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Homewood Human Solutions e-Courses can now be claimed for the LAWPRO Risk Management credit

October 24, 2014 By: TimLemieux Category: Announcements, Wellness and balance

MAP

As maintaining good mental health and coping well with stress helps lawyers avoid claims, LAWPRO financially supports the Law Society’s Member Assistance Program (MAP), which is administered by Homewood Human Solutions (HHS).

As of September 16, 2014, e-Courses offered on the HHS site will now be approved for the LAWPRO Risk Management credit. The approved e-Courses address issues including managing stress, managing alcohol and substance consumption, coping with financial pressures, and managing working relationships.

All the e-courses are 2 hours, with a 60 minute video (a voice-over with slides you can navigate to different ‘chapters’) and a downloadable PDF workbook (a few examples are attached below) that takes an estimated 60 minutes to complete. Each also offers links to additional resources that tie into the subject.

Here are the e-Courses currently available:

  • Embracing Workplace Change
  • Taking Control of Alcohol Use
  • Resilience
  • Preparing For Your Retirement
  • Taking Control of Stress
  • Taking Control of Anger
  • Taking Control of Your Money
  • Fundamentals of Effective Supervision
  • Responsible Optimism
  • Taking Control Of Your Career
  • Taking Control of Job Loss and Transition
  • Taking Control of Your Mood
  • Leading the Human Side of Change
  • Managing Sensitive Employee Issues
  • Values-based Leadership
  • Resolving Conflict in Intimate Relationships
  • Respect In The Workplace
  • Stop Smoking: Get Your Life Back!
  • Supporting Respect in the Workplace
  • Foundations of Effective Parenting

The program credits can be claimed by selecting “Credit for a Homewood e-Course offered through the LSUC Member Assistance Plan” on the Risk Management Credit declaration page. One credit ($50) per policy year can be claimed for completing an e-Course.

What keeps family law lawyers up at night? High-conflict cases

October 23, 2014 By: TimLemieux Category: Uncategorized

Like many areas of practice, family law is going through a period of change. Both clients and their lawyers are questioning traditional modes of practice. Economic woes both cause legal problems, and leave clients with limited resources with which to resolve them. Stress – for both families in crisis and for their lawyers – is a constant reality. Still, within this challenging climate, family lawyers are expected to work diligently and professionally in the service of their clients’ interests.

To understand how the bar is coping with the demands of modern family law practice, we invited a sampling of lawyers from across the province to answer the question “What keeps you up at night?”

Rachel E. Baron is a sole practitioner in Toronto, practising family law with particular emphasis on marriage contracts and cohabitation agreements, custody, support and property disputes.

The problem
High conflict cases can cause a lawyer to lose sleep. In a family law crisis, clients are often overwhelmed with emotional and financial issues. Unreasonable and difficult counsel can also cause further conflict, increasing stress on the lawyer and costs for the clients.

What helps
It is important to refer clients to the appropriate resources so that they can obtain the emotional help that they require due to their situations. It is critical for the lawyer to remain objective and professional. However, one must also be aware of the client’s social problems and deal with clients effectively and with empathy at an extremely difficult time in their lives – all without losing one’s objectivity.

A trusting relationship between opposing lawyers can help the parties work towards a resolution. When other lawyers see you as cooperative, it is easier to create an environment in which constructive solutions are possible, even in circumstances where the clients cannot solve the problem themselves.

The broader challenge
I believe the most significant practical challenge for the family bar in the next decade is the diversity of our population and cultural differences in Canada. Language barriers and cultural issues and differences will become more prevalent. It will be critical that lawyers understand and communicate effectively with their clients.

Advice for new lawyers
Learn to negotiate amicably with other counsel and deal with matters with honesty and integrity. The lawyer must be cooperative and respectful of other counsel and clients, and must remain organized, conscientious, meticulous and diligent in meeting all deadlines.

Commercial debt collection scam using the names Hu Shunliang and Ma-Shan Iron and Steel

October 23, 2014 By: TimLemieux Category: Uncategorized

A Hawaii firm notified us that they received an email from the purported Nagamoto Hu Shunliang of Ma-Shan Iron and Steel looking to retain them with regards to a commercial debt collection.

This is a classic bad cheque scam that presents as legal matter requiring the assistance of a lawyer. In this scam lawyers will be duped into wiring real funds from their trust accounts after depositing a fake cheque received as payment from the debtor (who is part of the fraud). See our Confirmed Fraud Page for more of an explanation of how these frauds work and to see other names associated with it. Our Fraud Fact Sheet lists the red flags of a bogus legal matter that is really a fraud.

Here is the initial email from the fraudster to the lawyer:

From: “Maanshan Iron Steel Co. Ltd” maanshanironsteel.co.ltd@outlook.com
Subject: Litigation Request
Date: October 22, 2014 at 2:44:05 PM HST
To: “dessmith@hawaiiantel.net” dessmith@hawaiiantel.net

Dear Attorney,

My company would like to sue our client for breach of contract and we are looking for a lawyer who has experience in the field of law that can relates to our case. Contact us for more details if you handle such cases.

Best Regards,
Mr. Hu Shunliang
Director of Human Resources,
Ma-Shan Iron & Steel co. ltd,

How to handle a real or suspected fraud Read the rest of this entry →

Commercial equipment purchase scam using the name Hisayo Yimada

October 23, 2014 By: FraudInfo Category: Confirmed frauds

A Colorado firm notified us that they received an email from the purported Hisayo Yimada looking to retain them with regards to making a large commercial purchase.

This is a bad cheque scam that presents as legal matter requiring the assistance of a lawyer. In this scam lawyers will be duped into wiring real funds from their trust accounts after depositing a fake cheque received as payment from the purchaser (who is part of the fraud). See our Confirmed Frauds page for more of an explanation of how these frauds work and to see other names associated with it. Our Fraud Fact Sheet lists the red flags of a bogus legal matter that is really a fraud.

Here is the initial contact email sent by the fraudster to the lawyer:

Name:
Hisayo Yimada

Email:
hisayoyimada054jp@outlook.com

Message:
Dear Attorney,

I got your contact details through an internet search. I want to inquire if your firm handles Purchase transactions and agreements.
A referral will be welcome if this is not your area of practice.

PS: Due to language barrier and time difference, communication via e-mail will be most preferable at this time.

Regards,
Hisayo Yimada
For: Yasushi Asanishi
President &CEO
GOSHO Industrial Co. Ltd.
6-4-10 NANKO-NAKA, SUMINOE-KU,
OSAKA, JAPAN
559-0033

Here is a follow-up email they sent:

This is a follow up email in regards to my request to you in my previous email; my company is in the process of selling one of its Dredgers. Please find below the name of the proposed buyer for your conflict check. I want to know your hourly rate for preparing a purchase agreement, I have attached some necessary details of the Dredger for your review please advise me on your rate, initial retainer fee and forward me your retainer agreement.

PROPOSED BUYER:
Platinum Engineering
1181 N Milford Rd
Milford, MI 48381
USA

I await your prompt response.

Sincerely,
Hisayo Yimada
For: Yasushi Asanishi
President &CEO
GOSHO Industrial Co. Ltd.
6-4-10 NANKO-NAKA, SUMINOE-KU,
OSAKA, JAPAN
559-0033
Tel: +81-6-6612-898

How to handle a real or suspected fraud Read the rest of this entry →

Commercial debt collection scam using the names Nagamoto Jim and Renesas Electronics

October 23, 2014 By: FraudInfo Category: Confirmed frauds

Seven firms in Ontario and the U.S. have notified us that they received an email from the purported Nagamoto Jim and Renesas Electronics looking to retain them with regards to a commercial debt collection.

This is a classic bad cheque scam that presents as legal matter requiring the assistance of a lawyer. In this scam lawyers will be duped into wiring real funds from their trust accounts after depositing a fake cheque received as payment from the debtor (who is part of the fraud). See our Confirmed Fraud Page for more of an explanation of how these frauds work and to see other names associated with it. Our Fraud Fact Sheet lists the red flags of a bogus legal matter that is really a fraud.

Here is the initial email from the fraudster to the lawyer:

From: Chan Feng Law Firm [mailto:aamasifuen@tecnicasmetalicas.com.pe]
Sent: Sunday, May 04, 2014 8:41 AM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: Re

Mr. Nagamoto Jim. An attorney of Chan Feng Law Firm Office here in Japan.We would like to know if you have conflict that will prevent you from representing our client Renesas ElectronicsCorporation, against an entity in your jurisdiction.This matter regards shipment and product’s standard. We have explore all avenues to resolve this issue amicably, unfortunately we have notprogressed as expected. If you require the name of the opposing party to conduct your conflict check, please respond to our inquiry and we are ready to pay your retainer fee immediately

Mr. Nagamoto Jim.
Chan Feng Law Firm
NBF Hibiya Building 14F
1-1-7, Uchisaiwaicho, Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo 100-0011, Japan
Tel:+81-3-3539-1371
Fax:+81-3-3939-1772
ivanweng004@citynew.com

How to handle a real or suspected fraud Read the rest of this entry →

Fraud coverage: Some title insurance policies may not protect your lender client – and may leave you in the cross-hairs

October 22, 2014 By: TimLemieux Category: Real estate, Title insurance

Fraudulent real estate transactions arising out of identity theft continue to be a concern as many real estate lawyers fall victim to unscrupulous imposter clients. Identity fraud has become increasingly difficult to detect as the quality of false identification and other documents improves. Further, fraudsters enlist the assistance of others to play the role of banker or other “neutrals” who will purportedly confirm the legitimacy of the transaction for a fee, thereby thwarting efforts by real estate lawyers to conduct effective due diligence on the transaction. The TitlePLUS program attributes approximately 18% of claims costs to fraud related claims.

The advent of fraud coverage offered by title insurance has provided reassurance to the extent that fraud coverage protects your innocent client as the victim of fraud. The typical scenario that title insurance may cover occurs in circumstances in which an imposter impersonates a homeowner in order to obtain mortgage financing by offering a mortgage against the homeowner’s property as security for the loan. The fact that the mortgage security was granted to the lender by an imposter without the true homeowner’s knowledge makes the mortgage invalid. The invalidity of the mortgage means the lender effectively loses any security for the underlying loan as against the mortgaged property. Lenders who have purchased title insurance that includes fraud coverage will typically be covered for any actual loss suffered arising out of the invalidity of the mortgage.

In an environment where increasingly sophisticated identity thefts make it difficult for real estate lawyers to discover fraud in the context of a real estate transaction, title insurance has been the best protection for title related fraud, especially for mortgage lender clients. Most title insurers offer title related fraud coverage which covers the scenario set out above. However, as with any type of insurance policy, certain limitations may apply. For example, some title insurers are now including an exception in the policies issued to private lenders for fraud coverage where the mortgage funds are distributed to third parties. The typical wording of this type of exception provides that, notwithstanding the coverage offered by the policy, the company may deny coverage and has no liability to the insured in the event the proceeds of the insured mortgage are paid to any person or entity other than the registered title holder, the holder of a prior registered encumbrance, execution creditor or other specified, limited types of payees (see this earlier post for more details).

This type of limitation in coverage can become problematic where the lender and borrower are represented by separate counsel, such as in private mortgage transactions over $50,000 where the lender and borrower are required to be separately represented. In that circumstance, the lender’s lawyer provides the mortgage advance to the borrower’s lawyer, in trust. The borrower’s lawyer accepts a direction from his/her client as to how the mortgage advance is to be paid out. The direction provides for funds to be paid to one or more third parties. Typically, the lender’s lawyer would not see this direction. If the lender’s lawyer is placing a policy of title insurance for the client, it is incumbent on the lawyer to review whether the policy will contain this type of exception and, if so, advise the client accordingly. The lawyer should communicate with the client to determine whether any further steps are warranted in the circumstances.

While some title insurers have recently added this type of exception to some policies, you should know that this type of exception is not being added to TitlePLUS polices as a matter of course (although TitlePLUS underwriting requires the subscribing lawyer to advise if funds are going to parties that do not appear to have any connection to the transaction).

If you place a title insurance policy on behalf of a lender client and do not advise that client about the limitations of coverage, including any exceptions contained in the policy, you should expect to find yourself the target of an E&O claim. If the lender’s claim is denied by a title insurer, it’s a good bet that the lender will start a negligence action against you as the next step to a possible recovery.

As always, while title insurance can provide useful protection in cases of title fraud, it is up to you as a real estate lawyer to help your clients understand the protection offered by a particular policy of title insurance. As always, you should advise your clients based on the precise circumstance of the transaction. Not all policies of title insurance are the same. Make sure that you explain the level of protection provided by any available policy. Depending on the coverage afforded, you should review whether additional steps need to be taken to protect your client’s interests.

This article is by Nadia Dalimonte, Claims Counsel at LAWPRO.

Commercial debt collection scam using the name David Gao

October 22, 2014 By: FraudInfo Category: Confirmed frauds

An Ontario firm notified us that they received an email from the purported David Gao looking to retain them with regards to a commercial debt collection.

This is a classic bad cheque scam that presents as legal matter requiring the assistance of a lawyer. In this scam lawyers will be duped into wiring real funds from their trust accounts after depositing a fake cheque received as payment from the debtor (who is part of the fraud). See our Confirmed Fraud Page for more of an explanation of how these frauds work and to see other names associated with it. Our Fraud Fact Sheet lists the red flags of a bogus legal matter that is really a fraud.

Here is the initial email from the fraudster to the lawyer:

From: “David Gao” davidgaao@gmail.com
Date: Oct 22, 2014 2:30 AM
Subject: Urgent Matter
To:
Cc:

Dear Counsel,

I am Attorney Gao, an attorney at M&A, Law office here in China.I urgently have a debt collection matter for you in your jurisdiction.Please reply me via email to discuss this further. Because of the time difference between China and your country, we can communicate via email.
Hope to receive a quick response to this email.
Regards
David Gao, Attorney at law

Address: Suite 2003, CITIC Building, 19 Jianguomenwai Avenue, Beijing, 100004, P.R.C.

How to handle a real or suspected fraud Read the rest of this entry →

Commercial debt collection scam using the name Glenn Luo

October 22, 2014 By: FraudInfo Category: Confirmed frauds

Three Ontario firms notified us that they received an email from the purported Glenn Luo looking to retain them with regards to a commercial debt collection.

This is a classic bad cheque scam that presents as legal matter requiring the assistance of a lawyer. In this scam lawyers will be duped into wiring real funds from their trust accounts after depositing a fake cheque received as payment from the debtor (who is part of the fraud). See our Confirmed Fraud Page for more of an explanation of how these frauds work and to see other names associated with it. Our Fraud Fact Sheet lists the red flags of a bogus legal matter that is really a fraud.

Here is the initial email from the fraudster to the lawyer:

On Mon, Oct 20, 2014 at 7:25 AM, Glenn Luo wrote:
> I am Attorney Glenn, an attorney at M&A, Law office here in China. I
> urgently have a debt collection matter for you in your jurisdiction. Please
> reply me via email to discuss this further. Because of the time difference
> between China and your country, we can communicate via email.
> Hope to receive a quick response to this email.
> Regards
> Attorney Glenn LUO

Replying to the email brought this response:

Thanks for your prompt response. Please be informed that the debt in question is as a result of an outstanding payment of $477,320.00 for equipments delivered in good condition to our customer (Liftow Toronto 3150 American drive Toronto,ON L4v1b4) The due date for payment as agreed based on our signed agreement & issued invoice was 1st of October, 2013. Please do carry out a conflict check on my debtor and let me know if it’s a collection your firm could assist my company in handling.

Finally and most importantly, be informed that we intend working on a contingency basis and we will like to draw your attention to the relationship with our customer which has been cordial and we have had successful business relationship over the past few years, and it is in our position to maintain this relationship after collection of the outstanding sum owed to us if it’s possible.

Upon receipt of your positive response, I will send you a copy of the agreement and invoice for the collection. I look forward to a timely response from you.

Sincerely,

Attorney Glenn LUO
M & A Law office, China

How to handle a real or suspected fraud Read the rest of this entry →

What keeps family law lawyers up at night? Self-represented parties

October 21, 2014 By: TimLemieux Category: Family law

Like many areas of practice, family law is going through a period of change. Both clients and their lawyers are questioning traditional modes of practice. Economic woes both cause legal problems, and leave clients with limited resources with which to resolve them. Stress – for both families in crisis and for their lawyers – is a constant reality. Still, within this challenging climate, family lawyers are expected to work diligently and professionally in the service of their clients’ interests.

To understand how the bar is coping with the demands of modern family law practice, we invited a sampling of lawyers from across the province to answer the question “What keeps you up at night?”

Helene Desormeau and Christopher Giggey are partners in a Cornwall family law practice. Each identified self-represented family litigants as an issue of particular concern. Ms. Desormeau’s comments focus on access to justice, particularly for victims of family violence; Mr. Giggey talks about the challenges of representing a family law client where the opponent lacks representation.

Helene Desormeau
The problem
I’m concerned when I encounter victims of domestic violence who earn under $19,000 annually or who are in receipt of public assistance, but who are refused traditional legal aid because the violence was “not serious enough.” I have also encountered people who have to go to court because they are afraid that the ex-partner will attend to kidnap the children, but who don’t qualify for legal aid because the ex-partner lives 200 kilometres away; or men or women forced to bring motions to vary support after a drastic change in financial circumstances (such as losing their employment) who must attend court without legal counsel. Although the situations described above are serious from my perspective, they do not qualify for legal aid.

What helps
I’ve served as family court duty counsel, and I’ve assisted in the local Family Law Information Centre. Also, I often accept clients funded under special domestic violence duty counsel certificates. These certificates – often issued by shelters – entitle the recipient to two hours of legal assistance. Two hours is usually not enough time to meaningfully help someone in dealing with the breakdown of the relationship, to provide advice about legal rights and possible remedies, or to assist these people in cutting through the cobwebs of the legal issues they face. In many cases, all I can do is draft pleadings for these clients so that they at least have a good first step into the family court world.

The bigger challenge
Duty counsel and advice lawyers from the Family Law Information Centre are generally extremely knowledgeable and exceptionally helpful and patient. However, they often lack the time to follow a matter through, especially when both sides tend to be self-represented.

And they cannot shelter victims of violence by sending correspondence on their behalf, or by ensuring that the aggressor does not have their personal contact information. When unrepresented, the victims of domestic violence may continue to be victimized by the aggressor by having to communicate directly with that person, often when they are at their weakest. Legal aid budgets and services continue to shrink; if this trend continues, the only people likely to have legal counsel in family court are those who earn substantially over $50,000 annually, and can afford to privately retain a lawyer

Christopher Giggey
The problem
The ever-increasing proportion of self-represented litigants in family court means the proceedings often become protracted and more time intensive, due in part to the fact that the other side does not have the benefit of ongoing legal representation. This can translate into increased legal fees for represented clients, because additional time must often be spent in dealing directly with opponents who have a limited understanding of the law and of legal procedure.

What helps
In my initial correspondence to the self-represented litigant, I set out my obligations under rule 2.04(14) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Notwithstanding this, I have found that the self-represented litigant will attempt to obtain direction – and sometimes legal advice – from me. As a result, it often becomes necessary to remind the other party of my role and my obligations throughout the proceeding.

Sometimes a self-represented opponent sends an unmanageable volume of email; when this happens, I have followed the suggestion of other lawyers, and have asked that all future correspondence be via mailed letter. I also take the time to explain to my client, at the outset of the retainer, that courts may provide a self-represented party with some leeway in presenting their case and complying with deadlines. Hopefully, this assists in managing their expectations down the road, when procedures are relaxed somewhat to account for a party being self-represented.

Advice for new lawyers
Establish contacts with more senior lawyers in your area of practice. Senior counsel are usually more than willing to pass on their knowledge and experience. There will come a time when you need to rely on this support network, and therefore, you should ensure that it is in place at the outset.

The full article can be found in the August 2012 issue of LAWPRO Magazine. All past LAWPRO Magazine articles can be found at www.lawpro.ca/magazinearchives

Commercial debt collection scam using the names Andreas Foglar and Eisen-Dorn

October 21, 2014 By: FraudInfo Category: Confirmed frauds

Firms in Ontario and New Mexico notified us that they received an email from the purported Andreas Foglar of Eisen-Dorn looking to retain them with regards to a commercial debt collection.

This is a classic bad cheque scam that presents as legal matter requiring the assistance of a lawyer. In this scam lawyers will be duped into wiring real funds from their trust accounts after depositing a fake cheque received as payment from the debtor (who is part of the fraud). See our Confirmed Fraud Page for more of an explanation of how these frauds work and to see other names associated with it. Our Fraud Fact Sheet lists the red flags of a bogus legal matter that is really a fraud.

Here is the initial email from the fraudster to the lawyer:

From: ANDREAS DEINHARDSTEIN [mailto:andreas.foglar-deinhardsteini@fdblawyer.com]
Sent: Thursday, October 09, 2014 8:35 AM
To:
Subject: CONTRACT NEGOTIATION

I am soliciting for your assistance for legal representation on behalf of my Client [EISEN DORN] in a breach of contract case in your jurisdiction.

DR ANDREAS FOGLAR-DEINHARDSTEIN * PARTNER FOGLAR-DEINHARDSTEIN PLANKENGASSE 7 * A-1015 VIENNA * AUSTRIA P.O. BOX 38 * WWW.FDBLAWYERS.COM DIRECT TELEPHONE: 612-610-03956 * FACSIMILE: 612-601-3959

Replying to the email brought this response:

We would like to thank you for your response to our inquiry for legal services. However, We wish to inform you that we would be needing your firms legal help to assist us with a breach of contract matter and also retrieve funds owed to our company. The contract of sales was signed on the 7th March 2014, Seller [ACE HARDWARE] was suppose to deliver to us the buyer on or before 2rd April 2014. However, ACE HARDWARE delivered some of the product to us on the 2rd April 2014 and promised to have the balance product delivered to us within 2weeks, because they had issues in the manufacturing of the balance product. The deadline date for the balance delivery was extended to 16th April 2014 as requested by ACE HARDWARE. Quite unfortunately, the extended deadline was not honoured.
We ordered hardware device from ACE HARDWARE, the total contract sum of $947,697was paid in full for the goods to be delivered to us. Parts of the products we order were delivered leaving a balance goods what $659,548 undelivered, up till date the remaining product were not delivered. We decided to call off the delivery of the balance product and requested for refunds but they have refused to make the refund to us. The amount in dispute is $647,697
We had a cordial and successful business relationship with ACE HARDWARE over the years, We are hoping to maintain this relationship after settling this issue.
If retained our expectation from your firm will be within the scenario of an engagement letter to our client. We believe this will trigger a positive response from them towards amicable settlement otherwise we will not hesitate to go into court litigation. We are prepared to pay your retainer fees and any other fees incurred during the course of this mater.
ACE HARDWARE
8201 Golf Course Rd NW # E Albuquerque, NM 87120
See attached documents relating to this transaction for your review. Please send to me your standard retainer agreement and address the retainer agreement to Will Kommen the Chief Executive Officer.

Regards,
Marilyn Lester
Accounts Payable Manager
Eisen Dorn
Praterstr. 9
1020 Vienna, Austria
Eisendorn.at
Tel: 612-617-20249
Fax: 612-610-83541

How to handle a real or suspected fraud Read the rest of this entry →