Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

 

Citation issued: May 15, 2018

Valorie Frances Hemminger

Citations are authorized by the Law Society of BC's Discipline Committee and list allegations against a lawyer that will be considered at a discipline hearing. Please note that allegations in a citation are unproven until a discipline hearing panel has determined their validity.

Nature of conduct to be inquired into:

1.  Between approximately August 2011 and April 2014, you received trust funds from your clients and failed to deposit the funds in your pooled trust account as soon as practicable in some or all of the sixty-one (61) instances set out in Schedule “A” to this citation, contrary to Rule 3-51 [now Rule 3-58] of the Law Society Rules.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct or breach of the Act or rules, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

2.  Between October 2011 and April 2015, you failed either to immediately make a written report to the Executive Director of trust shortages greater than $2,500.00, or immediately report your inability to deliver up, when due, any trust funds held by you, or both, in relation to some or all of your clients WG [number];  FA [number]; TR [number]; SR [number]; SR [number];  TB [number]; AQ [number]; WC [number]; and SW [number], contrary to Rule 3-66 [now Rule 3-74] of the Law Society Rules.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct or breach of the Act or rules, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

3.  Between approximately May 4, 2015 and May 6, 2015, you misappropriated or improperly withdrew client trust funds by depositing them into your general account, purportedly in payment of fees for services rendered to your clients, when you had not completed all of the services as described and had not delivered a bill, contrary to Rules 3-56(1) and 3-57(2) [now Rules 3-64(1) and 3-65(2)] of the Law Society Rules, in one or more of the following instances:

(a)  on or about May 4, 2015, you withdrew $5,387.20 with respect to client LD [number];

(b)  on or about May 5, 2015, you withdrew $1,693.98 with respect to client BE [number];

(c)  on or about May 6, 2015, you withdrew $147.79 with respect to client BF [number];

(d)  on or about May 6, 2015, you withdrew $111.74 with respect to client RG [number]; and

(e)  on or about May 6, 2015, you withdrew $574.71 with respect to client JH [number].

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct or breach of the Act or rules, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

4.  Between approximately November 2011 and June 2015, you improperly withdrew trust funds in payment of your fees from your pooled trust account without first preparing and immediately delivering a bill to your client in some or all of the twelve instances set out in Schedule “B” to this citation, contrary to Rules 3-56 and 3-57(2) [now Rules 3-64 and 3-65(2)] of the Law Society Rules and section 69 of the Legal Profession Act.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct or breach of the Act or rules, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

5.  You failed to maintain accounting records in compliance with the provisions of Part 3 Division 7 of the Law Society Rules and in particular you did not prepare monthly trust reconciliations for your pooled trust accounts within 30 days of the effective date of the reconciliation, contrary to Rule 3-65 [now Rule 3-73] of the Law Society Rules in respect of some or all of the following months:

(a)  [Bank] Account [number]: August 2014, September 2014, February 2015 and April 2015;

(b)  [Bank] Account [number]: July 2014, August 2014, September 2014, November 2014 and February 2015; and

(c)  [Bank] Account [number]: June 2011 and July 2011.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct or breach of the Act or rules, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.