Professional Requirements and Obligations
Coaches, Advisors and Participants in the Coach and Advisor Network are subject to all requirements and obligations set out in the submitted Application and Request Forms and Agreements the Law Society Act, the Law Society’s By-Laws, the Rules of Professional Conduct (the “Rules”) and the Paralegal Rules of Conduct (the “Paralegal Rules”), as applicable.
All Coaches, Advisors and Participants must comply with their obligations to their clients under section 3.3 of the Rules and rule 3.03 of the Paralegal Rules. The Participant must not disclose confidential information to the Coach or Advisor unless permitted by the Rules or Paralegal Rules, and must ensure that privilege is preserved.
Where confidential information needs to be disclosed by the Participant for a meaningful discussion between the Coach or Advisor and Participant, the Participant must obtain and document the client’s consent to disclose the confidential information to the Coach or Advisor in accordance with the Rules or Paralegal Rules, and no more than is necessary for the discussion should be disclosed. Once client consent has been obtained, the Participant should inform the Coach or Advisor that confidential information will be disclosed so that the Coach or Advisor can take steps to comply with the Coach’s or Advisor’s obligation to conduct an appropriate conflict check.
All Coaches, Advisors and Participants must remain mindful of their obligations to their clients under section 3.4 of the Rules and rule 3.04 of the Paralegal Rules, as applicable.
Where confidential information needs to be disclosed by the Participant for a meaningful discussion, the Coach or Advisor should conduct an appropriate conflict check. The Coach or Advisor shall decline the referral if he or she has any concern about compliance with the Rules or the Paralegal Rules, as applicable.
Duty to Report
Status as a Coach, Advisor or Participant does not affect the application of section 7.1-3 of the Rules or subrule 9.01(2) of the Paralegal Rules.
Errors or Omissions
Where a Coach or Advisor becomes aware of an error or omission made by a Participant, the Coach or Advisor should remind the Participant of his or her obligation to report a real or potential claim(s). The Coach or Advisor should refer the Participant to section 7.8 of the Rules or subrule 3.02(21) of the Paralegal Rules and the obligations set out in the Participant’s professional indemnity policy. Participants may wish to contact the confidential Practice Management Helpline.
Professional Liability Insurance
Errors and Omissions coverage for claims arising from a Coach and Advisor Network relationship requires a fact-specific inquiry conducted by a professional liability insurer. Coverage may not be available for all claims.
All lawyers and some paralegals who are in a multi-disciplinary practice or in partnership with lawyers, are insured by LawPRO. LawPRO is supportive of mentorship relationships and has established criteria that if met, will result in a waiver of the deductible if a claim arises from the mentorship relationship. However, please be aware that, as noted above, LawPRO coverage may not be available for all claims arising from a Coach and Advisor Network relationship. Any excess coverage will be under the terms of the relevant excess insurance policy.
LawPRO requires that:
- mentorship relationships be confirmed in writing
- mentors have no contact with the mentee’s clients that would create a lawyer-client relationship
- the mentee understands that he or she is personally responsible for satisfying him or herself of the soundness of any suggestions, recommendations or advice-like comments made by the mentor.
For further information, please review LawPRO’s Managing a Mentoring Relationship booklet, available through the practicePRO website at www.practicepro.ca.
LawPRO also offers optional run-off insurance which may be available to respond to claims covered under the policy for some lawyers who qualify for an exemption from insurance. See www.lawpro.ca for more information.
Other Professional Liability Insurers
Paralegals (other than those required to be insured under the LawPRO program) obtain their Errors and Omissions insurance from a variety of insurers. For more information on the availability of coverage with respect to their participation in CAN, paralegal Coaches and Advisors may wish to contact their professional liability insurers and provide them with copies of the CAN Application and Agreement and Request for Time with a Coach (or Advisor) Form and Agreement (as applicable).
All Coaches, Advisors and Participants should maintain records of their engagements both to evidence the limited scope of the relationship and to support any claim for CPD hours, including applications to the Law Society for accreditation of CAN participation as professionalism hours where applicable.
Requests for Time with a Coach or Advisor are not intended to create an ongoing relationship.
If a Coach or Advisor and a Participant are both interested in continuing their connection without the involvement of the Coach and Advisor Network, they are welcome to do so. This may include an arrangement to discuss any new developments that relate to the original inquiry, an agreement to provide support for the duration of a particular client matter or a more traditional mentorship relationship.
The Coach or Advisor and Participant must structure the relationship as noted above to have the benefits of preferred treatment for mentors under the LawPRO insurance program. For guidance on what to discuss when setting the terms of a mentoring relationship, please review LawPRO’s Managing a Mentoring Relationship booklet mentioned above. Though it was designed for lawyers, the information it contains may also be useful to paralegals.
Other Support Available
While efforts will be made to screen Requests for Time with a Coach or Advisor, it may be that a Participant has an issue that would be more appropriately dealt with by the Law Society’s Practice Management Helpline or by the Member’s Assistance Plan.
For guidance on pressing ethical and practice management issues, lawyers and paralegals should contact the Law Society’s strictly confidential Practice Management Helpline at 416-947-3315 and ask to be connected to the Helpline. The Practice Management Helpline is available during business hours, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm and responds to inquiries within one business day.
For personal health and wellness issues, lawyers and paralegals may wish to consider the confidential services available through the Member Assistance Plan. The Member Assistance Plan can be reached at www.myassistplan.com or 1-855-403-8922 - 24hrs a day/ 7 days a week.