How do I complain about a lawyer or paralegal?

1. Figure out if you can make a complaint

If you can't resolve your problems with your lawyer or paralegal, you may be able to make a complaint to the Law Society of Ontario (LSO). The LSO deals with complaints about lawyers and paralegals.

You may want to make a complaint if your lawyer or paralegal:

  • does something illegal like takes part in a criminal act
  • does not handle money properly
  • is disrespectful or makes you feel uncomfortable
  • does something that is not ethical or honest
  • does not reply to communications or report on a transaction
  • does not follow the rules of conduct set by Law Society of Ontario

Your complaint must show that your lawyer or paralegal did things that are against their professional responsibilities.

If your complaint involves or , you can make a complaint to the Discrimination and Harassment Counsel program.

If you lose money due to a licensed lawyer's or paralegal's dishonesty, you can apply to the Law Society’s compensation fund. This may allow you to get at least some of your money back.

Legal bills

If your complaint is about the amount of your bill, the LSO can't help. They don't set lawyer's or paralegal's fees and can't reduce bills that people think are too high.

If you think your bill is too high, try talking to your lawyer or paralegal. You may be able to talk about ways to reduce your bill or agree on a payment plan.

If you hired a lawyer, you can ask an assessment officer of the Ontario to review your lawyer's bill. They will look at the details of your case and the amount the lawyer is charging to see if your bill is fair.

If you hired a paralegal, you could sue them in Small Claims Court, if the amount you want back is under $35,000. If your claim is for more than $35,000, you have to go to the Superior Court of Justice.

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