It is a waste of time to complain about a lawyer to any law society. The process is for show and nothing will be done.

IT IS 90% CERTAIN THAT, IN EFFECT, YOUR COMPLAINT WILL END UP IN THE LAW SOCIETY'S

WASTE BASKET

Law Societies cannot reduce your lawyer's bill.

Please refer to "Is Your Lawyers Bill Too High" on CanLaw  for information on how to have your lawyer's bill reviewed.

A LAW SOCIETY CAN NOT INTERVENE TO

  • regulate the amount of a lawyer's bill;
  •  give legal advice;
  • pay compensation;
  • intervene in a court proceeding;
  • change the decision of a court;
  • insist that a lawyer take a case, remain on or withdraw from a case or do something specific in a case;
  • make a finding that a lawyer was negligent;
  • review a judge's conduct.

Some examples of complaints with which law societies are supposed to deal.

  • A lawyer should always be honest and courteous. If not. there is a problem.
  • A lawyer must keep you reasonably informed. The lawyer should tell you what's happening in your case. Failure to respond within a reasonable time to your enquiry can be cause for a complaint.
  • If the lawyer says that something will be done, or the next step in the process taken by a given date, then does not do so and lets the date pass without letting you know why the delay is occurring is cause for a complaint.
  • You don't know what’s going on with your file. Withholding information from the client or misleading the client is cause for a complaint.

DO YOU HAVE A COMPLAINT AGAINST A CANADIAN LAWYER?

The law societies dismiss about 90% of the complaints they get.

Please contact your local Law Society. Your lawyer complaint must be signed and in writing.

You will be treated as second class. They will prefer the word of the lawyer over yours.

While the law societies are not to be trusted, complaining to them is the only way to get a problem heard. But your chances of an honest and fair hearing are slim and none.

The Law Society is "authorized" to deal with your complaint. They seldom do act. Lawyers get away with outrageous and even criminal conduct. Disbarred lawyers are often reinstated. So what is the use of complaining?

Law societies have a monopoly and supposedly are responsible for "making sure that their members practice law competently and ethically."

Generally the lawyer you are complaining about cannot come after you for complaining to the law society. But do not broadcast your complaint to the world or you will probably face a defamation action.

Here are some more examples of complaints  with which law societies are supposed to deal

  • The lawyer is not following your instructions.
  •    A lawyer does not reply to your phone calls or letters. Lawyers should  respond promptly to phone calls or letters and work in a timely fashion. However defining "prompt response" is not easy. You may want a call returned today, but the lawyer thinks it is OK to call back this week.
  •      A lawyer is working for opposing sides in the same case. No lawyer can act in a matter when there was or is likely to be a conflicting interest
  •      A lawyer has told other people about a client's confidential matters without the client's permission. A lawyer must respect client confidences.
  •      A lawyer is working for a client against someone who used to be a client.
  •      A lawyer's cheque is returned NSF.
  •      A lawyer acts for a client when the lawyer is in business with the client.
  •      A lawyer is rude. Delays matters. Misleads you.
  •      A lawyer does not appear to be able to handle your case, whether through lack of knowledge or other problems. Lawyers are required to maintain adequate skills to represent clients effectively.
  •      All lawyers must safeguard client funds and property and account for money entrusted to the lawyer.  A lawyer must account for all funds held on the client's behalf.
  •      A lawyer has stolen your money.
  •      A lawyer is facing criminal charges.

CanLaw is proudly independent and NOT AFFILIATED IN ANY WAY WITH ANY LAW SOCIETY ANYWHERE.

Asking a law society to help is like asking a snake not to bite you.

We are NOT lawyers. We caution all consumers to be very careful in dealing with any Law Society since they represent lawyers only. They do not represent you the client.  CanLaw provides legal information and resources. CanLaw never provides legal advice.