The Law Society’s Practice Management Helpline is a confidential telephone service for Ontario lawyers and paralegals.
The Law Society’s Practice Management Helpline answers questions about the Rules of Professional Conduct, the Paralegal Rules of Conduct, and other professionalism and practice management topics, including paralegal scope of practice under By-Law 4, client identification and verification obligations of By-Law 7.1 as well as the trust account and record keeping requirements of By-Law 9.
There are limits to the assistance that the Helpline can provide. The Helpline cannot:
- provide formal oral or written opinions
- discuss substantive or procedural law, except as the law relates to the Helpline’s Mandate
- advise on entire transactions
- review documents
- mediate matters between lawyers or paralegals, or their staff or firms
- assist with complaints that have been made to the Law Society
- assess the conduct of another lawyer or paralegal, or
- offer counselling or supports related to a lawyer or paralegal’s personal issues.
If you are an Ontario lawyer, paralegal, law student, judge or one of their family members and you require support related to addiction, mental or physical health, work-life balance, career, family or other personal issues, please contact the Members’ Assistance Program.
The Helpline does not provide assistance to the public. Please see Services for the Public.
To reach other departments of the Law Society, please see the Departmental Contacts.
About the Helpline
The Helpline is staffed by experienced representatives and counsel. If your matter requires counsel input, a representative will have a member of the Helpline’s counsel team contact you.
The Helpline is a service for Ontario lawyers and paralegals that is strictly confidential, even from other divisions or departments of the Law Society. However, it is not anonymous. When you call to discuss your situation, a representative will verify your identity as an Ontario-licensed lawyer or paralegal (or his or her authorized representative) to confirm that you are eligible to use our services before we answer your practice management questions. Helpline counsel, like all Ontario-licensed lawyers, remain bound by their obligations under rule 7.1-3 of the Rules of Professional Conduct to report lawyer or paralegal conduct in certain limited circumstances.
Preparing to call the Helpline
Before contacting the Helpline, consider whether the information that you are seeking might be found in any of the following:
If you are unable to reach an answer to your question through these sources, consider the following when preparing to contact or contacting the Helpline:
- The Helpline cannot assist you with a complaint. The Helpline cannot prevent a complaint from being filed against you, assist you with a complaint if one has already been filed against you, or discuss an open complaint.
- The Helpline will speak with Ontario-licensed lawyers or paralegals or, where appropriate, their authorized representatives. In some cases, the Helpline will answer inquiries from a lawyer or paralegal’s authorized representative (e.g., an assistant, clerk, or student calling on a lawyer or paralegal’s behalf). In other cases, the Helpline’s representative or counsel will need to speak with the lawyer or paralegal. This may occur because an authorized representative does not have sufficient information about the situation or there may be significant risk to the lawyer or paralegal if the situation is not handled with care.
- Set out detailed information in your voicemail. Because of the Helpline’s call volume, sometimes a representative will not be available and it will be necessary for you to leave a voicemail. We will call you back within one business day. To assist the Helpline in processing your inquiry quickly, provide the following information in your voicemail:
- Your full name, including the spelling of your last name
- Your Law Society number
- Your phone number
- Your question and the subject matter
- Any restrictions on your availability for a return call
- Whether the matter is urgent or time-sensitive
- Leave only one message. If you have contacted the Helpline more than once about the same issue, let the representative or counsel know so that there is only one person handling your inquiry. If you contact us more than once, it may actually take longer to receive a reply as we will need to determine who will respond.
- Ask your question at the beginning of the call. The representative or counsel will likely have specific questions for you and you can fill in background details as necessary.
- Make notes of the information that you provide to the Helpline and about your discussion of the issues raised with the representative and/or counsel. The Helpline retains neither copies of correspondence or documentation sent to Helpline by email, fax, or mail, nor detailed notes about the information provided or discussed during a call. Lawyers and paralegals contacting the Helpline are encouraged to maintain their own records of inquiries made to the Helpline.
- Follow up with us if you have not received a return call within one business day. The Helpline endeavors to respond to all telephone inquiries within one business day. If you have not received a response from the Helpline, call us back and indicate when you previously left a message. There may, for example, have been an issue with audibility or we may not have received your message.
We want to hear from you and we are here to help.
Please call the Law Society at 416-947-3315 or toll free 1-800-668-7380 extension 3315, Monday to Friday 9:00 am-5:00 pm EST, and ask to be connected to the Helpline. Inquiries will be returned by telephone within one business day in most cases.
Information provided through the Helpline is not intended as legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Such information is not binding on the Law Society and the Law Society is not responsible for any loss or damages arising from any reliance on it. Lawyers and paralegals are responsible for individually and independently satisfying themselves of the soundness of any information provided through the Helpline.