When a client walks through our doors, they will meet with me, Brian Goldfinger; the owner and directing lawyer of Goldfinger Personal Injury Law. I’m the Goldfinger in the Goldfinger Law.
My firm employs other lawyers, paralegals and clerks who assist me. But there are no hidden partners or agents outside of my law firm who you are being passed along to for the legal work on your case. If we take on your case, we will do the work. Your file, along with your personal and confidential information stays with our law firm. It doesn’t get passed along to another lawyer or law firm who you’ve never met or heard of.
What you see is what you get. No games. No gimmicks. Our clients have responded well to this approach; which has helped our law firm grow, one satisfied client at a time. We currently boast four offices across Ontario, with the ability to serve clients across the province.
All our law firm does is Plaintiff side personal injury law. We do not practice on behalf of large insurance companies which defend people. Nor do we practice in any other areas outside of the field of Plaintiff side personal injury and insurance law. Our practice is devoted to suing on behalf of injured accident victims and disability claimants so that they can get the results, compensation and benefits which they deserve.
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Referral fees are permitted by the Law Society of Upper Canada. This means that lawyer can refer a file to another lawyer in exchange for a fee. The quantum of these fees is NOT regulated, although, the industry standard is anywhere from 10-15% of the fees recovered (not a percentage of the end settlement). But, again, those fees are not heavily regulated, so the referring lawyer can charge what s/he wants. It will be up to the lawyer accepting the referral, and the client to agree to those fees.
Referral fees are meant to encourage lawyers who have no knowledge in a field of law, to refer a case to a lawyer who has more knowledge/experience/knowledge in that particular field. The practice of referral fees has existed for years.
Our law firm practices exclusively in the field of personal injury law. So, if we had a client who wanted us to handle a real estate closing, we would politely decline, and refer the file along to a proper real estate lawyer. We could ask the real estate lawyer for a referral fee, and if the real estate lawyer agreed, s/he would pay us. That’s allowed by the Law Society.
Referral fees also exist so that clients can get representation in geographic areas which have few lawyers, to get the specific representation they need. In smaller communities, there may be one general practitioner lawyer who does wills, estates, business law. That lawyer may NOT have experience handling complicated personal injury matters. That general practitioner is allowed to seek a referral fee for a personal injury matter which s/he may refer to Goldfinger Personal Injury Law; a law firm with more knowledge in personal injury and which has the ability and resources to service a client in a remote geographic area.
Here’s are some concerns I have when a referral is made on by a lawyer, paralegal, or non lawyer on behalf of a client, without their knowledge or permission:
a) The client is unaware that his/her file is being referred to another lawyer/law firm
b) The client’s personal information and the details of the case are being passed along outside of that law firm or agency without the client’s permission
c) The client does not agree to pay a referral fee to another lawyer/law firm; and then those referral fees came out of the client’s settlement. Charging a referral fee directly to the client, without their permission, which comes out of their award is just wrong
d) The client believes that the work is being done by the lawyer or law firm who the client initially called or met, when in reality it’s being done by a different lawyer or a different law firm
e) The client believes they’re meeting with a lawyer or an employee of the law firm, when in fact they are meeting with a runner, contractor or agent whose job it is just to sign up the client, and then refer the matter out to a different office
f) The true nature of the law firm’s business practices (acting as largely as a referral agency) is not properly explained to the client
Now, if the client agrees with all of the above, then there are no concerns whatsoever. But, if the client is not aware of these practices, then it puts all personal injury lawyers in a bad light.
I would be remiss if I didn’t conclude this Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog Post without commenting on Toronto’s professional soccer team which advanced to the MLS Cup Final last week. Toronto lost in penalty kicks, which was heartbreaking. But, it’s the way they lost which broke so many soccer fans’ hearts across Canada. Toronto FC, playing at home, did not surrender a single shot on target for all of regulation and overtime. Yet, in true Toronto fashion, they still managed to find a way to lose the championship! Only in Toronto can a team NOT allow a shot on net, yet, still find a way to lose the game.
But, I have to give credit where credit is due. Kudos to TFC for advancing to the MLS Final and creating a buzz across Ontario and the country for that matter. It’s been a long time since a major Toronto Sports Franchise has seen a championship (with the exception of the Toronto Argos). Not since the 1993 season has a Toronto sports franchise won a major North American championship. Are we getting close? Maybe. I won’t believe it until I see it with my own eyes. Perhaps in my children’s life time…