Toronto personal injury lawyer Jeremy Diamond must not practice law for three months and has been fined $100,000 after being found guilty of professional misconduct for misleading advertising, according to an order made by a Law Society disciplinary panel.
Diamond is the face of the firm Diamond & Diamond, known across the country for billboards, TV and radio spots boasting “nothing is tougher than a diamond.”
In a March 29 decision, the panel ordered Diamond not to practice law or provide legal services for three months starting April 28, 2023. The Law Society Tribunal is an independent adjudicative body that hears and decides regulatory cases between the Law Society and Ontario lawyers and paralegals “in a manner that is fair, just and in the public interest.”
During that three-month period, Diamond must comply “as if suspended,” under some, but not all, of the Law Society’s guidelines for lawyers who are suspended.
Reached by the Star, his lead lawyer, Brian Greenspan, stressed Friday the penalty imposed on Diamond is not a suspension. “It is an order that does not affect or impact the operations of Diamond & Diamond nor its 65 lawyers across the country. It only requires that Jeremy Diamond not personally attend at his office or personally take on new clients or personally provide legal advice for three months.”
Nevertheless, Greenspan said Diamond will appeal the order.
In 2021, Diamond admitted before the panel that between 2013 and 2017 he did improperly market personal injury legal services by failing to disclose “clearly and prominently” that Diamond & Diamond referred thousands of potential clients to other lawyers for fees.
He later sought to revoke that admission after the tribunal, led by chair Malcolm Mercer, indicated that a reprimand, as jointly recommended by prosecutors and Diamond’s defense team, was too lenient, “in the context of failures of honesty and integrity in communications to very large numbers of potential clients over a long period of time.”
The panel eventually rejected Diamond’s bid to accept his guilty plea and, after further arguments, crafted a penalty decision released this week.
“Having improperly rejected the joint submission of the Law Society and counsel that a reprieve was both fair and appropriate, the Tribunal imposed a purely punitive and unjustifiably harsh penalty which would be appealed,” Greenspan wrote in an emailed statement.
The next step would be for Diamond to request that his penalty be put on hold. If that is granted, Diamond can continue practicing law pending the outcome of the appeal.
During legal arguments earlier this year, Greenspan argued that Diamond’s ubiquity would make it impossible for him to comply with the rules of suspension, such as removing his name from all of the firm’s internet sites. A suspension would also have unduly harsh repercussions on the dozens of lawyers who work at the firm, Greenspan told the panel.
According to the panel’s order released this week, Diamond must during the three-month period ensure the firm’s website “prominently” indicates that he is “not currently permitted to practice law or provide legal services, or cause all references to Mr. Diamonds to be removed.”
As well, the panel stated Diamond must not be referred to “in new or renewed marketing or advertising, in any form, that had not been arranged prior to the date of these reasons.”
The Law Society first alleged Diamond had engaged in professional misconduct related to advertising back in 2008.
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