Unauthorized practice of law
Under the Legal Profession Act, only trained, qualified lawyers (or articled students under a lawyer’s supervision) may provide legal services and advice to the public. Further, non-lawyers are not regulated, nor are they required to carry insurance to compensate clients for errors and omission in the legal work or claims of theft by unscrupulous individuals marketing legal services.
When the Law Society receives complaints about an unqualified or untrained person providing legal assistance, the Society will investigate and take appropriate action if there is a potential for harm to the public.
From August 10 to November 10, 2011, the Law Society obtained undertakings from nine individuals and businesses not to engage in the practice of law.
The Law Society has obtained injunctions and court orders prohibiting the following individuals from engaging in the unauthorized practice of law:
Marlane Lauren, of Vancouver, BC, provided legal services, including providing legal advice, preparing pleadings and negotiating settlements for a fee. She also falsely represented herself as a lawyer, law student or otherwise capable or entitled to practise law. The Law Society obtained an order permanently prohibiting Lauren from engaging in the practice of law as defined in section 1 of the Legal Profession Act, from falsely representing herself as a lawyer, and from commencing, prosecuting or defending a proceeding in any court on behalf of another party. The court awarded the Law Society its costs.
Glen P. Robbins, of Coquitlam, BC, falsely represented himself as a lawyer and commenced and prosecuted proceedings on behalf of others. The Law Society obtained an order permanently prohibiting Robbins from falsely representing himself as a lawyer and from commencing, prosecuting or defending proceedings in any court on behalf of others. The court awarded the Law Society its costs.
John P. Gorman, formerly of Surrey, BC, was disbarred by the Law Society of Upper Canada in the late 1980s. In 2001, the Law Society obtained an injunction prohibiting Gorman from engaging in the practice of law in BC as defined in section 1 of the Legal Profession Act. In 2007 and 2010, Gorman disobeyed the injunction order by writing demand letters and drafting pleadings. The court found Gorman in contempt of the 2001 order and sentenced him to two weeks’ incarceration and a $5,000 fine. The court also expanded the injunction to permanently prohibit Gorman from representing himself as a lawyer, counsel or an advocate. The court awarded the Law Society special costs.