Summary of Rule 3-7.1 Consent Agreement

Dolden Wallace Folick, LLP

Vancouver, BC

Consent agreement accepted: September 15, 2021

Facts

The Law Society conducted a compliance audit of Dolden Wallace Folick, LLP and the auditor noted that when clients overpaid their accounts, the additional funds were retained by the firm in its general accounts and not transferred to one of its pooled trust accounts. A forensic auditor determined that over the course of nearly two and a half years, overpayments were held in the firm’s general accounts in 332 instances totalling $103,851.70. The funds were credited to each client that overpaid, and the credits were applied to subsequent client invoices or returned to the client. The payments were typically processed by the firm’s accounting staff, and lawyers responsible for the file were not notified.

No clients of the law firm were missing any funds as a result of the firm’s practices and all client money was accounted for. Following the audit, the firm transferred all remaining funds recorded as “general retainers” into trust. It now recognizes that overpayments on accounts must be treated as trust funds in accordance with the Law Society Rules and deposited into trust to the credit of the appropriate client. The firm has made changes to its internal accounting and administrative procedures to ensure compliance going forward.

Consent agreement

Dolden Wallace Folick, LLP admitted it committed professional misconduct and agreed to pay a fine of $30,000. In accepting the consent agreement, the chair of the Discipline Committee considered the agreed facts and that the law firm does not have a prior professional conduct record.