Advertising and Fee Arrangements

On April 27, 2017, the Law Society set a cap on referral fees based on a percentage of the legal fee:15% for the first $50,000 of legal fees and 5% of all legal fees thereafter, to an absolute cap of $25,000.

Lawyers and paralegals are also required to use the following documents: 

New Referral Fee Resources - To support paralegals in understanding and complying with the new referral fee requirements, the Law Society has developed:

For more information on all referral fee requirements see the report to Convocation. See also the media release and media Q&As

On February 23, 2017, Convocation approved rule amendments to strengthen the rules governing the advertising of legal services , adding new public protection measures. 

The Advertising And Fee Arrangement Issues Working Group will continue to consider contingency fee arrangements, and advertising and fees in real estate. 

 
The Advertising And Fee Arrangement Issues Working Group  

The Law Society’s Advertising and Fee Issues Working Group is continuing to consider potential regulatory responses to issues relating to advertising, referral fees, and contingency and other fee practices.

The Working Group received a great deal of information about these issues, including advertising that may be false or misleading and fees that are not transparent and appear to have an impact on the way in which legal services are being provided, including:

  • Advertising for legal services with a view to obtaining referral fees
  • Use of endorsements and awards that are not objectively verifiable
  • Lack of clarity in “all-in” pricing for legal services
  • Disproportionate referral fees, both upfront and as a percentage of the result in a contingency fee matter
  • Lack of transparency in contingent and referral fee arrangements  

The nature and volume of advertising for legal services is evolving rapidly, along with the legal services marketplace. The Law Society established the working group, in February 2016, to determine whether by-law and rule amendments may help ensure advertising and fee practices continue to be accurate, transparent and in the public interest.

History


 


 

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2011 – 2014 – Concerns about advertising are growing. A specialized Investigations team is established to respond. Complaints grow from 115 to 141 complaints, including those initiated by the Law Society.
2015 – Professional Regulation Committee develops proposed amendments to Rules of Professional Conduct and conducts a  Call for Input.


 

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Nov 2015 - Professional Regulation Committee reviews input and determines further study is required before deciding on advertising and marketing rules.

Feb 2016 – Professional Regulation Committee establishes the Advertising and Fee Arrangements Working Group.


 

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March to May 2016 – The Working Group holds focus group meetings with legal organizations and the professions to gain better understanding of current practices and issues.
June 2016 – The Working Group reports overview of input to Professional Regulation Committee and Convocation. ( Working Group Report Tab 2.2.2)


 

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July 2016 – Call for Feedback to licensees about potential regulatory responses. ( Working Group Report Tab 2.2.1
Sept 2016 – Call for Feedback closes. The Working Group will review feedback received.


 


 

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Feb 2017 – The Working Group reports to the Professional Regulation Committee and Convocation.

 April 2017 - Working Group recommends referral fee cap and other regulatory measures.

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Related Documents:

pdf-icon  Professional Regulation Committee Report to Convocation - April 2017

pdf-iconProfessional Regulation Committee Report to Convocation - February 2017

pdf-icon  Fact Sheet - February 2017    

pdf-iconProfessional Regulation Committee Report to Convocation - June 2016

pdf-iconCall for Feedback Fact Sheet - July 2016