*UPDATED RELEASE (July 31, 2018)
Brian Goldfinger’s Legal Advertising Case Concluded
TORONTO: A resolution reached on June 20, 2018 between lawyer Brian Goldfinger and the regulator of Ontario’s legal profession has resulted in new case law that will aid lawyers in navigating the rules that govern lawyer advertising.
A resolution agreement that was initially presented to a panel of adjudicators at the Law Society of Ontario Tribunal on June 20, 2018, stated that some of Mr. Goldfinger’s advertising constituted “misconduct” under the Law Society’s rules, but that it was neither dishonest nor intentionally deceptive.
After receiving the resolution agreement, the Law Society Tribunal panel ordered that Mr. Goldfinger would receive a reprimand — the most lenient sanction available. The Tribunal panel noted that each time Mr. Goldfinger was notified about concerns with his advertising, he moved swiftly and voluntarily to rectify them.
The June 20 resolution in this matter ended an unpleasant ordeal for Mr. Goldfinger that began when a group of competitor lawyers in London, Ont. objected to Mr. Goldfinger’s marketing of his Toronto-based personal injury law firm in their city. On June 25, 2018, the Tribunal panel released its formal order ending the case against Mr. Goldfinger with reasons to follow at a later date.
Today, the Tribunal panel released those reasons. The panel dismissed a number of the misconduct allegations against Mr. Goldfinger. The panel made it clear that there was nothing wrong with Mr. Goldfinger advertising that he “specializes” in various areas of personal injury law because that is “literally accurate” and nothing wrong with his use of the slogan “Golden Touch”. With respect to the other allegations, the panel accepted that a reprimand was “clearly a reasonable resolution” because Mr. Goldfinger co-operated fully with the Law Society and made changes to his marketing as soon as concerns were pointed out.
Mr. Goldfinger expressed satisfaction with this result.
“The conclusion of this case allows me to focus wholly on helping my clients and growing my thriving business,” Mr. Goldfinger said. “The rules we have to follow are sometimes ambiguous and leave room for interpretation. They are also frequently updated. Growing firms like mine need to be extra careful to keep up and ensure compliance.”
Mr. Goldfinger received a great deal of support in recent months from colleagues, particularly young lawyers and small firm practitioners seeking to supply clients with alternatives to long-established firms.
“The Law Society has struggled for decades with what constitutes permissible advertising and marketing,” Mr. Goldfinger said. “I hope this episode will help clarify the rules for the benefit of other young lawyers and small firm owners.”
“I take pride in being a conscientious member of my profession” Mr. Goldfinger said. “I tried my best at every turn to respond to these concerns.”
At the same time, he said, young lawyers face challenges in balancing professional requirements with the demands of the marketplace.
“Up-and-coming practitioners have to advertise their services in order to reach new clients in a highly competitive environment,” Mr. Goldfinger said. “If any of my competitors felt that my advertising was unfairly taking work from them, it was completely unintentional and I corrected it promptly once I was made aware. Had they contacted me before bringing the complaint, I would have addressed their concerns immediately.”
Mr. Goldfinger’s competitors brought the complaint after he extended his firm’s reach into London and other cities close to Toronto. The complainants questioned the marketing of his satellite offices and advertisements asserting that Goldfinger “is London’s personal injury lawyer.”
Mr. Goldfinger and his associates meet with clients regularly in their satellite offices, which are shared spaces. Mr. Goldfinger takes a personal hand in virtually every case, in the pursuit of ensuring client satisfaction.
“I can only hope this case will prevent others from falling into the same traps. We are all in this together to service our clients. Clients must always be the real winners.”
For more information, please contact:
Gerald Chan, Stockwoods LLP (GeraldC@stockwoods.ca, 416.593.1617)
Edward Marrocco, Stockwoods LLP (EdwardM@stockwoods.ca, 416.593.2470)