In the next six months, it's likely that brokers can expect a sharp rise in investor lawsuits, says David Di Paolo, a partner in Borden Ladner Gervais LLP's Toronto office and the regional chair of the Firm's Securities Litigation Group.

'When people realize [stocks] are not going to bounce back, they start pointing fingers…. Brokers are the easiest target,' says Di Paolo.

A broker, explains Di Paolo, has legal exposure when he has advised on 'a portfolio that's a lot more aggressive than that [person's investing] profile.'

And the claims from potential clients that lawyers are hearing are vastly different from the litigation that occurred following the 1987 stock market crash and the more recent dot-com bust. For example, when technology stocks fell sharply seven years ago, affected investors were, for the most part, invested in equities of companies that 'did nothing, had no revenues,' says Di Paolo. This time around, a large number of investors are in blue-chip stocks, 'but nonetheless they're getting hammered. It's really more broad-based.'