How do I complain about a lawyer or paralegal?

3. Get a response

The Law Society of Ontario (LSO) will send a letter telling you they received your complaint. You will also get a file number.

The LSO will review your complaint to decide if they should investigate. The initial review is done by Complaints & Compliance Department. If they think an investigation may be necessary, they send your complaint to the Intake & Resolution Department.

The Intake & Resolution Department reviews the complaint and decides if an investigation should be started.  

Some reasons they may close a complaint without investigating are:

  • There is not enough information to support your complaint.
  • They don’t have the legal authority to act on your complaint.
  • They are already taking disciplinary action against the lawyer or paralegal you’re complaining about.
  • You already complained about the lawyer or paralegal, and your complaint was closed.
  • The lawyer or paralegal you’re complaining about is ill, not in private practice now, or does not live in Canada now.
  • Your complaint doesn’t raise a concern for investigation.
  • Other proceedings against the lawyer or paralegal are in court or at another place.
  • Other resources or services are more appropriate for resolving your complaint.

If the LSO can’t help with your complaint, they will tell you why and try to give you information about other sources of help.

Your complaint must show that your lawyer or paralegal did things that are against their professional responsibilities. If your complaint doesn’t show this, the LSO will not investigate.

The Investigation Services Department is responsible for investigations.

If an investigation is started the LSO will:

  • tell you the name of the person handling your complaint, and their contact information
  • give you progress updates on the status of your complaint at major steps in the process
  • tell you about important timelines
  • tell you their decision, including the reasons if possible

The LSO must share the information in your complaint with the lawyer or paralegal you’re complaining about. This may include your personal information. All lawyers and paralegals must respond to requests from the LSO, and they must cooperate with the investigation.

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