Warning Signs of a Difficult Client continued

Don't underestimate the ingenuity of fraud artists. You may be targeted simply because you operate outside the safety net of a large firm environment. Note particularly the requirement of the BC Code, Chapter 3, rule 3.2-7:

5. A lawyer must not engage in any activity that the lawyer knows or ought to know assists in or encourages any dishonesty, crime or fraud, including a fraudulent conveyance, preference or settlement.

And:

3. A lawyer has a duty to be on guard against becoming the tool or dupe of an unscrupulous client or of persons associated with such a client and, in some circumstances, may have a duty to make inquiries. For example, a lawyer should make inquiries of a client who:

  1. seeks the use of the lawyer's trust account without requiring any substantial legal services from the lawyer in connection with the trust matters, or
  2. promises unrealistic returns on their investment to third parties who have placed money in trust with the lawyer or have been invited to do so.

You must be vigilant to avoid being the vehicle for fraud. Before you open your doors to clients, you are encouraged to review the materials in the Additional Resources section of this module that relate to fraud as well as the Avoiding Fraud module. You should strive to stay current with the types of frauds that are being perpetrated on the legal community and public at large.