The Law Society Tribunal Hearing Division released the decision of Law Society of Ontario v Spiegel on May 8th, 2018. Roland Spiegel, a Richmond Hill paralegal, has been stripped of his license to provide legal services, and was ordered to pay costs of $175, 000 in response to his professional misconduct allegations that were heard at the Tribunal in November 2017. These allegations date back to complaints launched in 2011, and for which disciplines proceedings were authorized by the Law Society to be commenced in 2013.
The panel highlighted extensively Mr. Spiegel’s knowingly dishonest actions over the course of his career. Spiegel, has for example, submitted numerous OCF-18 treatment plans under the SABS on which he placed electronic signatures of medical professionals and clients, confirming knowingly false statements that the signatories had not prepared or reviewed. Spiegel also submitted invoices to insurance companies which exaggerated his services, that on their face said he provided services he had not in fact done.
The Tribunal applied the decision in Bolton v Law Society regarding the importance of the duty to be honest. The Tribunal said:
It is required of lawyers practicing in this country that they should discharge their professional duties with integrity, probity and complete trustworthiness- That requirement applies as much to barristers as it does to solicitors…
The Tribunal emphasized that all signs pointed to complete revocation of Mr. Spiegel’s license, specifically upon application of the Aguirre factors as set out in Law Society of Upper Canada v Aguirre. The 12 key factors considered include the defendant’s level of remorse. The Tribunal emphasized that the statements made by Mr. Spiegel acknowledging his actions both at the hearing and penalty hearing did not “reflect any acceptance of responsibility for the misconduct”.
Mr. Spiegel ultimately attempted to justify his actions by suggesting that “he was entitled to do what he was doing as a result of his interpretation of various cases and that the insurance companies were aware and did not complain.” The Tribunal held that justification for Mr. Spiegel’s actions based on the fact that “everyone does it’ was unreasonable and inconsistent with what the public expects of paralegals.”
The Tribunal also considered the multiplicity of Mr. Spiegel’s actions in making its ruling, saying “Mr. Spiegel did not comply with his obligations to the Law Society over many years and after multiple reminders and clarifications.”
The initial Bill of Costs presented by the Law Society was valued at over $380,000, mainly because the hearing was prolonged due to the actions of Mr. Spiegel. The Tribunal ultimately reduced costs to $175,000, in order to reflect Mr. Spiegel’s financial circumstances but maintained that it did not reduce the amount nearly as much as it would have had Mr. Spiegel not been a major contributor to such a long hearing.
The long awaited decision handed down from the Tribunal likely comes as welcome news to those who have dealt with the antics of Mr. Spiegel throughout his career. Where Mr. Spiegel still holds himself out as a rehabilitation service provider, one might anticipate that his lack of a paralegal license might not dissuade him from continuing to seek to earn a livelihood in the field of accident claims.