It isn’t uncommon for real estate lawyers to be retained to act for both the purchaser of a property and the mortgage lender that is financing the purchase. However, a review of lender claims against lawyers for negligence suggests a misconception by some lawyers who believe that their only obligation to the lender client is to register the mortgage. The reality is that unless the lawyer’s retainer is explicitly limited to registering the mortgage (which should be confirmed in writing where possible), the solicitor should always be mindful of the additional responsibilities that are owed to the lender leading up . . . [more]
Archive for ‘Reading: Recommended’
Earlier this month, Kirk Makin of the Globe and Mail scooped an announcement of a major set of Reports on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters, an inititaitive that started with the Chief Justice's challenge to the Canadian Bar Association last summer.
The four Reports from Working Groups chaired by Justice Thomas Cromwell were officially released this morning:
Report of the Court Processes Simplification Working Group
Report of the Access to Legal Services Working Group
Report of the Prevention, Triage and Referral Working Group
Report of the Family Justice Working Group
The #1 cause of claims against Ontario lawyers practising in most areas of law is problems with lawyer-client communication.
Considering lawyers’ reputation for verbosity, this statistic seems counterintuitive, at least until you consider that some things are easier and more fun to talk about than others.
Fun to communicate with clients about: success (and our role in it); progress; winning; good news. NOT fun to communicate: failure (and our role in it); setbacks; losing; increase legal costs; bad news.
The risk: Failing to promptly and appropriately communicate bad news (and therefore, failing to take steps to mitigate setbacks) exposes lawyers . . . [more]
Unbundled legal services are one solution to the complex issue of access to justice and are likely to become more commonplace. Being aware of the risks of unbundled legal services will help you reduce your exposure to a malpractice claim. Here are several steps you can take to reduce your exposure to a claim when providing legal services on a limited scope basis. This was excerpted from an article in the January 2012 edition of LAWPRO Magazine, and so often refers to the Ontario Rules of Professional Conduct, but the advice could apply to any lawyer looking to . . . [more]
Lateral hiring of partners or associates occurs at firms of every size, and is becoming far more common. In addition to reviewing the transferring lawyer’s credentials and suitability, the transferring lawyer and firm will need to identify and deal with potential conflicts of interest that may arise with respect to clients at the transferring lawyer’s previous firm, and in particular, clients for whom the transferring lawyer worked.
This critical task is not as easy as it might seem on first thought. The hiring firm must have sufficient information to complete an internal conflicts check, while at the same time making . . . [more]
It is easy to understand why a corporate client might ask her lawyer to sit on the board of directors. The lawyer may have worked closely with the corporation’s founders to create the company, and will have a solid understanding of the corporation’s objectives, its relationships with industry partners, suppliers, customers and others, and the challenges it faces in the marketplace. It is also easy to understand why a lawyer might be honoured by, and readily accept, such an invitation.
However, sitting on a client’s board can be problematic for a number of reasons – from both the lawyer’s and . . . [more]
Stumped by "Organized Pseudolegal Commercial Argument"? What ABQB Chief Justice Rooke Wants From You
Among the top ten cases (decided in ANY year) accessed on CanLII in 2012 was an Alberta Queen’s Bench decision granting a routine motion to appoint a case management justice in a family proceeding. The written reasons in Meads v. Meads (2012 ABQB 571 (CanLII)), however, took 736 paragraphs, and the decision seems destined to become a Canadian classic.
In his reasons appointing himself as the case manager, Chief Justice J.D. Rooke undertook a meticulous categorization and analysis of several iterations of what he labeled “organized pseudolegal commercial argument" (OPCA). Apparently, litigants who favour these litigation strategies have plagued Canadian . . . [more]
Clients with unrealistic expectations, complaints about legal costs and dissatisfaction with results achieved are just a few of the issues addressed in the recent report from the Legal Ombudsman of the United Kingdom, The Price of Separation: Divorce related legal complaints and their causes. While the concerns raised are not new to most lawyers in family practice, the Ombudsman takes a solution-focused approach that makes this report a valuable manual on client services in family law.
The report is based upon complaints received by the Legal Ombudsman's office in 2011-12, of which some 18% related to family law matters. . . . [more]
Debate about lawyers’ incivility – whether it’s on the increase, whether it’s worthy of concern, how it should be handled – caught the attention of many of us in 2012. The subject continues to be discussed, and we can expect to hear more about it in the coming months and years.
But high-profile cases aside, when does a lawyer’s conduct cross the line into unprofessional conduct, and what are the costs and other implications?
These questions are answered in a paper by Daniel Naymark of Lax O'Sullivan Scott Lisus LLP and LAWPRO’s litigation unit director and counsel Jennifer Ip. It . . . [more]
Serving as a director of a charitable or not-for-profit corporation can be a rewarding but potentially risky experience. A director can be held personally liable for his or her own actions or failures to act, as well as jointly and severally liable with the other members of the board of directors. Directors with specialized knowledge and expertise, such as lawyers, are held to a higher standard of care.
Ontario lawyers should note that LAWPRO’s standard professional liability insurance policy provides coverage only for the “professional services” that a lawyer provides as a lawyer. It does not provide coverage for liability . . . [more]
Congratulations to Lexis-Nexis Canada and a squadron of Canadian legal authors for achieving what many of us doubted that we would ever see, a contemporary Canadian legal encyclopaedia. Halsbury's Laws of Canada has reached its seventy-seventh volume as a statement of common-law Canadian law in English.
Lexis took over the ground floor bar at Toronto's Trump Hotel and flew in from the sunny California campus of Pepperdine University, the grand old man of Canadian tort law, Allen Martin Linden. And of course a Butterworths author and latterly a Lexis-Nexis author.
While AML delivered the one-liners, Halsburys is testament to the . . . [more]
Effective file management provides the foundation for timely, valuable client service and appropriate management of client matters. Here are some resolutions to help you complete the critical steps in file management:
- I will complete a conflicts check before opening a file: Conflicts of interest can lead to ugly and expensive malpractice claims. The best time to catch and avoid a conflicts claim is during a thorough conflicts search before a file is opened. A thorough search looks for conflicts involving both the client(s) and others connected with a matter.
- I will open a file for every matter I handle
. . . [more]