In addition to being asked whether we are lawyers, we here at Downtown Notary are often asked, what is the difference between a notary public and a lawyer? It's a question that reminds me of grade five math, when I was faced with questions like "If all wobbles are wibbles, and some wibbles are waddles, then some waddles are what?"
Most notaries public in Ontario are lawyers who are members of the Law Society of Upper Canada. But, not all lawyers are notaries. As we discussed in an earlier post, to be a notary public in Ontario, a lawyer has to apply for a notary public appointment.
While notaries and lawyers provide legal services, there's some very important distinctions between what a notary public may do versus what a lawyer may do. Notaries are able to verify that signatures, marks and copies of documents are true or genuine. Notaries who are not also practicing lawyers are limited to non-contentious issues and may not provide any legal advice or representation. In Ontario, lawyers are required to carry professional liability insurance to ensure that their clients are protected in the instance of malpractice. If you are seeking legal advice, it's important that you seek out a lawyer who is licensed to practice in your jurisdiction and has the right kind of insurance. If you are seeking to have a document or signature authenticated, it's important that you seek out a notary public who has been appointed to provide such services.
Downtown Notary Toronto does not provide any legal advice. We do, however, provide a full range of notary public services.
In short: Need someone to witness a signature, certify a document or administer an oath? Find a notary public. Need legal advice or representation? Find a properly licensed lawyer. Need some comic relief? Check out this picture: