the Licensee for misconduct. The result can be dismissal, a suspension, or disbarment plus costs.
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