Licensed professionals, such as lawyers, dentists, physicians, real estate agents, teachers and other professionals are held to a higher standard than people in non-licensed professions. They have undergone grueling licensing procedures at the outset of their career and have complied with maintenance procedures throughout the duration of their career.
Today, more than ever, these professionals are held to exacting standards of conduct. Clients and patients, often eager to blame someone for their misfortunes can turn on the very people that have been attempting to help them. For those professionals – lawyers, psychiatrists, physicians, nurses and dentists – who accepted a difficult or troubled client or patient, and did their very best to help, an accusation of wrongful conduct or misconduct can be devastating, both emotionally and professionally. To their dismay, these caring men and women find their professional reputations, even their very livelihoods, potentially destroyed by an allegation.
The boards, colleges, societies, or committees that oversee professionals take allegations of misconduct seriously. They investigate the allegations and, if they conclude that the accusations are meritorious, initiate formal proceedings. Such proceedings are adversarial, with the accused essentially treated as a criminal – except without the safeguards accorded those accused of crimes, such as fundamental due process and the presumption of innocence.
Because the stakes are so high, professional misconduct cases must be treated with the utmost care. Hearings are essentially trials. Therefore, when retaining counsel to defend you against an accusation of professional misconduct, choose a seasoned trial lawyer experienced in the adversarial litigation process. Our lawyers are experienced in every level of court proceedings both in Canada and internationally. Lawyers lacking experience and self-assurance are likely to recommend settling a case short of a fair resolution to shake their misgivings about successfully defending you before the board. Prior to these hearings, the parties are sizing each other up. A trial lawyer with an impressive trial record and a demonstrated willingness to “see them to court” may well accomplish what the insecure lawyer considered implausible.
We meet regularly with our clients, analyze the strengths and weaknesses in the case against them, and with the client’s assistance devise a strategy to obtain the best possible outcome. Perhaps, in no other type of investigation or prosecution can the shrewd advice, hard work and experience of the law firm make such a difference to a satisfactory outcome for a client fighting to preserve his license and his reputation.