• 5th Annual Advocacy Skills Workshop

    February 1st, 2018
    12:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
    7th Floor Jurors' Lounge
    John Sopinka Courthouse
    (45 Main Street East, Hamilton)

    Read more

  • 16th Annual Estates & Trusts Seminar

    February 8th, 2018
    1:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
    Sheraton Hamilton Hotel - Grand Ballroom
    (116 King Street West, Hamilton) 

    Read more

  • 13th Annual Commercial Litigation Seminar

    February 21st, 2018
    9:00 a.m. - 1:45 p.m.
    Sheraton Hamilton Hotel - East Ballroom
    (116 King Street West, Hamilton)

    Read more

  • Looking for a Lawyer in Hamilton?

    Search our Membership Directory by:
    First & Last Name
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    LSUC Certified Specialist
    Language other than English

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  • Looking for a legal job in Hamilton?

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Upcoming Events

    

Latest HLA News

FOLA Working Group on Advertising and Fee Issues

Posted on: Mar 09, 2017

Convocation of the Law Society of Upper Canada has received a report from the Professional Regulation Committee and its Working Group on Advertising and Fee Issues.  The report represents the first in a series of recommendations that will be coming from the Working Group over the coming months.  This first report is meant to address the most pressing matters first, but by no means is the work of the Working Group completed. 

A copy of the report being debated by the Benchers has been posted to the Law Society web-site, a copy of which is ATTACHED HERE.

We are very pleased with the recommendations being made by the Working Group.  On almost every major point, the Working Group has agreed with the recommendation of FOLA and many other like-minded professional bodies.  Specifically, the Working Group is recommending:

  1. Prohibition of referral fees between licensees, or (if that recommendation is not adopted) the imposition of strict monetary caps on referral fees and transparency measures for client protection
  2. Changes to the rules governing lawyer and paralegal advertising to:
    1. Require lawyers and paralegals to identify their type of license in any advertising
    2. Guide licensees as to the appropriate use of awards and honours, and to protect the public from misleading use of awards and honours when necessary,
    3. Prohibit licensees to advertise for work that they are not licensed to do, not competent to do or do not actually intend to do;
    4. Prohibit advertising of second opinion services

There are only three major provisions of our submissions which were not addressed in detail in the report, but we are hopeful that these will be addressed in future reports.  The three major provisions of our submissions are as follows:

1. Our recommendation that the Law Society dedicate sufficient resources to investigate and prosecute breaches of these rules (and in fact, we submitted that the existing rules, before any amendments, were sufficient in our view to make a case against much of the questionable advertising practices found across Ontario;

  • On this point, the Law Society has in recent weeks struck a dedicated task-force of investigators and staff in the Professional Regulation department to look into advertising cases and we have been told that this group is presently looking at over ninety active cases.  FOLA is presently considering whether to file more complaints that we have come across.  We are also watching closely to ensure that this task-force is properly resourced and that the investigations result in prosecutions. 

2. Our recommendation to address the question of what constitutes an “all-in-fee” when lawyers advertise their real-estate fees.  We recommended some standardization of what constitutes a “fee” and what constitutes an appropriate “disbursement” so that lawyers cannot mislead with an opening fee that is not reflected in the final invoice. 

  • The report is silent on this specific point, but the general direction of this report is to encourage greater transparency, especially to the public.  Our Real Estate Committee will take a closer look at this report and, if warranted, bring the matter back to the Real Estate Working Group of the Law Society with a request to deal with it there.

3. Our recommendation to amend the commentary to section 4.2-1(c) to put some clarification on what is meant by “marketing that … is consistent with a high standard of professionalism”.

  • As we noted in our submissions, while it is difficult to regulate “taste”, the standards for “professionalism” should surely deem advertising for personal injury in bus shelters outside of hospitals and ads for legal services placed above urinals in the men’s room, for example, to be both in bad taste and unprofessional.

In our view, unless these standards of professionalism are raised and enforced, the result of the other changes to the advertising and referral fee regime could well be that the current bad actors when it comes to advertising and referrals will simply expand their in-house lawyer base and continue with their mass advertising, regardless of how unprofessional it becomes.  On this matter, we are encouraging some of the Benchers not on the Committee to ask questions at Convocation and hope that the Working Group will reconsider this matter. 

 

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FOLA News

FOLA Working Group on Advertising and Fee Issues

Posted on: Mar 09, 2017

Convocation of the Law Society of Upper Canada has received a report from the Professional Regulation Committee and its Working Group on Advertising and Fee Issues.  The report represents the first in a series of recommendations that will be coming from the Working Group over the coming months.  This first report is meant to address the most pressing matters first, but by no means is the work of the Working Group completed. 

A copy of the report being debated by the Benchers has been posted to the Law Society web-site, a copy of which is ATTACHED HERE.

We are very pleased with the recommendations being made by the Working Group.  On almost every major point, the Working Group has agreed with the recommendation of FOLA and many other like-minded professional bodies.  Specifically, the Working Group is recommending:

  1. Prohibition of referral fees between licensees, or (if that recommendation is not adopted) the imposition of strict monetary caps on referral fees and transparency measures for client protection
  2. Changes to the rules governing lawyer and paralegal advertising to:
    1. Require lawyers and paralegals to identify their type of license in any advertising
    2. Guide licensees as to the appropriate use of awards and honours, and to protect the public from misleading use of awards and honours when necessary,
    3. Prohibit licensees to advertise for work that they are not licensed to do, not competent to do or do not actually intend to do;
    4. Prohibit advertising of second opinion services

There are only three major provisions of our submissions which were not addressed in detail in the report, but we are hopeful that these will be addressed in future reports.  The three major provisions of our submissions are as follows:

1. Our recommendation that the Law Society dedicate sufficient resources to investigate and prosecute breaches of these rules (and in fact, we submitted that the existing rules, before any amendments, were sufficient in our view to make a case against much of the questionable advertising practices found across Ontario;

  • On this point, the Law Society has in recent weeks struck a dedicated task-force of investigators and staff in the Professional Regulation department to look into advertising cases and we have been told that this group is presently looking at over ninety active cases.  FOLA is presently considering whether to file more complaints that we have come across.  We are also watching closely to ensure that this task-force is properly resourced and that the investigations result in prosecutions. 

2. Our recommendation to address the question of what constitutes an “all-in-fee” when lawyers advertise their real-estate fees.  We recommended some standardization of what constitutes a “fee” and what constitutes an appropriate “disbursement” so that lawyers cannot mislead with an opening fee that is not reflected in the final invoice. 

  • The report is silent on this specific point, but the general direction of this report is to encourage greater transparency, especially to the public.  Our Real Estate Committee will take a closer look at this report and, if warranted, bring the matter back to the Real Estate Working Group of the Law Society with a request to deal with it there.

3. Our recommendation to amend the commentary to section 4.2-1(c) to put some clarification on what is meant by “marketing that … is consistent with a high standard of professionalism”.

  • As we noted in our submissions, while it is difficult to regulate “taste”, the standards for “professionalism” should surely deem advertising for personal injury in bus shelters outside of hospitals and ads for legal services placed above urinals in the men’s room, for example, to be both in bad taste and unprofessional.

In our view, unless these standards of professionalism are raised and enforced, the result of the other changes to the advertising and referral fee regime could well be that the current bad actors when it comes to advertising and referrals will simply expand their in-house lawyer base and continue with their mass advertising, regardless of how unprofessional it becomes.  On this matter, we are encouraging some of the Benchers not on the Committee to ask questions at Convocation and hope that the Working Group will reconsider this matter. 

 

Contact

View All Job Opportunities

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December 25th | Closed for Christmas
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Message from the President

One of the priority items to come out of the HLA Members Survey was that the membership wants us to work to improve the public image of lawyers. Indeed, if you search for lawyer quotes, you will have no trouble finding negative characterizations:

• “The trouble with the law is lawyers” (Clarence Darrow)

• “It is better to become a mouse in a cat’s mouth than a man in a lawyer’s hands” (Unknown, Spanish Proverb)

• “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers” (Henry VI, Part II, Act IV, William Shakespeare)

I decided to survey the Trustees with respect to their involvement in the community. The result was heartwarming. It produced the following list of organizations to which 10 members of the Board of Trustees have given their time in the last few years.....READ MORE


Robert Hooper, President 2017-2018

The Hamilton Law Association

The Association’s affairs are governed by trustees and officers who ensure that Association undertakings are within the mandate and in the best interests of our legal community. The many valued volunteers who are members of the numerous committees within the structure of the HLA strive to represent our membership consistently and effectively. The Anthony Pepe Memorial Law Library, operated within the scope of the HLA, is one of the largest law libraries in Ontario and houses over 30,000 volumes.

The Hamilton Law Association continues to strive to educate and support its membership in the practice of law as well as to advocate for their interests as lawyers...

The staff of the Hamilton Law Association (HLA) Library cannot provide legal advice or research to members of the public directly. The HLA Library is a private library for the use of its members, and members of the Law Society of Upper Canada only. For information on finding legal help in Ontario please try the Bora Laskin Law Library's Guide to Finding Legal Help in Ontario, or to search for a lawyer practising in the Hamilton area try the HLA Find a Lawyer page.

This Web site is not intended to provide legal advice. It is intended to supply general information to our members. The information contained and distributed on this site does not contain any legal opinions and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hamilton Law Association.

Please send comments and suggestions to our Webmaster:

CONTACT:

Marica Piedigrossi, Executive Assistant & Social Media Coordinator

Tel: 905-522-1563
Fax: 905-572-1188
Email: mpiedigrossi@hamiltonlaw.on.ca

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