October 22, 2020
Fake Law Firm Alert – Lawman & Associates
The Law Society of Alberta (the Law Society) wants to alert the public and Alberta lawyers about a business, “Lawman & Associates”, purporting to be a law firm. The business operates a website at https://lawmanslaw.ca. The individuals associated with the business are falsely holding themselves as members of the Law Society and are offering legal services. 

The personal information and photographs used on the “Our People” section of the “Lawman & Associates” website are the names of real Alberta lawyers, but the Law Society has confirmed that the lawyers listed are not associated with the business and the information is being used without their permission. 

The Law Society also obtained an Advance Fee letter associated with the website which was purported to be written by an Alberta lawyer. The letter indicated there was an unclaimed life insurance payout available to the recipients and “the Alberta lawyer” wanted to share 90 per cent of the funds with the recipients with 10 per cent going to charity. The Law Society has received other reports of similar letters sent from “Lawman & Associates”. 

The fraudulent website was reported to the website hosting provider in August and we were informed the matter would be investigated. Periodic checks through September and October reveal that the “Lawman & Associates” website is still fully operational. 

Some of the impacted lawyers have contacted local law enforcement, but without a suspect and this likely being an online scam, there is little action that can be taken other than raising awareness.  

Actions to be taken by lawyers and law firms

Lawyers, law firms and staff are often the targets of fraud, which is a growing problem in Alberta. Many of these schemes are elaborate, with fraudsters going to great lengths to attempt to appear legitimate. Lawyers and staff should watch for suspicious emails and be skeptical in providing too much information, especially if someone is trying to collect information about the law firm, or if they are seeking personal or financial information. 

To report suspicious or potentially fraudulent activity of which your colleagues and staff should be aware, please send an email to the ALIAlert mailbox. To review previous ALIAAlerts, visit the website.

Other steps that lawyers and law firms can take is to report these types of activities to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre or post a link to this information on their own law firm websites. 

Actions to be taken by the public

Fraudsters are going to great lengths to make their schemes seem legitimate like using a fake website and listing the names of real lawyers. Although there is no way to know what the next scam will look like, most demonstrate common patterns that if identified, can help prevent fraud and loss. To learn more about the red flags to look for, read this article.

Also, before retaining a lawyer, make sure they are an active member of the Law Society of Alberta. This can be done by conducting a search through the Law Society of Alberta’s Lawyer Directory or by emailing the Law Society's Customer Service team.  
New Resources: Returning to Practice & Leaving the Practice of Law
Returning to Practice 
Whether you have taken a few years off to care for children or other family members, to take a sabbatical, or to work outside the legal profession, returning to active practice after an extended hiatus can be daunting.
This guide is intended to help you navigate the reinstatement process. You may also review the Law Society’s practice transition webinars.
Leaving the Practice of Law
We will all face a time in our lives when we need to plan for retirement. In other cases, lawyers may need to step away from practice temporarily.
This guide is intended to help lawyers navigate retiring or taking a leave of absence from practice.
Looking for a Locum? Try Locum Connect
The Law Society of Alberta operates Locum Connect as a free service for lawyers looking for, or offering, work as a locum. This program can be a valuable resource for your law practice, particularly during this time of uncertainty.

As a locum, the program offers a way to access firms with available work who may be looking for someone with your knowledge and experience.

As an employer, if you or your law partner fall ill and need someone to step in on short notice, participating in Locum Connect can help make that transition as smooth as possible by connecting you with an available listing of locum lawyers. The program can also help you keep up with demands if you need extra support handling a new file or an unexpected surge in business, without having to make a long-term commitment or add ongoing overhead to your operations.

Either way, participating in Locum Connect can help you reduce the risk of leaving clients unrepresented or your business partners, staff and family uncertain of where to turn.

You can craft the terms of a locum engagement to reflect your needs and availability. Locums can serve as short-term employees or independent contractors, full-time or part-time, and they can perform their work on-site or remotely.

For full details on how to participate as either a locum or an employer, visit our website.
One Week Remaining for Submissions for “My Experience” Project
As detailed in previous communications, we are inviting Alberta lawyers, articling students, law students and internationally trained lawyers (including those who are not yet called to the Alberta bar) to submit stories about their own experiences where racial discrimination or stereotyping impacted their legal career. 

Submissions for the “My Experience” Project close on October 30, 2020. You can submit your experience by video, audio or written format and have the option to share it anonymously. Your experience can be submitted on our engagement website, Law Society Listens.
We look forward to gathering this information and assessing the opportunities and challenges that come out of it. 
Find out about other equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives here. Questions about the project can be directed to the Law Society's Communications department
Desk Applications Presentation and Information Session
Following on this week's earlier eBulletin, the Court of Queen's Bench is hosting a Webex Presentation entitled Desk Applications: The Role of Quality Materials in a Digital World...and Always. The presentation will focus on how to best make use of the Court's online desk applications system. To join the session, click on the link below.

October 26, 2020
12:30 p.m.

Click here to join the session.