On the issue of irreparable harm, Judge Dow ruled there is “merit” in the submission that Jin had access “not only to the files opened for clients he recruited [to Chagpar]but all files of the plaintiff, given the evidence about the team approach taken at Chagpar & Associates, meaning all staff and lawyers work on all files.”
While the loss of potential fees from files transferred from one firm to another can be calculated, Dow wrote, the loss of potential files through referrals from Chagpar & Associates existing clientele, satisfied with the work performed and the result achieved, is “much more difficult ” to ascertain.
“The referral of a new client by a satisfied existing or former client remains a time-tested method of attracting clients and cannot be easily traced or quantified,” he wrote. “In light of the nature of the injunctive relief sought, I am satisfied the plaintiff has met this part of the test.”
Pending the determination of this litigation and subject to further orders of the court, the Dow ruled that Jin shall:
- Not directly or indirectly soliciting or contacting the plaintiff’s clients;
- Not disclose any confidential information of the plaintiff to any person, firm, corporation, partnership or other entity; and
- Direct any existing clients of the plaintiff that contact her of her inability to speak to them about their case given this order, direct them to contact the plaintiff’s firm and immediately forward the details of the contact made to the plaintiff’s firm.
Laurie Tucker, a personal injury lawyer for Burn Tucker Lachaîne in Ottawa and President of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association, says the issue dealt with in the decision is a “complicated” one that many law firms face, along with other professionals, such as accountants.