The word professional is battered about a lot these days. When I first went to law school, it was said that the difference between a profession and an occupation is that professionals have to put their clients, students and patients before themselves. That makes a lot of sense, though in this day and age it seems it is happening a lot less.
Recently our firm was accused of being unprofessional by a company we refused to act for after the company was unable to provide us with the documents, required by the Law Society of Ontario’s “know your client” obligations.
Obviously, refusing to act for someone because we cannot meet our professional obligations is the opposite of being unprofessional.
Of course, not every lawyer is as professional as our firm. A real estate lawyer who thought it wise to defend himself in an action brought by our firm on behalf of a client, felt that it was o.k. for him to contact our client directly – thereby violating one of the Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers in Ontario.
Another lawyer from a large Bay Street firm recently advised our firm that we had not complied with the Rules of Civil Procedure in serving their client …. wait for it ….. directly in accordance with the Rules of Civil Procedure and accused us of “sharp practice” in doing so.
Being a professional means knowing the Rules of Professional Conduct and abiding by them. They are “Rules” not suggestions and they are there to protect our clients, who we are to put before ourselves.
While our firm is an aggressive litigation firm, we only play within the Rules and will always continue to do so.
Inga B. Andriessen JD