12.03.2016 10:48 AM

Trial lawyers: there’s nothing scummier than a diamond

In Ontario, where I live, I don’t think any single group has destroyed the reputation of what was once a noble profession – the profession of law – more than personal injury lawyers. With their 50 per cent contingency fees, and referral fees, and “litigation financing,” and whatnot, they are a disgrace. 

You see them leering at you from the backside of every bus, and even above urinals at the ACC: you won’t pay a cent! We only get paid when you get paid! Trust us!

Well, you shouldn’t. And the “lawyers” at the very bottom of trial lawyer barrel are Diamond and Diamond – who have now finally been exposed in a huge Toronto Star exposé this morning, here.

Some of the highlights:

  • Their “award-winning” trial lawyer has actually never tried a case 
  • They don’t actually work on most cases – they just refer them somewhere else for a fat fee
  • Clients say their private information has been given to other lawyers without permission
  • The face of the Diamond firm has been charged with passing off counterfeit money in a casino
  • He has called one client a “fag” and others at the firm call clients “retarded”
  • They are the subject of umpteen complaints about advertising and ethics 

Not every personal injury lawyer is a scumbag, of course. Many years ago, I worked with a few who seemed to be decent. But they, in part, let this weed sprout up  everywhere. Money talks, I guess. (Oh, and do you want to know one of the main reasons why insurance is sometimes so expensive? It’s because of fraud, and because of outrageous contingency fees and referral fees charged by trial lawyers. That’s why.)

And what has the law society done about this? Pretty much nothing. What have the CBA and OBA done about it? Nothing that I am aware of – and I used to sit on their executives. What has the province of Ontario done about contingencies and the like? Zero, zippo, zilch. Diamond and Diamond are scummy, to be sure, but the blame for this appalling situation is not all theirs. Others let it happen. 

I think the Star is just getting started on this issue. (At least, I hope so.) We will see what they do next – and what the once-noble legal profession does. 

If anything. 


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    dave constable says:

    Well, hasn’t been a noble profession in the past to everyone… Chekhov could be hard on lawyers (and his own profession), as was Dickens, with a character in ‘Bleak House’ offering that a lawyer’s prime aim is to make money. In one of the Henry plays, Shakespeare has a butcher who wants to improve England say something like, First thing we do, is we kill all the lawyers. Chaucer’s lawyer is not a bad fellow.

    So, I guess it was somewhere between Chaucer and Shakespeare that the law profession lost its noble luster.

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      MississaugaPeter says:

      Luke 11: 46 And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.

      47 Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.

      48 Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres.

      49 Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute:

      50 That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation;

      51 From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.

      52 Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.

      53 And as he said these things unto them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to urge him vehemently, and to provoke him to speak of many things:

      54 Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him.

      King James Version (KJV)

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        MississaugaPeter says:

        Now that is not to knock lawyers, since 1 of my 4 is in law school and hopefully at least 1 more will follow in her footsteps.

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    redraven says:

    and if you can make it here you can make it anywhere especially politics.

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    bluegreenblogger says:

    I do remember when I was a kid there was a bit of a public debate about lawyers advertising, and the limitations the society(s) put on those ads. I do remember that contingency fees were considered an ethical rubicon never to be crossed, in the Eighties they were anyway. Then mebbe 15 years ago? the ‘you don’t pay a cent event’ started. Kind of makes me think now, how did that Rubicon turn into a dashed line nobody cared about crossing? Gee, there must have been quite the debate over that. I am sure the TTC will be very upset if those ads have to go away now.

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    I was called to the Bar in 1995, having already discarded my rose-coloured glasses…

    Some firms live by the rule that they must win, absolutely at any cost. In my book, winning by procedural chicanery is in no way comparable to winning in court. That’s where the real lawyers earn their stripes. They are the ones worthy of respect.

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    rww says:

    I had never heard of them till I saw their ads recently at the start of Rogers On Demand programs. Knowing nothing else about them my first thought were “ambulance chasers”.

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    billbc says:

    Am I correct in remembering that in my childhood, in the 1950s in Ontario, it was either against the law or against the Bar Association’s rules for lawyers to work for contingency fees, or indeed to advertise at all?

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      bluegreenblogger says:

      I think you are almost correct. I believe the Law society prohibited both those things, but the prohibition did not have the force of law. If I recall correctly, the only ads allowed a lawyer were Yellow Pages listings, and not even in bold type. That was in the early nineties.

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    Ron says:

    I never knew about this ‘trade’ before the Celino & Barnes ads from Buffalo. Then we started to see it here too.

    Remember the good old days when lawyers didn’t or couldn’t advertise ? As soon as that cork was removed from the
    bottle you couldn’t go a day, then an hour without seeing their ads. They all sound to good to be true.

    There is a name for these characters : ambulance chasers.

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    pat says:

    I always wondered about a system that uses tax dollars to pay for cops, and judges, and prosecutors, but doesn’t pay for lawyers. In a country with a charter of rights and freedoms that is supposed to level the playing field, and with labor law that is supposed to protect workers,and at a time when slander is an everyday pastime – a hobby almost for the weaker ones – well I just wonder why when we celebrate all these rights how it makes any sense that the last straw of your dignity is too expensive for everyday people – seems bizarre to me that we spend all that money on one side, and then nothing on the side that protects people from abuse.

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    P. Brenn says:

    hate the stuff…rampant in ottawa too …employment law another one – out to protect “you”..”fees marginal and will be paid by employer”..sure

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    S. Stuart says:

    I don’t follow the bit linking contingency fees and high interest rates – aren’t contingency fees charged as a percentage of, rather than in addition to, damages?

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    Tim Sullivan says:

    Disappointed, WK.

    You take the worst of the worst and generalize to the population. Many personal injury lawyers, one mentioned on the article, have done what they can to reign in this excess. When people are injured in car accidents, there is no one who will help except a personal injury lawyer. The insurance companies won’t and one’s mother can’t.

    And who, pray tell, charges 50% contingency?

    The absolute best legal advice is to stay out of a car accident. The industry has rigged the system so contrary to injured people’s interests — it’s a sin. PI lawyers, for the most part, do what they can to help people get back to where they should be. And yes, they get paid. But with a threshold before you can sue, the limits on what you can ask from your own insurance company, and the monetary limits and time limits so difficult to navigate, especially when you are injured, on meds, maybe on reduced income because of a job loss or reduced hours to treat injury … there are so many problems which arise from a moderate to severe car accident, you would turn to a lawyer, too.

    Diamond is perceived as “reputable” for no better reason than his ads. Listen, sheeple, find a good lawyer by asking around, and avoid the scum, as WK calls them.

    It is easy to be critical of lawyers, but they are the first to turn to when things go badly.

    And don’t call me about your car accident. I can get someone to the right guy, but It is too difficult and time consuming and the margins are too low and the overhead too high and the insurance companies too in control for many lawyers to make a go of it.

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      Warren says:


      Interesting choice of words.

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        Tim Sullivan says:

        If anyone is buying into Diamond being reputable, it has nothing to do with a record or reputation — it is advertising only.


        It is the phenomenon which gets the likes of Trump elected.

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