Lawyers regulating lawyers (redux)?
By Alice Woolley
Cases Considered: Law Society of Upper Canada Complaint, Case No. 2012-105128
On November 3, 2011 I wrote a blog on the Law Society of British Columbia’s decision to discipline Gerry Laarakker for unethical conduct (here). Laarakker had written rude things about (and to) a lawyer, M, who had sent a demand letter to Laarakker’s client. The demand letter claimed recovery of $521.97 on the basis that Laarakker’s client’s daughter had shoplifted from M’s client. In my earlier blog I suggested that directing regulatory attention at Laarakker’s incivility was a poor use of the Law Society’s regulatory resources. My argument was that lawyers who send demand letters without a legal basis for the claim made in the letter, and with no intention to pursue the claim in court, act unethically. Law societies do not, however, appear to discipline lawyers for sending improper demand letters. The only real sanction for those lawyers is social shaming and shunning. Disciplining lawyers who are uncivil in response to arguably unethical conduct takes away the only sanction on that behaviour, and may encourage it. Such discipline is, for that reason, problematic.
For the full discussion on ABlawg, click HERE.