Fraud Alert: Solicitation via Apparently Legitimate Persons
A Calgary lawyer recently received an out-of-country fax seeking legal services related to an inheritance of a large sum of money which he wanted to invest in this country.
The person sending the fax attempted to use a genuine person’s name and a real life international event to add legitimacy to his enquiry. This request for services seemed too good to be true and it was found not to be authentic.
In another instance, a lawyer received two separate requests for service from the purported senders via a Gmail type account. The companies and names quoted in the emails were legitimate. The senders appeared to have assumed the identity of the CEO’s within the organizations. What is notable is that the organizations quoted are multinational companies who probably have their own counsel. Realistically it would not be the president but the company counsel who would have been engaged for this type of work. It is also standard procedure to use corporate email addresses for making contact with any external counsel for legal matters.
Lawyers are encouraged to do comprehensive inquires on queries received particularly if they appear to have curious circumstances.
Fraud Alert: Counterfeit Trust Cheques
Alberta lawyers continue to be the target of attempted frauds on their trust accounts.
A Canmore lawyer had a series of fraudulent cheques processed through his trust account. Another Alberta lawyer was recently advised by his bank that a cheque purportedly drawn on the trust account had been presented at a branch. The bank staff were diligent in their review of this cheque and of the trust account balance. The request for funds was refused and no loss was incurred.
The Law Society of Alberta advises lawyers to be vigilant in monitoring their trust accounts. If you encounter a similar situation, please contact the Law Society at ReportingFraud@lawsociety.ab.ca.
Improving Access to Justice - Alberta Law Foundation 2012 Annual Report
The Alberta Law Foundation plays a substantial role in improving access to justice by supporting grantees that provide legal services to some of the province’s most disadvantaged populations. Over the last two years, the Foundation Board has made it a priority to fund programs and projects that provide direct legal services to vulnerable individuals in Alberta. In 2011-12 the Directors approved 92 of 96 applications for funding.
In its fiscal year ended March 31, 2012, the Foundation received over $12 million from interest on lawyers’ pooled trust accounts, over $2 million from investments, and $80,000 in unclaimed trust balances from the Law Society of Alberta. In the same period the Foundation’s new commitments to grantees and Legal Aid Alberta totaled over $24 million. The allocation to Legal Aid was $9 million, reflecting the first two years of a three-year commitment to increase ALF contributions to Legal Aid beyond the statutory requirement.
Grant recipients undertake a variety of activities including operating pro bono legal clinics or law libraries, conducting legal research, providing public legal education, and providing legal information and support to Albertans.
For further details about Alberta Law Foundation activity over the last year, and for a complete list of grants, see the 2012 Annual Report at www.albertalawfoundation.org.
Feedback Sought on Draft Report by National Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters
The National Action Committee is a collaboration which brings together representatives of the public and all of the sectors in the justice community, to identify priorities, work together on joint initiatives and provide leadership at a national level to improve access to justice in civil and family matters. Feedback is sought on a draft report and the recommendations. This report will be submitted to the National Action Committee and become part of an amalgamated report of the four working groups that will chart new approaches to Access to justice in the coming decade.
The report can be viewed at www.JusticeEducation.ca/Research/Preliminary_PTR_Report.
Your feedback is critically important in helping us to develop an effective plan for promoting access to justice. To meet our deadline, we would ask that you respond to this survey at http://fluidsurveys.com/s/prevention-triage-referral-consultation.
Notice to the Profession about Detention Review and Bail Review Hearings
A pilot project by the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta will introduce changes to Detention Review and Bail Review hearings in Edmonton, effective on October 1, 2012.
For more information, visit