Employment lawyer set to be reprimanded for ‘abusive, offensive’ behaviour

Canadian lawyer Lior Samfiru allegedly wanted to sue client for $1.25 million after bad review

Employment lawyer set to be reprimanded for ‘abusive, offensive’ behaviour

A high-profile Canadian employment lawyer is likely to face disciplinary action for his actions against dissatisfied clients of his law firm.

Lior Samfiru, national co-managing partner of Samfiru Tumarkin, was said to be "abusive, offensive or otherwise inconsistent" with professional standards when he threatened to sue, or did sue, three former clients of his firm, according to the Law Society of Ontario.

He's expected to be formally reprimanded and ordered to pay $5,000 in costs, according to a CBC report.

Recently, a King’s counsel lawyer resigned from his job post after he sent out an email that his own law firm described as “disrespectful and misogynistic”.

Employment lawyer threatened to sue ex-client for $1.25 million

In one case filed with the law society, Samfiru allegedly instructed a colleague to sue a former client for $1.25 million after the ex-client posted a negative review about the law firm on Google.

The client, identified as BE, tapped the services of a Samfiru Tumarkin lawyer after he was forced to leave his previous job. However, the lawyer was not able to get a settlement for BE, and was unwilling to sue the ex-employer on a contingency-fee basis, according to the CBC report which cites nearly 200 pages of documents filed as part of a disciplinary hearing.

BE left a negative Google review under a pseudonym, then took it down when Samfiru apparently offered free legal advice.

Months later, however, BE, posted a critical comment on the law firm. Samfiru allegedly threatened to sue BE if he did not take down the comment, said CBC.

"You will have to hire a lawyer and go through thousands of dollars in fees," he wrote, instructing a CC'ed colleague to sue for " $250K in damages plus $100K in punitives, if his review is still online at noon today."

‘You don't pay until we win’

In another case, an ex-client identified as IK – in a comment posted on Google – called the Samfiru Tumarkin lawyer “very rude”. She said the lawyer "insisted on an hourly rate despite the website clearly advertising 'You don't pay until we win.'"

The lawyer then offered to refund her the $339 she was billed if she would take down her negative comment. She refused and Samfiru allegedly replied: "I will make it very simple for you. Unless this review is deleted by 5pm today, we will be suing you for defamation,” according to the CBC report.

But at 12:24 p.m., Samfiru apparently sent another email to IK, cc-ing a lawyer at his own firm: "Please sue this lady for defamation for $500,000 and arrange service ASAP."

Samfiru later told a Law Society investigator that Google is one of the firm's "biggest sources of referrals" and he felt IK's review was defamatory in part because it suggested his firm was falsely advertising about clients not having to pay until the firm won their case.

CBC noted that it “found some variation of the slogan ‘You don't pay unless we win’ in about two dozen spots on the firm's website, with the proviso that this arrangement is offered ‘where appropriate’.”

Samfiru Tumarkin has also filed three other lawsuits against former clients, according to CBC.

Many bank employees are breaking the law, and it’s their job that’s forcing them to do so, according to a previous report. This is apparently a common occurrence at TD, RBC, BMO, Scotiabank and CIBC, noted CBC.

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