Law Society of Ontario alleges dozens of personal injury websites are ‘misleading’

Respondent posted client testimonial videos which were really actors performing a script, said LSO

Law Society of Ontario alleges dozens of personal injury websites are ‘misleading’

The Law Society of Ontario has alleged that a North York lawyer received client leads through a network of 31 websites apparently belonging to separate putative firms, many of which have domain names suggesting that they are personal injury law firms.

The allegations, which have not been heard, adjudicated or proven before the tribunal, claim the lawyer engaged in possibly misleading, confusing or deceptive marketing practices. The website network described by the LSO’s notice of application was created and operated by an independent service provider who is not licensed as a lawyer or as a paralegal in Ontario.

The LSO also took issue with:

  • claims such as “best personal injury lawyer,” “premier car accident lawyer in Toronto,” “the GTA’s premier law firm,” or that the firm is otherwise superior to other legal service providers
  • claims that the firm will get maximum compensation or the best settlements for clients, without qualifying that claimed past successes may not necessarily lead to future successes and that outcomes may differ depending on the particularities of each case
  • claims that the firm will aggressively represent its clients
  • claims of specialization or expertise in areas such as “slip and fall accidents,” and claims of member lawyers who are experts, despite the absence of certified specialists working at the firm

The LSO said that these claims were not only posted on the firm’s websites but also via Facebook, YouTube and web advertising. The allegations also include that text of client testimonials were false, and that videos of purported client testimonials actually involved actors performing a script.

The LSO filed a notice of application with the Law Society Tribunal Hearing Division for a determination of the lawyer committed professional misconduct or conduct unbecoming of a licensee.

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