We’ve previously blogged about the Law Society of Ontario’s (LSO) scrutiny of the marketing practices of lawyers and firms in Ontario, and the discipline that may result where firms do not adhere to the Law Society’s rules that govern marketing and advertising of legal services.
Now, legal marketing practices are making headlines once again. Following a two-year investigation into the marketing practices of Diamond & Diamond, the LSO’s discipline division has announced that Jeremy Diamond marketed his services and those of his firm in a manner that is “likely to mislead, confuse or deceive” and that, Diamond referred out all prospective clients rather than having the firm take on cases.
The Law Society’s Allegations
The three-page notice of application issued last week outlines the allegations against Jeremy Diamond, which include, among other things, that between January 2013 and December 2017 he:
- Advertised legal services through a “law firm” called, variously, “Diamond & Diamond”, “Diamond & Diamond Personal Injury Lawyers”, and “Diamond & Diamond Lawyers” when the entity was not actually a law firm as defined by the LSO’s rules (which define a law firm as one or more lawyers practising law);
- Improperly marketed himself as “managing partner” and “managing lawyer” of Diamond & Diamond when he actually operated as a sole practitioner through an entity called the “Jeremy Diamond Professional Corporation”;
- Improperly marketed legal services that he did not actually provide;
- Advertised himself as a personal injury litigation lawyer claiming that he had “significant experience in all aspects of personal injury litigation” when he “did not represent or provide legal services to retained clients” and “his experience did not include conducting trials in personal injury litigation cases”;
- Improperly advertised that he and his firm were specialists when they did not have a specialist certification from the LSO;
- Improperly marketed his services through awards that “do not genuinely reflect the legal performance or quality of legal services provided”;
- Improperly marketed his firm as being bigger than it is using descriptors such as “top-rated” and “most trusted”;
- Improperly suggested that he and his firm are qualitatively superior to other lawyers;
- Referenced monetary amounts recovered in past personal injury cases without including an accompanying statement explaining that past results are not indicative of future results.
The LSO notes that such marketing practices are contrary to the Rules of Professional Conduct.
The Firm Has Denied the Allegations
Diamond, through his lawyer, has denied all the allegations against him. His counsel notes that he expects that Diamond will be vindicated and that the LSO’s claims represent Diamond and the firm “unfairly and incorrectly”, and that Diamond’s involvement with cases has been mischaracterized.
Last year, Diamond was reprimanded by the LSO and ordered to pay $25,000 for failing to promptly provide records and documents requested by the LSO as part of its investigation into Diamond & Diamond’s marketing practices. Diamond’s lawyer notes that they will also be appealing the fine and the reprimand, arguing that the LSO is “mistaken in its view of the alleged failure to co-operate”.
A hearing date in this matter has not yet been set. We will continue to monitor developments in this regard and will provide updates as they become available. In the meantime, if you have questions about marketing your firm, contact Umbrella Legal Marketing.
Legal marketing is all we do, and we do it well. As former practitioners, and now social media and marketing gurus, we understand the needs of the legal market, the ethical and practice standards that govern the profession, and how to marry these unique demands with the realities of marketing in the social media and online age. We are dedicated to helping law firms with marketing, social media, website content, and re-branding while ensuring that the Rules of Professional Conduct are followed.
Contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 416 356 4672 for more information.