Terms & Conditions For
The Family Law Coach Services

These Terms and Conditions apply if you use any of the Services offered through The Family Law Coach.

These Terms and Conditions confirm that the Services offered are restricted to providing you with targeted legal information, assistance, practical coaching, strategic analysis, or a combination. This may or may not include legal advice. The Family Law Coach Services aren’t providing you with sort of full, formal, legal advice you’d be getting if you hired a lawyer to act for you on a full, or unbundled, retainer in the traditional way.

By clicking on the Accept button when you send in your request for a Service, you’re agreeing that each of the Terms and Conditions, and the Schedules, set out below, will become part of the Agreement you’ll enter into for services and be binding on you as if printed in that Agreement.

If you’re sending in the request for a Service on behalf of someone else, then by pressing the Accept button you’re making it clear that you have the authority to speak on behalf of, and to bind, that other person and that they are also accepting these Terms and Conditions.

  1. The following words or phrases used in these Terms and Conditions have the meaning set out after them:

a.  “Terms” means these Terms and Conditions, and includes the Schedules set out below.

b.  “You” means you, the person pressing the Accept button, and it includes the person on whose behalf you’re requesting the service or who will be using the information from the service you’re requesting if the Service isn’t for you.

c.  “Service” means the service or services you are checking off on the Contact Us page or that you eventually choose to pay for. (No Service includes negotiations or communication with anyone other than you. You always remain in charge of your matter.)

d.  “Your lawyer” means the lawyer who will be assigned to provide the Service to you. Sometimes, depending upon the context, it also includes, or may be limited to, The Family Law Coach and anyone associated with it. But The Family Law Coach isn’t a lawyer or law firm and it provides no services directly other than the free information on its website.

e.  “Agreement” means the Agreement, or limited scope retainer, to be sent to you by your lawyer once you make it clear what Service you want.

f.  The “Law Society” means the Law Society of Upper Canada.

g.  “The Specified Provisions” means sections 3.1-1 (b), (c), and (d) of the Rules of Professional Conduct, set out in Schedule F.

2. If you don’t understand any part of the Terms, or have a question about them, you can call The Family Law Coach at 416 639-0894, or Toll Free at 888 670-9661. But, by proceeding to pay for a Service, you’re confirming that even if you have a question about the Terms, you’re still accepting all of them.

3. Before the Service you’re requesting will be provided, you’ll be sent 3 forms from The Family Law Coach and 2 of them must be completed and returned to get things started. You can take as much time as you want to review these documents before returning them. They are:

a. An Agreement for Services

b. An Intake Form

c. A Credit Card Authorization Form

4. By filling out the Credit Card Authorization and sending in payment for the Service, or by making other payment arrangements, you’re saying that you agree with everything in the Agreement and in these Terms and accept them as binding on you. The Agreement doesn’t need to be returned, but it says that by you sending in the completed Credit Card Authorization Form you’re accepting its terms. So please read the Agreement you’ll be sent, and these Terms, carefully, because they set out details of the relationship between you and your lawyer, including a release of liability.

5. The Intake Form has necessary information that your lawyer needs for the Service to be provided. The first, shaded, page must be fully completed. The other pages should be filled in for the parts that are relevant to your situation. The more information your lawyer has about your situation, the more useful you’ll find the Service. Your lawyer will be relying on the fullness and accuracy of the information you put into the Intake Form when providing the Service, and will read it before contacting you.

6. The Credit Card Authorization Form must also be completed and returned before the Service can begin. It says that by sending in the Authorization to pay for the Service, you’re accepting the terms of the Agreement and these Terms.

7. Although the Service you’re requesting will be handled by a lawyer licensed by the Law Society to practice law in the Province of Ontario, it may or may not include legal advice. The nature of the Service is to provide people acting for themselves in a family law matter with legal information, strategic analysis, practical coaching, and tips and suggestions to help them make a more effective presentation in court, mediation, or negotiations.

8. The information provided to you is not intended to be legal advice in the traditional sense and should not be taken or relied upon as legal advice. To get formal legal advice you’d need to give the lawyer a lot more information than is the case with this Service, and your lawyer would need to do a lot more work and charge more because of that, than simply respond to you based upon the information you give.

9. By accepting these Terms and requesting a Service, you’re expressly confirming that when providing you the Service, your lawyer is being instructed by you that, apart from the information you provide, your lawyer is not to investigate any facts, identify any issues, ascertain your objectives, consider any possible options, or develop and advise you on any appropriate courses of action. Each of these are functions which are part of what a competent lawyer is required to do under section 3.1-1 (b) of the Rules of Professional Conduct, (“the Specified Provisions”), which are set out in Schedule F. below. (The full Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers in Ontario may be found at: http://www.lsuc.on.ca/lawyer-conduct-rules/.)

10. To be clear, you’ll be releasing your lawyer from the obligations set out in the Specified Provisions, instructing that your lawyer not do any of that beyond what information you provide, and releasing your lawyer from any claim for not doing any of this unless you and your lawyer specifically agree otherwise by email.

11. The Agreement provides that you don’t want to pay for the cost involved in carrying out the activities in the Specified Provisions, and are prepared to pay the price you agreed to for the Service without having any of those activities carried out. If your lawyer chooses to do any of that, it doesn’t change the cost of the Service to you unless you specifically agree to an extra cost. By accepting the terms of the Agreement and these Terms you’re not expecting to have any of the activities in the Specified Provisions done.

12. To do that would require that the price of the Service be increased and you’re confirming that you’re not going to pay for, and don’t want to pay for, that to be done. You only want to pay your lawyer to provide the Service using the information you give, and you’re instructing that your lawyer limit himself or herself entirely to the information you provide. You’re instructing that any additional work that might be done as part of a traditional, full retainer, not be done in this case, and not be charged for.

13. However, you’re not releasing your lawyer from the obligations set out in the other 8 factors listed in Rule 3.1-1.

14. By accepting the Agreement and these Terms and paying for the Service, you will be entitled to The Family Law Coach money back guarantee for that Service, as set out at: http://thefamilylawcoach.com/our-guarantee/

15. You understand that the cost of traditional, full retainer, legal services is much higher than the price being charged for Services offered through The Family Law Coach and that you’re releasing your lawyer from any liability for not performing the full range of activities that would be included in a traditional, full, retainer, such as those referred to in the Specified Provisions.

16. The Family Law Coach is advising you that a fundamental difference between the Agreement and Terms for the Service, that may be a limited scope retainer if legal advice is included, and a full retainer is that with a full retainer the lawyer spends a lot more time with the client getting background information and exploring the client’s rights and obligations, the client’s interests and needs, the understanding the client has of the situation, and the client’s expectations. That lawyer may well tell the client that more disclosure or information is needed in order to provide a meaningful opinion and that lawyer may need to undertake independent enquiries or search the law. All of this, obviously, takes a lot of time and most, if not all, family law lawyers on a full retainer will only do this on an hourly charge basis. That’s not happening with the Service you’re requesting.

17. As well, the lawyer on a full retainer will represent the client in discussions and negotiations with the other side, in preparing court or settlement material, and appear in court on behalf of the client. That’s not happening with the Service you’re requesting.

18. Your lawyer will let you know if the Service you’re requesting, at the agreed upon price, isn’t right for you, and you’ll discuss if there are other Services that might be more appropriate. You will accept that decision.

19. At all times you’ll be in charge of your own case. You’ll be responsible for making the decisions and choices in your case.

20. You’ll provide your lawyer with such other material, documentation, or information as may be requested of you, and will do it in a timely manner and in a coherent and easily readable form.

21. Any information you provide must be honest, full, accurate, and concise, and will be in a readable format.

22. It may happen that you may wish to terminate the Service for any reason whatsoever. In that case you will notify your lawyer of your wish and no further work will be performed for you. You’ll pay such portion of the fee as your lawyer deems appropriate.

23. You accept that by providing you with the Service you’re requesting, neither The Family Law Coach nor your lawyer are promising or predicting any particular outcome, and they are relying entirely on your disclosure of facts. You recognize that the way you handle your matter, and the decisions you make, are entirely your responsibility and will have a strong influence on the outcome of your matter.

24. There are 6 Schedules attached to these Terms, and they’re considered to be part of the Agreement that will be sent to you. By clicking Accept to proceed with your request for a Service, you’re acknowledging that these Schedules are treated as being attached to and as part of the Agreement that will be sent to you. They are:

Schedule A: The Release and Waiver of Liability

Schedule B: Who Will Do My Work

Schedule C: Fee and Payment Arrangements

Schedule D: Confidentiality

Schedule E: Communications Between Me and MFLS

Schedule F: Excerpts from the Rules of Professional Conduct of The Law Society of Upper Canada

25. By accepting these Terms you’re also accepting the terms in each of the Schedules.

26. The Schedules use certain terms that have this meaning:

a. “Agreement” means the Agreement sent to you before the Service begins and may be considered a limited scope retainer if legal advice is provided to you.

b. “My lawyer” means the lawyer who will be assigned to provide the Service.

c. “Service” means the Service offered through The Family Law Coach that you’re requesting.

d. “I”, “me”, or “my”, and “you”, and anything similar, means the person clicking the Accept button and the person on whose behalf they are requesting the Service if not for themself.

SCHEDULE A:

Waiver and Release of Liability

You’re releasing your lawyer and The Family Law Coach from any liability for not complying with certain Specified Provisions of Rule 3.1-1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct of The Law Society of Upper Canada

1. I understand that I’m asking for limited, or targeted, information, practical coaching, Strategic analysis, or other assistance, as set out in the Service I am requesting, and my lawyer is agreeing to provide it at a fixed fee, on the terms of the Agreement, which includes a money back guarantee. The guarantee may be found at: http://thefamilylawcoach.com/our-guarantee/.

2. The assistance I’m seeking may or may not include specific legal advice and may be exclusively, or primarily, related to coaching, assistance in how to prepare and present my case, strategic advice, or neutral analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of my case and the case of the other party. I’m not seeking the service provided by a lawyer acting on a traditional, full, retainer, which service can’t be offered at the fixed fee I’ve agreed to pay for this Service, or with the guarantee that The Family Law Coach is giving me.

3. I’m not asking, and I’m not prepared to pay, for the time it would take my lawyer to obtain, review, and consider all of the information and material that would normally be required as part of a traditional, full retainer service. In fact, I’m telling my lawyer not to make any independent investigation or to seek additional information from me, or any source. I don’t want to pay for any work other than to provide the Service as set out in the Agreement.

4. I’m clear that I’m not seeking a full, traditional, legal advice service from my lawyer. I’m seeking legal information, coaching assistance, and strategic analysis, not legal advice, although I recognize that some legal advice might also be given as part of the process. And I’m seeking it at a limited or fixed fee as set out in the Agreement.

5. To be even more clear, Schedule F to this Agreement, which may be found below, sets out the full wording of section 3.1-1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct of The Law Society of Upper Canada. (The full Rules of Professional Conduct may be found at http://www.lsuc.on.ca/lawyer-conduct-rules/.) That provision sets out the definition of a “competent lawyer” and what that includes. Sections 3.1-1 (b), (c), and (d), (the Specified Provisions), include things described in the next paragraph that I’m specifically asking my lawyer not to do, and I’m relieving my lawyer from any obligation to me to do the things in the Specified Provisions. I don’t want to pay for the cost involved in carrying out those activities and am prepared to pay the price I agreed for the Service I’m requesting without having anything set out in the Specified Provisions carried out. I’m agreeable to any of those activities being done if my lawyer chooses to do so, providing that it doesn’t change the cost of the Service to me. But I’m not expecting to have any of these activities done.

6. The Specified Provisions provide that amongst the things a competent lawyer is supposed to do is to investigate any facts, identify any issues, ascertain my objectives, consider any possible options, and develop and advise me on any appropriate courses of action. (This is a summary and the full wording of all of section 3.1-1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct are set out in Schedule F.)

7. To get the Service I’m requesting at the cost I’m paying, and to get the money back guarantee that applies to the Service, I’m clear that I don’t want what’s set out in the Specified Provisions to be done, don’t want to pay for it to be done, and I don’t want to be charged for the lawyer doing any of that. That’s why I’m releasing the lawyer providing the Service to me from any liability for not doing any of that.

8. As a result, I’m releasing my lawyer from any liability (that means I won’t sue my lawyer for anything) for not doing anything set out in the Specified Provisions, or make any claims to the Law Society or any other body, or make any other claims, related to my lawyer not doing the things set out in the specified sections. Everything in this paragraph also applies to The Family Law Coach and anyone associated with it.

9. I’m not releasing my lawyer, however, from the obligations set out in the other 8 factors listed in Rule 3.1-1.

10. I understand that full legal advice would require my lawyer to perform more activities and functions than this fixed fee service can provide, and that it would require more information and time, and more cost, than I’m willing to provide or pay for. Not only am I not asking my lawyer to provide full legal advice to me, I’m not expecting my lawyer to provide it on his or her own initiative, even if my lawyer believes, or might come to believe, that if more time was spent and more investigations made, that would be helpful to me.

11. I’m fully accepting total responsibility for how I use the information from my lawyer or The Family Law Coach and I’m relieving each of them from any liability for whatever information or advice is given to me or that I obtain from The Family Law Coach or how I use it, as well as any liability for not giving to me anything that might have been brought to my attention as part of a traditional, full retainer service. I’m releasing both my lawyer and The Family Law Coach completely from any liability related to the Service I choose.

12. I understand that although my lawyer may choose to advise me that I appear to misunderstand the law or the practical position I’m in, that I may have unrealistic expectations, that my lawyer feels I need information or coaching regarding my strategy or approach, or that my lawyer feels there are other aspects of my case about which I should be more aware – that’s not part of the Agreement. Pursuing this could result in additional cost. My lawyer isn’t retained to provide such advice and it’s not responsible or obligated to do so. There is no liability on the part of my lawyer if he or she doesn’t provide any of such information to me, because I’m concerned about controlling my costs and I’m not willing to pay for, and am not asking for or expecting to get, such additional information or advice. If there is anything that my lawyer feels would require additional cost, my lawyer may or may not, in her or his own discretion, choose to let me know about it before any such cost is incurred and I won’t be responsible for any such additional cost unless I specifically agree to it. However, I’m clear about releasing my lawyer from any obligation to me to tell me abut this and from any liability for not telling me about this.

13. This Schedule constitutes a full and final release to The Family Law Coach and my lawyer for the matters set out above. By providing payment for the Service I’m requesting I’m confirming that that I am bound by this release and this Schedule.

 

SCHEDULE B:

Who Will Do My Work

 1. The Family Law Coach will assign my request for service to an experienced family law lawyer in good standing with the Law Society of Upper Canada, who will provide the services set out in this Agreement. I agree to work with whichever lawyer is assigned to handle my Service.

2. I also understand that The Family Law Coach may initially assign my request for the Service to Miller Family Law Services and that Miller Family Law Services, in turn may choose to do the work directly or refer it to any other lawyer in good standing with the Law Society of Upper Canada. In that case a referral fee will be charged that will be paid by the referred lawyer to Miller Family Law Services. Any referral fee will be paid by the referred lawyer as overhead and may not be charged to me in any way, directly or indirectly. Where there is a referral fee, the cost of the Service to me will not be increased in any way to cover any part of the referral fee.

3. This Schedule is notice to me that a referral fee will be charged if a lawyer not part of Miller Family Law Services provides my Service.

4. If my work is referred to any lawyer outside of Miller Family Law Services, the Agreement I accept will be treated as between that lawyer and me. It will only be referred to another lawyer on the condition that he or she accepts all of the obligations set out in the Agreement and these Terms, including the obligation to honour the guarantee.

 

SCHEDULE C:

Fee and Payment Arrangements

1. Services provided will be charged to me at the fee set out in the Agreement.

2. I’ll make payment through the use of a credit card by an Authorization in the form provided by Miller Family Law Services, unless otherwise agreed.

3. Supplying the payment or payment authorization means that I’m agreeing with, and accepting all of the terms of, this Agreement.

4. The payment will be held in the Trust Account of Miller Family Law Service, or transferred to the Trust Account of a lawyer to whom it is referring the matter, pending an account to me from the lawyer providing the Service.

5. I understand that the Service won’t begin until my payment has been received

SCHEDULE D:

Confidentiality

1. By accepting the Agreement that I’ll be sent for the Service I’m requesting, I’ll be communicating with my lawyer with an expectation of privacy and confidentiality, even if no legal advice is given to me. My lawyer will deal with the exchange of information between us as though it was legal advice covered by the privilege attaching to traditional solicitor-client communications. Everything exchanged between us is in strict privacy.

2. My lawyer is not entitled to, and agrees not to, share any of my information with anyone else without my express permission.

3. Before providing me with the Service, a check will be made to see if there is any conflict of interest if the lawyer assigned my matter any conflict of interest by having previously dealt with the other party to my matter. If so, my lawyer will let me know. For this to happen I will give to my lawyer the name of the other party in my matter.

4. The issue of a conflict of interest revolves around a lawyer having information given to him or her in confidence by one party that should not be available to, or be used by, the other side to a matter without the prior informed consent of the party who gave the information. A lawyer shouldn’t act for one party in a matter at one point in time and for the other at a different point in time, because of what the lawyer may know about the matter from the first client.

5. I accept that if my lawyer believes that there is a conflict of interest, I will be advised the she or he can’t act for me or have any dealings or relationship with me, and no charge will be made by that lawyer for the Service.

6. However, I realize that The Family Law Coach isn’t a lawyer or law firm and that the other party in my matter may, in the past or the future, seek one of the Services offered through The Family Law Coach. The Family Law Coach undertakes to make best efforts not to assign my matter to any lawyer who has had dealings with the other party either through that lawyer’s private practice or through a referral through The Family Law Coach service. As well, it will use its best efforts not to assign any matter on behalf of the other party to my lawyer. There is nothing, however, that prevents The Family Law Coach from assigning different lawyers form different law firms to parties who may be adverse in interest, or on opposite sides of the matter.

 

SCHEDULE E:

Communications Between Me and My Lawyer

1. Depending upon the Service, my lawyer and I will communicate with each other by email or phone or both. I’ll supply The Family Law Coach and my lawyer with my telephone number and email address. Any information or instructions received from that email address, or from a person identifying themself as me over the phone, will be accepted by my lawyer as valid and as from me.

2. I confirm that neither The Family Law Coach, my lawyer, nor I use any specially encrypted email software or services, and that I realize this could result in a compromise of the confidentiality of our communications, but this is acceptable to me.

3. The Family Law Coach’s telephone numbers are 416 639-0894 and Toll Free 1 888 670-9661 and its email address is info@thefamilylawcoach.com unless other information is given to me.

4. I agree to promptly advise my lawyer of any change in my authorized email address, or phone number, or if I want to change either.

5. I acknowledge that The Family Law Coach and my lawyer utilize certain cloud computing and other software to manage disclosure and confidential legal and other information in my file that may be subject to third-party end-user license, agreement, terms of use, acceptable use policies, or similar, and I agree to allow each of them to accept those on my behalf. I acknowledge that this may impact my privacy rights or otherwise place limits on the liability of each of them and the providers of the software. I understand that I’m being alerted to the security and privacy risks associated with using the software by this paragraph. And I further acknowledge that certain of my information may be stored on servers or managed by companies not subject to Ontario or Canadian law, and that no guidance or advice has been given to me by either The Family Law Coach or my lawyer regarding this.

6. Despite these risks, I consent to the use of the software by each The Family Law Coach and my lawyer to store, exchange, and manage any part of my information and agree to hold each of them and anyone associated with it harmless for any losses, damages, or causes of action resulting from the unauthorized use or disclosure of the information resulting from the use of the software.

SCHEDULE F:

Excerpts from the Rules of Professional Conduct of The Law Society of Upper Canada, including the Commentary

(http://www.lsuc.on.ca/with.aspx?id=2147502071)

Chapter 3     Relationship to Clients

SECTION 3.1     COMPETENCE

Definitions

3.1-1 In this rule,

“competent lawyer” means a lawyer who has and applies relevant knowledge, skills and attributes in a manner appropriate to each matter undertaken on behalf of a client including

(a) knowing general legal principles and procedures and the substantive law and procedure for the areas of law in which the lawyer practises,

(b) investigating facts, identifying issues, ascertaining client objectives, considering possible options, and developing and advising the client on appropriate courses of action,

(c) implementing, as each matter requires, the chosen course of action through the application of appropriate skills, including;

(i) legal research

(ii) analysis,

(iii) application of the law to the relevant facts,

(iv) writing and drafting,

(v) negotiation,

(vi) alternative dispute resolution,

(vii) advocacy, and

(viii) problem-solving,

(d) communicating at all relevant stages of a matter in a timely and effective manner;

(e) performing all functions conscientiously, diligently, and in a timely and cost- effective manner;

(f) applying intellectual capacity, judgment, and deliberation to all functions;

(g) complying in letter and in spirit with all requirements pursuant to the Law Society Act;

(h) recognizing limitations in one’s ability to handle a matter or some aspect of it, and taking steps accordingly to ensure the client is appropriately served;

(i) managing one’s practice effectively;

(j) pursuing appropriate professional development to maintain and enhance legal knowledge and skills; and

(k) otherwise adapting to changing professional requirements, standards, techniques, and practices.

Competence

3.1-2 A lawyer shall perform any legal services undertaken on a client’s behalf to the standard of a competent lawyer.

Commentary

[1] As a member of the legal profession, a lawyer is held out as knowledgeable, skilled, and capable in the practice of law. Accordingly, the client is entitled to assume that the lawyer has the ability and capacity to deal adequately with all legal matters to be undertaken on the client’s behalf.

[2] Competence is founded upon both ethical and legal principles. This rule addresses the ethical principles. Competence involves more than an understanding of legal principles; it involves an adequate knowledge of the practice and procedures by which such principles can be effectively applied. To accomplish this, the lawyer should keep abreast of developments in all areas of law in which the lawyer practises.

[3] In deciding whether the lawyer has employed the requisite degree of knowledge and skill in a particular matter, relevant factors will include

(a) the complexity and specialized nature of the matter;

(b) the lawyer’s general experience;

(c) the lawyer’s training and experience in the field;

(d) the preparation and study the lawyer is able to give the matter; and

(e) whether it is appropriate or feasible to refer the matter to, or associate or consult with, a licensee of established competence in the field in question.

[4] In some circumstances, expertise in a particular field of law may be required; often the necessary degree of proficiency will be that of the general practitioner.

[5] A lawyer should not undertake a matter without honestly feeling competent to handle it, or being able to become competent without undue delay, risk, or expense to the client. This is an ethical consideration and is distinct from the standard of care that a tribunal would invoke for purposes of determining negligence.

[6] A lawyer must recognize a task for which the lawyer lacks competence and the disservice that would be done to the client by undertaking that task. If consulted about such a task, the lawyer should

(a) decline to act;

(b) obtain the client’s instructions to retain, consult, or collaborate with a licensee who is competent for that task; or

(c) obtain the client’s consent for the lawyer to become competent without undue delay, risk or expense to the client.

[7] The lawyer should also recognize that competence for a particular task may require seeking advice from or collaborating with experts in scientific, accounting, or other non-legal fields, and, in such a situation, when it is appropriate, the lawyer should not hesitate to seek the client’s instructions to consult experts.

[7A] When a lawyer considers whether to provide legal services under a limited scope retainer, he or she must carefully assess in each case whether, under the circumstances, it is possible to render those services in a competent manner. An agreement to provide such services does not exempt a lawyer from the duty to provide competent representation. As in any retainer, the lawyer should consider the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation. The lawyer should ensure that the client is fully informed of the nature of the arrangement and clearly understands the scope and limitation of the services. See also rules 3.2-1A to 3.2-1A.2.

[8] A lawyer should clearly specify the facts, circumstances, and assumptions on which an opinion is based, particularly when the circumstances do not justify an exhaustive investigation and the resultant expense to the client. However, unless the client instructs otherwise, the lawyer should investigate the matter in sufficient detail to be able to express an opinion rather than mere comments with many qualifications.

[8.1] What is effective communication with the client will vary depending on the nature of the retainer, the needs and sophistication of the client and the need for the client to make fully informed decisions and provide instructions.

[9] A lawyer should be wary of bold and over-confident assurances to the client, especially when the lawyer’s employment may depend upon advising in a particular way.

[10] In addition to opinions on legal questions, the lawyer may be asked for or may be expected to give advice on non-legal matters such as the business, economic, policy, or social complications involved in the question or the course the client should choose. In many instances the lawyer’s experience will be such that the lawyer’s views on non-legal matters will be of real benefit to the client. The lawyer who expresses views on such matters should, if necessary and to the extent necessary, point out any lack of experience or other qualification in the particular field and should clearly distinguish legal advice from other advice.

[11] In a multi-discipline practice, a lawyer must ensure that the client is made aware that the legal advice from the lawyer may be supplemented by advice or services from a non-licensee. Advice or services from non-licensee members of the firm unrelated to the retainer for legal services must be provided independently of and outside the scope of the legal services retainer and from a location separate from the premises of the multi-discipline practice. The provision of non-legal advice or services unrelated to the legal services retainer will also be subject to the constraints outlined in the relevant by-laws and regulations governing multi-discipline practices.

[12] The requirement of conscientious, diligent, and efficient service means that a lawyer should make every effort to provide timely service to the client. If the lawyer can reasonably foresee undue delay in providing advice or services, the client should be so informed, so that the client can make an informed choice about their options, such as whether to retain new counsel.

[13] The lawyer should refrain from conduct that may interfere with or compromise their capacity or motivation to provide competent legal services to the client and be aware of any factor or circumstance that may have that effect.

[14] A lawyer who is incompetent does the client a disservice, brings discredit to the profession and may bring the administration of justice into disrepute. In addition to damaging the lawyer’s own reputation and practice, incompetence may also injure the lawyer’s partners and associates.

[15] Incompetence, Negligence and Mistakes – This rule does not require a standard of perfection. An error or omission, even though it might be actionable for damages in negligence or contract, will not necessarily constitute a failure to maintain the standard of professional competence described in the rule. While damages may be awarded for negligence, incompetence can give rise to the additional sanction of disciplinary action.

[15.1] The Law Society Act provides that a lawyer fails to meet standards of professional competence if there are deficiencies in

(a) the lawyer’s knowledge, skill, or judgment,

(b) the lawyer’s attention to the interests of clients,

(c) the records, systems, or procedures of the lawyer’s professional business, or

(d) other aspects of the lawyer’s professional business,

and the deficiencies give rise to a reasonable apprehension that the quality of service to clients may be adversely affected.