The Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) is considering making amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct and/or the by-laws that govern lawyer advertising and fee arrangements and would like to hear from you. You have until September 30, 2016 to provide your input.
What are the Issues?
As set out in the June Report to Convocation, the LSUC Professional Regulation Committee established a Working Group in February in order to “obtain a better understanding of current advertising, referral fee and contingency fee practices in a range of practice settings, including real estate, personal injury, criminal law and paralegal practices. . .” It appears from the report that the public, lawyers, or other interested groups have been urging the LSUC to limit referral and contingency fees and take action to ensure “truth and clarity” in advertising practices.
Your Input is Needed:
The LSUC is looking for input from licensees on a variety of issues, including those summarized below:
- Advertising and fees in real estate law (i.e. how can pricing be made consistent so that clients may compare services? Is “all-in” pricing accurate?)
- Contingent fees (i.e. is there enough transparency, disclosure, etc. around contingency fee arrangements?)
- Personal Injury Advertising (i.e. who is doing the work? Is it being referred out, unknown to the public, for a substantial fee?)
- Use of Awards (i.e. should the LSUC ban the use of awards in marketing or require full disclosure if the lawyer may have paid a fee related to the award?)
- Referral Fees (i.e. should the LSUC ban up-front flat referral fees on contingent fee matters? Limit referral fees? Require lawyers to record referral fees paid or received?)