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- What Lawyers Can Expect If They Are the Subject of a Complaint
All complaints, regardless of how they are addressed, form part of a lawyer’s regulatory history. However, the nature of the complaint will affect the way it is processed.
Complaints are streamed into either the Conduct Process (disciplinary) or the Early Intervention Process (non-disciplinary) per Rule 85 of The Rules of the Law Society of Alberta.
If the matter is summarily dismissed, you will receive written notice of the decision. You will not be contacted by the Law Society prior to the summary dismissal.
If the matter is streamed into the Early Intervention Process and resolution of the concerns is possible, Early Intervention Counsel will be in contact with you and the complainant. If the matter is resolved, you will receive written confirmation that: (i) the matter has been resolved to both your satisfaction and the complainant’s satisfaction; and (ii) no further steps will be taken.
In either the Conduct Process or the Early Intervention Process, if the matter is dismissed, you will receive written notice of the decision. You may or may not be contacted by the Law Society prior to the dismissal.
If the matter is dismissed in the Early Intervention Process but requires your engagement with the Early Intervention Program, you will be contacted by Early Intervention Counsel prior to dismissal and may continue to work within the Early Intervention Program after the dismissal. View the Resolution and Early Intervention Protocol.
If the matter is streamed into the Conduct Process, it will proceed in accordance with the Conduct Protocol.
Lawyer Responsibilities in the Complaint Process
It is the responsibility of the lawyer to:
- Cooperate with the Law Society;
- Respond fully and substantively to any requests of the Law Society;
- Respond within any timelines or in accordance with any deadlines of the Law Society. While Rule 85 requires that you respond fully within timelines, reasonable requests for an extension submitted before deadlines will ordinarily be accommodated;
- Be candid and courteous in your responses to the Law Society;
- Meet your ethical duty to notify the Alberta Lawyers Indemnity Association about a potential claim, where appropriate and within required time frames; and
- Maintain the confidentiality of the complaint process in accordance with s.78(3) of the Legal Profession Act.