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What is the Law Society’s role?

The Law Society is mandated to regulate the practice of law and the legal profession in the public interest.  It does so, in part, by promoting competence, high quality of service and professionally responsible conduct.  The Law Society has multiple departments, all of which are geared toward the public interest, including:

Department Purpose
Education and Admissions To ensure competence both at admissions and ongoing
Professional Responsibility To ensure compliance with ethical and other professional rules
Assurance To provide an opportunity for access to compensation for theft by a lawyer
Insurance To ensure maintenance of adequate insurance coverage for professional responsibility
Custodianship To protect clients’ property when a lawyer ceases to practice

 

How do I find a lawyer?

Finding the best lawyer for your legal situation is very important. More…

Can the Law Society recommend a lawyer for my issue or help me find a lawyer?

The Law Society cannot recommend a specific lawyer to you, however, we encourage you to contact the Public Legal Information Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (PLIAN) which offers both a legal referral service (a fee may be charged), legal information guides and a Family Court form builder tool.

(709) 722-2643 (or Toll-Free: 1-888-660-7788).

How much will it cost me to hire a lawyer?

The Law Society has not developed a scale of fees for lawyers.  Lawyers’ fees vary between lawyers and firms.  Prior to retaining a lawyer, we recommend that you discuss the costs involved and how you will be billed for the service.  You may wish to document this discussion for your records. More…

What if I can’t afford a lawyer?

The Public Legal Information Association of Newfoundland and Labrador {PLIAN) offers a lawyer referral service. This allows you to meet with a lawyer from anywhere from across the province who has registered with the Lawyer Referral Service. These lawyers will offer a 30-minute consultation at a flat rate of $40, with no obligation beyond this 30-minute consultation. Please note that rates do change, so be sure to confirm this cost with PLIAN before making the booking. This is a less expensive option of having a matter reviewed.

Legal Aid NL services may be available to individuals with low incomes in the areas of family and criminal law.  You must apply for this service.  Please visit https://www.legalaid.nl.ca/index.html for more information.

While not recommended, you may wish to represent yourself.  If you so decide, you may wish to consult the Law Library and/or the Public Library in order to prepare your case.

How do I prepare to meet a lawyer?

Your first meeting with a lawyer is a time when information is exchanged between you and the lawyer. More…

Why do I have to prove my identity when I meet with a lawyer?

Lawyers are required to obtain identifying information for all clients and, when engaging in financial matters, must verify the information. This is to ensure they are not engaging in criminal activity such as fraud or money laundering. While lawyers are exempt from federal Anti-Money Laundering regulations, the Law Society has robust rules to ensure regulation of this risk.
Please be prepared to provide your lawyer with your:

a) full name;
b) business address and phone number;
c) home address and phone number;
d) incorporation or business identification number and place of issue, if applicable;
e) occupation(s);

Additional information may be collected from client organizations.

Please see Part XVI of the Law Society Rules for specific information:
http://lsnl.ca/lawyers-students/lawyer-regulation/law-society-rules/part-xvi/#Definitions

Please note that all lawyers are under both legal and ethical obligations to maintain solicitor-client privilege

How do I find out if a lawyer is a member of the Law Society in good standing?

The Law Society maintains a Lawyer Directory which is available through our website. If a lawyer is listed as practising then they are a practising member in good standing

How do legal fees work?
  • The Law Society cannot reduce your bill, but the law firm may do so in appropriate cases.
  • If you believe the fees charged by your lawyer were too high, you may request an itemized account from your lawyer.
  • If you are unable to resolve your concerns with your lawyer directly, you may apply to have the fees reviewed through the taxation process. More…
What if I disagree with what my lawyer says I owe?

If you do not agree with your lawyer’s invoice, you may wish to consider having the invoice taxed. This is a process whereby a taxing master reviews your invoice to determine whether the amount invoiced is reasonable. Please see a listing of taxing masters located on the Law Society’s Lawyers’ Directory:

Directory of Taxing Masters

 

On my invoice it says that I am paying a transaction levy ~ what is that?

The transaction levy is a risk-based insurance premium which lawyers are required to pay to the Law Society as part of their overall fee for insurance. Lawyers are required to carry insurance and pay these fees in order to ensure public protection. For more information on the transaction levy, please see Law Society Rule 10.04

Can I hire a paralegal or law student to represent me in court?

No, paralegals are not authorized to represent a client in court.

There are some limited situations in which a law student may represent you in court. You should discuss this option directly with your lawyer.

How do I make a complaint?

Provide a signed original letter of complaint. The Law Society is unable to proceed with a complaint that is not in writing. Be factual. Give a brief description of the events that have occurred and on what dates. More…

I just found out that my lawyer is not practising anymore. Can you tell me how to find my file?

If you cannot locate your lawyer or your file, please contact the Law Society. We will make every effort to help you locate your file.

How do I find a copy of a deceased’s will?

If you know the lawyer that drafted the will, you should contact that lawyer who can advise whether or not a copy of the will can be disclosed to you. If you cannot locate the original will, please contact the Law Society and we will endeavor to locate the will for you.

Is there a provincial database for wills in Newfoundland or Canada?

No, there is not a central database for wills in this province.

How do I find a file or a will?

If you know the lawyer that drafted the will or worked on the file, you should contact that lawyer who can advise whether or not a copy of the will can be disclosed to you. More…

I’ve just heard that there is going to be a disciplinary hearing for a lawyer at the Law Society ~ are these hearings open to the public/media?

Generally speaking, disciplinary proceedings before an adjudication tribunal are open to the public, however there are some exceptions.

Please note that the time and dates of hearings can change frequently or even be cancelled right up to and including the day before the hearing. These changes are posted to our website and it is the responsibility of anyone who has reason to attend a hearing to check out our website and confirm the dates and times of the hearings. Unless otherwise posted, all hearings are held at our Water Street location.

For further information, please see the Discipline > Public Hearing Protocol pages of our website.

How do I find out the outcome of a hearing?

Generally speaking, a decision of the adjudication tribunal is posted on the disciplinary decisions page of our website. It will also posted on CanLII.