why lawyers suck

the phone call — puppet lawyer edition

LAWYER and PROGOAT are on one side of the stage. OTHER PUPPET LAWYER is on the other. PROGOAT and OPL are sitting. LAWYER is sitting on PROGOAT’s desk.

OPL: Hey, I have a complaint about you guys. These students, man. When are they going to realize that the entire appeals process is meant to make sure that there is absolutely no validity to their complaint?

LAWYER gets a worried look across their face. PROGOAT doesn’t notice.

PROGOAT: Totally. Everyone agreed with my assessment of the situation. The student has absolutely no case.

LAWYER: (rushed) They had interpersonal conflict with every single one of their instructors!

OPL: Of course they did. And now they’re accusing a lawyer of a respected institution of failing to fulfill their duties in the Investigations Policy appeals process that Scsfkhfksdjhfeskf obviously didn’t attempt to hinder or influence in any way. The absolute gall.

CREW dangles a THOUGHT FLY puppet over the PROGOAT’s face. The PROGOAT bats it away.

LAWYER: (thinking hard) …if you put it that way…

OPL: (continuing) …if students understood the severe consequences of ignoring institutional policies, they’d know that no institutional officer would ever think about just caring about the improper conduct definitions that also break the law.

The crew’s thought fly prop is swapped out for a nerf-like clue bat. They smack it against the PROGOAT’s skull.

LAWYER and PROGOAT: (exchanging worried glance…) Yeah…

OPL: And this student is stating that UBC as a whole doesn’t understand that institutional policies aren’t optional. Imagine!

LAWYER and PROGOAT: (weakly) Imagine.

OPL: Anyway, glad we could touch base. I’ll tell them to fuck off as politely as I have to. Keep up the good work!

NARRATOR: Spoiler alert, it was hardly polite at all.

Puppet Lawyer: the Puppet Lawyer edition

Puppet Lawyer looks like they’ve had a long night. Other Puppet Lawyer is sitting on the stand, holding their puppet law degree on their lap. It obviously needs to urinate. They’ve been at this quite a while and Puppet Lawyer still doesn’t know how to phrase the question.

Puppet Judge: Puppet Lawyer, you must ask your first question.

Puppet Lawyer: (Makes the clear decision to just go for it.) Did you…put your name on a letter stating that it is your professional opinion that the respondent is telling the truth because he said he was?

Puppet Law Degree finally gets free and makes a break for it, over the stage and through the audience.

Other Puppet Lawyer: Well, he also said there was interpersonal conflicts between the student and all of their instructors!

Puppet Lawyer: And you believed it — because, again — the lawyer told you there was?

Other Puppet Lawyer: Exactly!

law society of bc complaint intake process

Review by Intake

When the Law Society receives a complaint, intake staff determine if there is a basis for investigation. The complainant may be asked to provide additional information to support the complaint. A complaint will be closed at this stage if:

  • it is unsubstantiated (insufficient information is provided to warrant further consideration);
  • it falls outside the jurisdiction of the Law Society;
  • it is frivolous, vexatious or an abuse of process; or
  • the allegations, if proven, would not constitute a discipline violation.

Huh, interesting. So unsubstantiated. The Law Society was sent an email by Mark Crosbie, esq stating that the provost had already made his decision and he wasn’t going to get involved. I know the law society saw he said this, because the Law Society outlined what he said, just in case I didn’t recognize the Professional Code of Conduct violation when I saw it the first time.

I wasn’t knocking on Mr. “yeah, policies are totally optional, it’s the law we gotta worry about, man!”‘ Crosbie, esq’s door asking for a favour or a pittance. I was asking him to do his goddamn job as outlined in the goddamn Investigations Policy because he was one of the multiple (and completely useless) steps that were supposed to act as a check and balance to one officer’s abuse of authority.

He didn’t have the option of peacing out on the deal. It was his duty to the institution to make sure its policies were being followed. He chose instead to give an officer of the institution the authority to overturn the institution’s policies so the officer could hide his “Nu-uh! Our pedagogy is TOTAL ACADEMIC FREEDOM VIOLATION!” email.

Chapter Three Section Two says Mr. “I mean, ‘interpersonal conflict‘” Crosbie, esq could only report that request to Mr. “Sure, I can downgrade academic freedom to freedom of expression. I’ve already proven I’m never going to investigate myself” Scefewihfewiufher’s boss with a “hey, this fool would not take the hint that he couldn’t ask us how to violate policy, so the fact he asked us to violate policy violates policy. It’s your issue now” note.

Instead, his governing body has his own words saying, “No way. I’m not helping the institution follow its own rules, man. I only dig the law. Policies are just, like “suggestions”.

So it definitely has jurisdiction.

But luckily for Mr. “INTERPERSONAL CONFLICT!” Crosbie, esq the person making the ethics violation against him presents somewhat as a woman. And people are predisposed to believe that yeah, it’s probably just vindictiveness if a woman’s making a complaint. At every point, across three institutions, the real investigations policies were “check with complainant’s respondent. Whatever they say happened must have happened.”

No fucking shit my complaints were found “frivolous.”

And yeah, violating Chapter Three, Section Two of the Professional Code of Conduct would definitely be a discipline violation. I don’t see a “unless the complainant believes craft is important enough to discuss in a writing program” exception in this policy, either.

So why, exactly, was my complaint dismissed?

five things the lawyer could have said that would have been actually truthful

Mark Crosbie, qc decided the university didn’t need to follow their policies. Which, ultimately proved too bad for him, because as the Respectful Environment Statement states:

A determination that disrespectful behaviour, including bullying or harassment, has occurred is based not only on what the alleged perpetrator and target of the disrespectful behaviour actually experienced,
knew, or understood about each other and the situation, but on what a reasonable person in each of their circumstances would have experienced, known or understood, taking into account the full context of the situation.

Had Mark Crosbie, qc taken into account the full context, he would have given far more accurate excuses in explaining away his abandonment of his professional conduct.

  1. The UBC legal counsel could tell the ex-provost how to get away with violating the policies because this student assumed that policies actually provide protection for students at the UBC, and the UBC doesn’t follow the policies that aren’t also illegal.
  2. The student assumed they had academic freedom when they tried to freely comment in class, question their instructors and criticize the program. I had to put a stop to that, somehow.
  3. The student believed us when we called commenting, questioning and criticizing “protected activities” in the UBC discrimination policy.* The criminal code doesn’t say we can’t remove the protection from the word “protected”, so we did.
  4. Even though the student treated the UBC instructors who took away more of their academic freedom with every passing class with respect, the fact I said they had interpersonal conflict was ample enough evidence for the Law Society of BC. Why is this being brought up now?
  5. I mean, the student has a tabby named “Buddy”. Queer, unoriginally-naming pet owners don’t get protections promised to all students.

* I just read this warning from the page: If you wish to link to the current version of the Discrimination Policy or any associated Procedures, Rules, or Guidelines, please link to this page (i.e., these Explanatory Notes). This will always provide access to the most current version of those documents. Please do not make a copy of the documents themselves or their direct links, since they may change from time to time. They really want to make sure UBC officers are ignoring the latest version of the policy.