TORONTO, June 20, 2018 /CNW/ - A resolution reached today between lawyer Brian Goldfinger and the regulator of Ontario's legal profession will aid lawyers in navigating the rules that govern lawyer advertising.
The resolution states that Mr. Goldfinger's advertising constituted "misconduct" under the Law Society of Ontario's rules, but that it was neither dishonest nor intentionally deceptive.
Mr. Goldfinger expressed satisfaction that the resolution ends an unpleasant ordeal that began when a group of competing lawyers in London, Ont. objected to Mr. Goldfinger's marketing of his Toronto-based personal injury law firm.
"This resolution allows me to focus wholly on helping my clients and growing my thriving business," Mr. Goldfinger said. "The rules we have to follow are sometimes ambiguous and leave room for interpretation. They are also frequently updated. Growing firms like mine need to be extra careful to keep up and ensure compliance.
Mr. Goldfinger received a great deal of support in recent months from colleagues, particularly young lawyers and small firm practitioners seeking to supply clients with alternatives to long-established firms.
"The Law Society has struggled for decades with what constitutes permissible advertising and marketing," Mr. Goldfinger said. "I hope this episode will help clarify the rules for the benefit of other young lawyers and small firm owners."
Under the agreement, all parties agree to submit to the Law Society Tribunal that Mr. Goldfinger should receive an official reprimand — the most lenient sanction available. The resolution took into account the fact that each time Mr. Goldfinger was notified about concerns with his advertising, he moved swiftly and voluntarily to rectify them. It will be up to the Law Society Tribunal to determine whether to accept the joint submission at the hearing on June 20, 2018.
"I take pride in being a conscientious member of my profession," Mr. Goldfinger said. "I tried my best at every turn to respond to these concerns."
At the same time, he said, young lawyers face challenges in balancing professional requirements with the demands of the marketplace.
"Up-and-coming practitioners have to advertise their services in order to reach new clients in a highly competitive environment," Mr. Goldfinger said. "If any of my competitors felt that my advertising was unfairly taking work from them, it was completely unintentional and I corrected it promptly once I was made aware. Had they contacted me before bringing the complaint, I would have addressed their concerns immediately."
Today's resolution eliminates the need for a costly and time-consuming disciplinary proceeding.
Mr. Goldfinger's competitors brought the complaint after he extended his firm's reach into London and other cities close to Toronto. The complainants questioned the marketing of his satellite offices and advertisements asserting that Goldfinger "is London's personal injury lawyer."
Mr. Goldfinger and his associates meet with clients regularly in their satellite offices, which are shared spaces. Mr. Goldfinger takes a personal hand in virtually every case, in the pursuit of ensuring client satisfaction.
"I can only hope this case will prevent others from falling into the same traps. We are all in this together to service our clients. Clients must always be the real winners."
SOURCE Stockwoods LLP