Things that Get Lawyers and Law Firms in Trouble
There seem to be lots of stories about law firms in trouble. I feel like the Edward Snowden of the legal profession, tired of seeing lawyers that focus on billable hours instead of helping people.
I write these articles to share my experiences from what I see and hear in the legal industry. ClearWay Law talks a lot about fixing the broken legal industry, but without explaining why it is broken, how can people believe that we can fix it?
Of course, all names and details have been changed so no one can identity the lawyer. Any similarities are coincidences.
A group of plaintiffs hired Lawyer X, an Alberta lawyer, as the lawyer claimed she understood how evil the fraudster was. The plaintiffs allege that the fraudster (the defendant) stole $3M from investors and Lawyer X claimed she really wanted to help. Lawyer X said she was a victim of the fraud as well.
Lawyer X claimed to want to help one of the plaintiffs, who had $400K stolen from the fraudsters. The money was meant for purchasing a property, but the defendants instead used it to pay their salaries and expenses (including a cottage on Hornby Island.)
Lawyer X said no retainer agreement was needed, which the plaintiff’s thought was strange. ClearWay Law uses a retainer agreement that is 10 pages long to make sure the client understands everything so there are no misunderstandings.
Instead of helping the plaintiffs, Lawyer X damaged the plaintiff’s chances of a settlement, and refused to return all the documents, a USB and money. When asked to provide answers, she refused, and said she had hired a lawyer to represent her. In was later discovered that lawyer X never hired a lawyer.
This was an obvious tactic used to avoid answering questions. Lawyers have a duty to protect and return client files.
Even though Lawyer X took $5000, she never managed to file herself as our new lawyer. Further, she failed to correctly get us court dates, or to respond to the opposing party’s settlement meeting request. Futher, the lawyer put the money into their general account instead of their trust account, which is against law society rules.
Law Firms In Trouble
Lawyer X blamed her staff for filing the incorrect dates with the courts. While mistakes do happen from time to time, Lawyer X at no point made any attempt to fix the issue. Further, lawyers have a duty to supervise non-lawyer staff. Regardless of who’s fault it was, Lawyer X is responsible.
Lawyer X explained to her client that she did not have the skill set to handle that area of law. She claimed there was a seminar that she wanted to attend to learn how to do it. It is against law society rules that lawyers take on files that they do not have the skill set to manage. Further, she wanted to expense the training to her clients.
Lawyer X’s negligent representation has delayed the plaintiff’s case by many months. Some of the plaintiffs lost their life savings and are desperate for a court date.
The lawyer opened up an investigation against the lawyer.
If you want to learn more about Canadian law, visit our YouTube channel.
If you want to learn more about lawyers getting in trouble, click here for another shocking story.
There seem to be no shortage of law firms in trouble. It needs to stop and the legal industry needs to improve.
Learn more about the law society in the video below.