9 Tips for dealing with an Abusive Lawyer: Advice for self-represented litigants, Part 4

Abusive Lawyers vs. Self-Represented Litigants

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

Today, a reader told me yet another tale of an abusive lawyer and a court that refused to do anything about it. The judge advised the self-represented litigant that court involves “a certain amount of rough and tumble” and they should “get used to it.”

Indeed, that ‘rough and tumble’ against self-represented litigants can involve almost anything when courts let lawyers go over the line. And judges do let abusive lawyers get away with it – every day.

One lesson self-represented persons soon learn is that the respect and courtesy so evident between opposing lawyers, in and out of court, immediately vanishes when a non-lawyer sets foot onto the sacred turf of the legal brotherhood.

Every person who has been a self-represented litigant (SRL) in anything more than a minor civil claim or traffic court knows exactly what I am talking about. Lawyers view self-reps as ‘easy pickin’s’ because, well, we are. Self-represented persons often describe how lawyers deliberately use shows of anger, personal space invasion, belittling comments and sarcasm to intimidate and confuse, both in and out of court.

Summary Judgments as a legal strategy against Self-Represented Persons

Even worse, many lawyer-bullies use their status and credibility as officers of the court and their legal knowledge to deliberately ‘set-up’ self-represented persons in a long-term litigation strategy designed to obtain a Summary Judgment and dismiss the case before trial.

As part of their technique, these abusive lawyers deliberately overwhelm self-reps with a tsunami of emailed communications, always wait to the last minute to serve motions, and use a hundred practiced devices to bully SRLs into becoming ineffective or – much better for the lawyer – goad the SRL into foolish acts of aggression or non-compliance with required legal procedures.

Julie Macfarlane, National Self-Represented Litigants Project

Julie Macfarlane, National Self-Represented Litigants Project

In the court hallways where there is no record, some lawyers aggressively demand unrealistic procedural concessions or case schedules that are designed to place self-reps at a disadvantage. Some lawyers deliberately misrepresent these hallway conversations to the court.

Some unethical lawyers falsely claim to the court that they sent letters or even served documents via courier when it never happened. They then petition the court that the self-represented litigant is irresponsible or vexatious in not responding to the “very reasonable, courteous communications” of the lawyer. Professor Julie Macfarlane and her colleagues at the National Self-Represented Litigants Project found shocking results in their studies of Summary Judgments against self-reps.

Don’t let it happen to you.

Here are 9 Tips for dealing with an Abusive Lawyer 

1. Always remain calm. Lawyer-bullies try to provoke self-represented litigants into inappropriate behaviour and into making inappropriate statements both in and out of the courtroom, on the record and off. Don’t be driven by emotion; the lawyer-bullies aren’t, no matter how angry or threatening they sound. As Michael Corleone says in The Godfather, “It’s not personal. It’s strictly business.” Know their game and be prepared.  Read more

Ontario lawyer despairs that the legal profession places Privilege over Public Interest

Julie Macfarlane, National Self-Represented Litigants Project

Julie Macfarlane, National Self-Represented Litigants Project

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

As usual, Julie Macfarlane doesn’t hesitate to speak the truths that many in the legal profession find so difficult to acknowledge in public, or even admit to themselves.

Her latest piece is superb and well worth your time, especially if you are a lawyer or a judge. The article should be required reading in every law school in the country.

For me, the one issue in Julie’s article that stands out above everything is how the legal profession, including the Law Society of Upper Canada, usually places privilege over public interest. Lawyers and former lawyers (called ‘judges’) most often choose to protect their own even at the expense of the public interest and the public trust.

Notwithstanding that the vast majority of lawyers and judges are hard-working, ethical, and decent people, the current culture of the legal profession punishes members who dare to report or even acknowledge specific professional misconduct by other lawyers. The standard in the profession is that it is permissible to talk about ethics and misconduct generally, but woe unto the lawyer or judge who points a finger. In many ways this is very similar to the protectionist culture found in policing organizations.

Those in the legal profession who won’t circle the wagons and stand with ‘the Club’ soon find themselves standing alone, with no referrals and few lunch invitations at best. At worst, they are squeezed out of their firms, find their careers diminished and themselves under attack.

As Julie Macfarlane says,

“It’s not the people in the legal profession who are the problem.

It’s what the profession has become.”

Julie Macfarlane: Why I Sometimes feel Despair about the Profession I Love

Canadians are well aware of what the legal profession has become, just as they are well aware of the legal profession’s pretensions of public interest. Ordinary Canadians get it – they just lack the power and capability to do anything about a profession that is entirely self-regulating and accountable only unto itself.   Read more

Ghomeshi verdict highlights a Double Standard

Former CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi

Former CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi

Courts slam witnesses for lying, but one group gets a pass.

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

The reality in criminal courts is, like it or not, that if a major witness is exposed lying, fabricating evidence, grossly exaggerating or in any way modifying their evidence to better ensure a conviction, then the charges against the accused will likely be dismissed.

Jian Ghomeshi, the former CBC Radio host, was found not guilty on four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance in connection with allegations made by three women. The judge overseeing the case, Ontario Court Justice William Horkins, said about the witnesses, “The act of suppression of the truth will be as damaging to their credibility as a direct lie under oath.”

Each of the three witnesses did not tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but truth, therefore the judge tossed the charges.

Justice Horkins came down hard on the witnesses, going as far as to criticize the three complainants for their “willingness to ignore their oath to tell the truth on more than one occasion.” (Globe & Mail: Truth and deception: Ghomeshi verdict a good day for justice)

The judge found that the witnesses were on a mission to bring Mr. Ghomeshi down. In one of the thousands of e-mails Ms. DeCoutere exchanged with S.D, she said she wanted to see Ghomeshi “decimated.” Add the fact that each of the witnesses was caught lying to the court and you open the door for charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice and commit perjury. Those charges will not happen because the public would be outraged, but perjury is perjury even if the witness was sexually assaulted and is truly a victim.

Ghomsehi was a trial very much in the public eye, so everything had to be done according to the law as best as the judge could. Public interest and press scrutiny really do assist to keep judges on the straight and narrow.

Justice Horkins did what had to be done in the Jian Ghomeshi case. He followed the rule of law and ignored the political, public and other influences.

Double Standard when it comes to lying to the court

The judge’s action in Ghomeshi highlights a double standard in the justice system; the courts always condemn witnesses for lying – but regularly look the other way when lawyers lie to the judge and knowingly place false evidence into the court record.

Even when irrefutable evidence proves that lawyers fabricated evidence and lied to the court, the rules about perjury and obstruction of justice go by the wayside as the legal profession and the courts do everything possible to save fellow members of ‘The Club’ – even if it means sending an innocent man to jail.

Superior Court Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy

Superior Court Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy

In my case, Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy convicted me in absentia (I was not present) of ‘contempt of civil court’ and sentenced me to three months in jail; during a hearing I was unaware of.

I was in Asia at the time when opposing lawyers rushed through a civil costs hearing over the Christmas season. At that hearing, lawyers Gerald Rankin and Lorne Silver lied to Justice Shaughnessy and knowingly placed false evidence into the court record.

The lawyers falsely told the judge in a written ‘Statement for the Record’ and also orally in court that, during a phone call with the lawyers, I told them that I had received a copy of a certain court order. In fact, during that phone call I told the lawyers over twelve times that I had not received the court order and would they please send it to me.

Later, when confronted with my letter to the judge accusing them of lying to the court and fabricating evidence, Mr. Ranking (Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP) and Mr. Silver (Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP) doubled down on their corrupt activities and assured Justice Shaughnessy that their version of the events was true, that they categorically rejected my version and that I was therefore lying.

What Ranking and Silver did not know was that I had secretly recorded the phone call.  Read more

Advice for self-represented litigants, Part 3: LSUC Bencher Joseph Groia “Lawyer-bullies prey on the weak and inexperienced”

Lawyers Gerry Ranking and Lorne Silver-private

Lawyers Gerald Ranking (left) & Lorne Silver. Strategies for cross-examination of self-represented litigant included screaming, yelling foul words and throwing objects at the witness. (as indicated in transcripts of cross-examination with the Judge not present. The lawyers later apologized to the court, but not to the self-represented litigant.)

The Legal Profession’s culture of bullying

Law Society of Upper Canada bencher Joseph Groia and BC lawyer Gerry Laarakker are two of the high profile people weighing in with comments on law professor Adam Dodek’s excellent article: Ending Bullying in the Legal Profession.

In January 2012, the Law Society of British Columbia found Laarakker guilty of misconduct for not being polite to a bullying Ontario lawyer. Laarakker had to pay $4,500 in fines and costs. The Ontario lawyer-bully walked free because the legal profession has a culture of bullying that law societies tolerate and even support through attacks on lawyers who stand against the practice.

According to lawyer Katarina Germani of Clyde & Co. LLP in Toronto, “(lawyer-bully) behaviour is so often normalized by the profession.”

And as Chris Budgell comments, bullying by lawyers is a problem in the courts, not just within law firms.

Self-represented litigants need to be aware of lawyer-bullies

There is a sometimes difficult to define line between a lawyer diligently representing their client – and engaging in bullying. Although there are contrary opinions I’m sure, I believe that most judges and most lawyers dealing with self-represented litigants try to be fair – if for no other reason than to avoid appeals and complaints.

But, as LSUC bencher Joseph Groia points out, some lawyers are bullies who attempt to prey on the weak and inexperienced. That description certainly includes self-represented litigants.

In my own case, during a January 2013, cross-examination where the judge was not present, senior counsel Lorne S. Silver of Cassels Brock & Blackwell yelled, screamed foul language at the top of his voice and threw objects at me. All this is supported in the transcripts. Co-counsel Gerald Ranking of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP later apologized to the court (but not to me), for the disgusting behaviour, of which Mr. Ranking played his own part during the same cross-examination.  Read more

Ontario’s Law Society of Upper Canada approved & licensed known pedophile to be children’s lawyer – with predictable results.

John David Coon Lawyer Pedophile-private

“Coon was given a licence to practice law in Ontario despite a history that included a prior criminal conviction for sexually assaulting a child.

According to the documents, Coon revealed in 2004 to the Law Society that he had been convicted of sexually assaulting a friend’s 12-year-old daughter in 1991.

… But the Law Society determined there was insufficient evidence to justify what is known as a “good character” hearing after Coon produced a “favourable” report from a psychologist who had treated him from 1990 to 1994…” (National Post)

Ontario Lawyer John David Coon is on the run. Arrest warrant issued.

Accused of sexually assaulting 4-year old girl while acting in his professional capacity as an Ontario lawyer.

Thought to be hiding in Thailand or Cambodia.

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

Far be it that I, or any ordinary Canadian, should attempt to define professional standards for Ontario’s Law Society of Upper Canada.

After all, the Law Society has arranged it so that lawyers are unaccountable to anyone but their fellow members of the Club. Ontario lawyers are only regulated and judged by the same people they went to law school with, worked with and attended office and family functions with.

These same members of the Club decided that a convicted pedophile met the ‘good character’ standards to be licensed as a lawyer in Ontario. Not to mention that the pedophile’s area of practice was ‘Child Protection Law’.

Well, if that’s the standard, who are we ordinary Canadians to disagree?

With the Club.   Read more

Anonymous Companies: Global Witness undercover investigation shows 25% of lawyers will money launder

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

An undercover investigation by Global Witness found that twenty-five percent of the New York lawyers they approached were willing to become involved in moving suspect monies into the United States. Several of the lawyers even suggested that their trust accounts could be used for the purpose.

The Global Witness investigation highlights the role of anonymously-owned companies in avoiding detection of money laundering. Most of the unethical lawyers in the hidden videos suggested using anonymously-owned companies and even layers of companies to money-launder.

What is most shocking about the 25% rate of corruption is that these were all cold calls by an undercover investigator.

A stranger walked in the door and 25% of the lawyers laid out strategies to enable money-laundering or otherwise agreed to participate to varying degrees. It is reasonable to assume that some of the lawyers who refused to participate did so because they were suspicious of the undercover investigator. Some would probably have agreed to money launder had they been approached by an existing client, therefore the Global Witness figure of 25% is probably low. Perhaps very low.

Gerald L Ranking Fasken noncopyright Photo-SAN

Fasken Martineau Toronto lawyer Gerald L Ranking knowingly used a phoney, non-existent ‘corporate client’ to commit fraud upon Canadian courts. Where did the million dollars go?  Why didn’t Ranking submit costs to the Supreme Court of Canada?

In context, the Global Witness investigation is nothing less than an indictment of the legal profession – including of former lawyers who are now called ‘judges’. If I belonged to a profession where 25% of my colleagues were shown to be corrupt, I’d be embarrassed, upset and determined to clean up the profession – and I don’t mean just polishing the profession’s image by making excuses.

Dirty money is dirty money, whether taken by corrupt Lawyers or corrupt Police

Donald Best from an organized crime squad photo, mid-1980's

Toronto Police Sergeant Donald Best. From an organized crime squad photo, mid-1980’s

In 1985 when I was a Toronto Police officer working undercover in 52 Division, my squad mates and I received stacks of cash as bribes from organized crime. Yes, we took the cash and much more… but please read on!

Gang members offered us hundreds of thousands of dollars, plus fabulous vacations (and stunningly gorgeous women), for doing nothing more than looking the other way and not raiding certain gambling and prostitution establishments in the heart of downtown Toronto. An extra hundred thousand dollars a year per man (tax free cash) was quite a sum in 1985.

Were we tempted? Not even for an instant.

We were police officers; steadfast, independent agents of Her Majesty and Canada, and proud of it. So we organized a sting that went on far longer and far deeper than any of us ever imagined was possible.

We took the bribes under controlled conditions and found ourselves diving deep into the corrupt relationships between organized crime, lawyers, former lawyers, politicians, public officials and law enforcement. (And no… we didn’t take the offered women. We brought in female undercover officers to pose as our squad ‘groupies’. That story deserves its own book.) Read more

From St. Matthew to Brad Pitt: The Ethics and Regulation of Expert Witnesses

 

Professor Adam Dodek Allard Law-private

The J. Donald Mawhinney Lecturship in Professional Ethics

Speaker: Associate Professor Adam Dodek

Lecture: “From St. Matthew to Brad Pitt: The Ethics and Regulation of Expert Witnesses”

Thursday, March 17, 2016 – 5pm to 6pm (lecture) – 6pm to 7pm (reception)

Four Seasons Hotel (Vancouver), Arbutus Room

RSVP by email or phone (604.822.5018)
The deadline to RSVP is March 15, 2016

This event qualifies for 1.0 CPD credit

About the lecture:

In recent years, many concerns have been raised about the role and the regulation of expert witnesses. Many of these concerns are not new. Critics have been questioning the ability of expert witnesses to be independent since at least the 19th century. This lecture will examine the ethical expectations of expert witnesses and evaluate how the justice system attempts to regulate their ethical conduct. It concludes that not only is the current approach to the regulation of expert witnesses insufficient, it is fundamentally flawed. A new paradigm is needed for the regulation of expert witnesses, one which imposes obligations on all actors in the justice system: lawyers, judges as well as experts.

In recent years, many concerns have been raised about the role and the regulation of expert witnesses. Many of these concerns are not new. Critics have been questioning the ability of expert witnesses to be independent since at least the 19th century. This lecture will examine the ethical expectations of expert witnesses and evaluate how the justice system attempts to regulate their ethical conduct. It concludes that not only is the current approach to the regulation of expert witnesses insufficient, it is fundamentally flawed. A new paradigm is needed for the regulation of expert witnesses, one which imposes obligations on all actors in the justice system: lawyers, judges as well as experts.

About the speaker:

Adam Dodek is an Associate Professor at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law. He is a graduate of McGill, Harvard Law School and the University of Toronto and a member of the bars of Ontario and California. He has clerked for the Supreme Courts of Canada and Israel and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He is a founder of the Canadian Association of Legal Ethics (CALE) and was named by Canadian Lawyer in 2014 as one of Canada’s Most Influential Lawyers. In 2015, the Law Society of Upper Canada awarded him its Law Society Medal.

Adam Dodek is an Associate Professor at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law. He is a graduate of McGill, Harvard Law School and the University of Toronto and a member of the bars of Ontario and California. He has clerked for the Supreme Courts of Canada and Israel and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He is a founder of the Canadian Association of Legal Ethics (CALE) and was named by Canadian Lawyer in 2014 as one of Canada’s Most Influential Lawyers. In 2015, the Law Society of Upper Canada awarded him its Law Society Medal.

When big law firm lawyers won’t say ‘No’ to unethical demands from major clients

Canadian Bar Association’s Ethics Forum underlines why ordinary citizens should involve themselves in the discussion. Legal Ethics are too important to be left to the legal profession alone.

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

In life and in legal practice, sometimes making an ethical decision is simple, even easy. Other times, doing the right thing, no matter how carefully considered, seems to be an impossiblity given all the circumstances.

In any profession the laws, practices, technologies and societal expectations are constantly changing in ways that make new difficulties for anyone trying to behave ethically. While I’m sure that plumbers and ceramic tile installers have their ethical concerns and codes of conduct, I think you’ll agree with me that along with medicine, the practice of law is probably one of the most difficult professions when it comes to the challenge of behaving ethically.

The Canadian Bar Association’s Ethics Forum is coming up on March 7, 2016. I won’t be attending but I just might next year after my book is published, because the one thing that seems to be missing at these conferences is the perspective from outside of the legal communities.

While some lawyers may not appreciate independent civilian involvement and oversight of the legal profession, virtually all ordinary Canadians I’ve spoken with agree that laws and the practice of law are far too important and foundational to our society to be left to lawyers alone.

The list of speakers and moderators at this year’s Ethics Forum includes many of the ‘Who’s Who’ leaders in the area of legal ethics. Malcolm Mercer (McCarthy Tetrault LLP) and Alice Woolley (University of Calgary) are the co-chairs. Dr. Steven Vaughan (University of Birmingham) will deliver the keynote speech.

Other panelists and moderators include:

  • Brent Cotter, University of Saskatchewan
  • Elaine Craig, Schulich School of Law
  • Adam Dodek, University of Ottawa
  • Allan Fineblit, Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP
  • Charles Gluckstein, Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers
  • Stephen Goudge, Paliare Roland LLP
  • Julia Holland, Torys LLP
  • Gavin Hume, Harris & Co
  • Jasminka Kalajdzic, Windsor Law School
  • Darrel Pink, Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society
  • Stephen Pitel, Western University
  • Amy Salyzyn, University of Ottawa
  • Noel Semple, Windsor Law School

Although I won’t be attending this year, I do have an ethical question for the panels to consider, especially in light of the topic of Dr. Vaughan’s keynote address about the too-cosy relationships between large law firms and some major clients:

Example Situation: A Large Law Firm lawyer acts unethically. Should the law firm refund the client’s payments for ‘work done’?

And just to make it interesting for the discussion panels at the Ethics Forum, the following example is real, and involves one of the law firms (but not the lawyers) participating on the panels:    Read more

Advice for self-represented litigants, Part 1: Walking away is sometimes the best decision

Walking on Ice Litigation-private

Self-represented Litigant: “But I have so much invested in this case.”

Me: “You haven’t seen anything yet. You still have a car and a wife. If you continue, both will be gone by Summer.”

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

Not a week goes by that I don’t receive at least two or three long emails from self-represented people who are facing personal disasters and injustices before the courts. Most of the writers tell of years-long legal battles where they started out represented by a lawyer, only to be forced by dwindling finances to take over the case themselves.

I remind them that the legal system is set up so that lawyers normally profit by dragging out litigation, not by winning or settling for their clients in a timely or effective manner.

The writers speak of their surprise in discovering that truth and justice don’t seem to matter to the courts; only the rules of civil procedure matter along with the unwritten rules of the court staff that often change on a daily basis. (Last week a white cover on filed legal documents was fine, this week it must be green, or blue. Double-sided was fine last month, but this week documents must be printed single sided… and on and on.)

While a very few of the writers are clearly unhinged (or have become so after years of obsessively seeking justice that will never happen), the vast majority who write to me are educated, intelligent people who are highly competent in their own professions. Yet, they find themselves struggling and caught up in legal systems designed to serve the needs of the legal profession first, and operated by lawyers and former lawyers (now known as ‘judges’).

Lawyers and judges frequently become angry with self-represented persons, whether their anger is due to frustration or is deliberately summoned to control, intimidate or damage. The system seems designed to allow lawyers to overwhelm and destroy citizens who cannot afford the price of legal counsel; even when the facts dictate that any jury would side with the self-represented litigant.   Read more

Big Law firms’ anonymous internet postings about clients, cases and legal opposition. Part 1 in a new series.

Miller Thomson Computer Crime SAN

“Let’s start with Miller Thomson LLP’s anonymous Internet postings about the National Hockey League Players Association and work up from there.”

Is it ethical for lawyers to anonymously post on the Internet about their cases, clients and legal opponents?

by Donald Best

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

Since at least 2004, personnel from Miller Thomson LLP’s Toronto law office made dozens of anonymous Internet postings on Wikipedia.org and other websites; about clients, opponents and others involved in ongoing legal matters. I’ve also discovered that some other Big Law firms similarly made anonymous postings over the years.

But before the public calls upon the Law Society of Upper Canada to investigate, we had better ask “Who will watch the watchmen?”

As an example, my investigations show that in 2009 personnel from the law society themselves posted anonymously on Wikipedia.org about then Osgoode law student Wendy Babcock, a former Toronto sex-worker and political organizer. Babcock later committed suicide in 2011.

This extraordinary information is easily confirmed online by anyone with Internet access.

You’ll be able to confirm everything for yourself after reading this and other articles in the series. (So will investigators from the Law Society of Upper Canada; not that LSUC takes any action against BIG LAW firms like Miller Thomson LLP, but that is a separate issue.)

National Hockey League Players Association

Personnel from Miller Thomson’s Toronto law office anonymously posted on the Internet about the National Hockey League Players Association, former NHLPA Executive Director Bob Goodenow and then NHLPA associate counsel Ian Pulver.

These anonymous Internet postings appear to have been made at a time when Miller Thomson LLP either represented some of the subjects of the articles, or represented other clients in existing and/or potential legal proceedings or negotiations involving the subjects.

Over the years, Miller Thomson law office personnel also made many other anonymous Internet postings about persons and entities involved in legal actions, negotiations and labour disputes. Although their motives are not always apparent, one thing that is clear is that Miller Thomson personnel chose to make these Internet postings anonymously instead of using their real names or attributing the postings to Miller Thomson.

Are MIller Thomson’s actions ethical? Do their actions contravene any rules of the Law Society of Upper Canada?

Lawyers and other law firm personnel deal with privileged, confidential and intimately private information daily. That these same lawyers and staff would anonymously post information online about their clients, cases and legal opponents should be of grave concern to the legal profession and governing bodies because it tends to undermine public confidence in lawyers and thus in the justice system itself.

Forensic investigations revealed the truth about this little-known activity by law firm personnel. Other Big Law firms have been up to the same thing: a coming article in the series will consider anonymous Internet postings by Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP and some other BIG LAW firms.

Are lawyers and law office personnel allowed to make anonymous Internet postings about their legal cases, clients and opponents?

To the ordinary Canadian, the Rules of Professional Conduct as posted on the website of the Law Society of Upper Canada appear to be so general and vague as to be almost useless as a guide in some of the incidents documented in this series. Other incidents I present in this new series are, however, obviously in violation of the LSUC Rules and of various Federal and Provincial laws as well.

Perhaps some lawyers out there might be able to comment after reading this article and others in the series.

I have identified a number of different types of anonymous internet activities that Miller Thomson and some other Canadian lawyers, law firms and legal personnel appear to be engaged in. In order of increasingly serious conduct:

  1. Anonymously changing the online public record about clients, cases and legal opponents.
  2. Anonymously spreading online rumours, misinformation & discord.
  3. Serious misconduct, including anonymous online threats against opposing witnesses, harassment, posting of confidential information including Identity Information as defined in the Criminal Code.

Once again, all of these activities happen in situations where the subjects of the anonymous conduct are either legal clients or opposing entities. And, in at least three examples I’ve found, personnel from law firms made anonymous internet postings about competing law firms and lawyers.

NHLPA Logo-private

Example #1: Miller Thomson personnel anonymously changed the public internet record about Robert W. “Bob” Goodenow, Executive Director of the National Hockey League Players Association       Read more

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