Recently, Goldfinger Injury Lawyers was nominated for “Top Boutiques for Personal Injury” by Canadian Lawyer Magazine for 2019. The post from Canadian Lawyer Magazine indicates “we’re looking for your input on the best firms specializing in personal injury law”.
This is a huge honour for my law firm, which I began 10 years ago with just one person. Since that time we have expanded both in personnel and in breadth.
If you haven’t voted, please do. Here’s the link .Your vote for our law firm would be a very big deal; and here’s why::
If you have been following Goldfinger Injury Lawyers in the news, the irony of this nomination does not escape us. Our advertising saga with the Law Society of Ontario has been well publicized in the Toronto Star and other media sources. We have appeared on the front page of the Toronto Star 3 times(both published and digital). When Tom Brady won Superbowl LI on February 5, 2017, my picture and story was right under Tom Brady’s where he was raising the Vince Lombardi Championship Trophy.
Why the media picked up on the story is a source of another debate. The demonization of the personal injury lawyer? Everyone loves to hate on lawyers? A debate about the Law Society regulating its own? A debate on lawyer advertising? People hate lawyer advertising? Or people just hate lawyers and hate sells newspapers….
The complaint against my law firm was leaked to the Toronto Star before we even had a chance to respond to the allegations, when the complaint was in the very early confidential investigatory stages. All of the complainant law firms deny leaking the story to the Toronto Star. Maybe it was someone on the inside at the Law Society who wanted my story to get out. The Law Society denies the leak as well.
It’s also important to note that the complaint against my firm was not brought by a member of the general public, a former client, or a prospective client. It was brought by seven competitor law firms in London Ontario. These seven competitor law firms are all much larger than my law firm. Instead of reaching out to my law firm and telling me that they didn’t like my advertising, they went straight to Law Society. Talk about camaraderie and respect for your peers. The Law Society never reached out to my law firm either. They went straight to a formal discipline proceeding never affording my law firm an opportunity to rectify any wrongs. No invitation to correct any wrongs was ever extended. The wrongs against my law firm can be seen on virtually every lawyer or paralegal website in the business, but I don’t make it my place to issue a formal complaint against my peers for advertising issues. If I have a problem with someone’s marketing or a message that I truly find offensive, I’ll just give that person a call and let them know. In my experience, a little bit of dialogue can go a long way towards getting problems solved. This is what we’re taught as lawyers.
What could have been dealt with by way of simple phone call or email has been a part of my life for well over 2 years, with no end in sight. The Law Society has spent countless hours and dollars litigating my case. Four Pre-Hearing Conferences; One Hearing; One Appeal; One Motion; with written submissions to come. They hired an investigator to attend at my meeting locations in Peterborough, Kitchener and London to look around. A total of 9 different Benchers have now heard my case, with likely more to come.
The irony of the award for Canadian Lawyers Magazine comes from the word “specialize“. The Law Society doesn’t like lawyers using the word “specialize” because they view it as infringing on the Law Society’s “Certified Specialist Program”. The Law Society indicates on their website that:
“When you hire a Certified Specialist, you are hiring a lawyer who is recognized and experienced in his or her field of law and who has met high standards.”
There is no certified specialist designation for personal injury law by the Law Society.
Here is what the Law Society Tribunal (Law Society Court) had said (to date) when it comes to using the word “specializing in a practice area” vs. declaring that you’re a “certified specialist“:
 The respondent advertised that he “specialized” in several subject areas within the personal injury field. There is no Law Society specialist certification in these areas, or indeed in personal injury law generally.
 In my view, Mr. Goldfinger’s marketing efforts in this respect would not mislead an objective potential client who was looking for access to legal services. The advertisement was literally accurate, and most members of the public would not associate the word “specialize” with the Law Society’s specialist program at all.
 We therefore do not accept that the agreed facts, in the present context, would reasonably support a finding of professional misconduct, with respect to this allegation.
I don’t want any problems with the Law Society, so long ago when the complaint was first brought to my attention, I proactively and voluntarily changed the word that my law firm “specializes” in such things as brain injury cases, car accidents etc., to my law firm “concentrates on” or “focuses on“.
So, when Canadian Lawyers Magazine proclaims that they are “looking for your input on the best firms specializing in personal injury law” with the winner ultimately declaring that that they will be the best law firm specializing in personal injury law, you can see my gripe.
The debate regarding the word “specialize” is far from over. There are other cases out there where this issue may be determined. That word will be appealed over and over again, with an ultimate resolution either coming by way of jurisprudence, or benchers of the Law Society declaring that no lawyer other that a designated certified specialist can say that their law firm specializes in (insert practice area here). That would seem unfair to the practice areas such as personal injury where there is no certified specialist designation. This would also apply to all of the lawyers who focus their practices on areas where there are no certified specialist designations such as cannabis law, entertainment law, appellate work, regulatory work, and the list goes on.
So for now we wait and see. But until then, we encourage you to vote for Goldfinger Injury Lawyers as one of the best firms specializing in personal injury law as named by Canadian Lawyers Magazine.