Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

 

Citation issued: December 18, 2019

Amanda Jane Rose

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:

Misappropriation

1.  Between approximately November 2017 and January 2019, you misappropriated, improperly withdrew or authorized the improper withdrawal of some or all of $70,718.13 held in trust on behalf of your client NK in [financial institution 1] Account [number], when you knew or ought to have known that you were not entitled to some or all of the funds, contrary to one or both of Rule 3-64 of the Law Society Rules and your fiduciary duties.

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

2.  Between approximately December 23, 2014 and November 29, 2016, you misappropriated or improperly withdrew or authorized the improper withdrawal of some or all of $48,696.87 in pooled client trust funds in one or more of the seventeen (17) instances particularized in Schedule “A” to this citation, when you knew or ought to have known that you were not entitled to some or all of the funds, contrary to one or both of Rule 3-64 [formerly Rule 3-56] of the Law Society Rules and your fiduciary duties.

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

3.  Between approximately April 2014 and January 2017, you misappropriated or improperly withdrew or authorized the improper withdrawal of some or all of $30,073.86 in pooled client trust funds in connection with one or more of the three (3) client matters particularized below, contrary to one or both of Rule 3-64 [formerly Rule 3-56] of the Law Society Rules and your fiduciary duties:

(a)  on July 12, 2016, you withdrew $11,157.34 from your pooled trust account on behalf of client SD, when you knew or ought to have known that you held insufficient funds on behalf of your client to make the withdrawal;

(b)  between December 30, 2015 and January 31, 2017, you made twelve (12) withdrawals on behalf of client JH, when you knew or ought to have known that you held insufficient funds on behalf of your client to make the withdrawals, resulting in trust shortages in your pooled trust account totaling $8,470.45; and

(c)  between April 28, 2014 and January 31, 2017, you made ten (10) withdrawals on behalf of client TH, when you knew or ought to have known that you held insufficient funds on behalf of your client to make the withdrawals, resulting in trust shortages in your pooled trust account totaling $10,446.07.

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

4.  You failed to immediately eliminate some or all of the trust shortages referred to in allegations 1 through 3 of this citation or you failed to make written reports to the Executive Director of the Law Society of the relevant facts and circumstances surrounding one or more of the trust shortages, or both, contrary to Rule 3-75 [formerly Rule 3-66] of the Law Society Rules.

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

Breach of Undertakings

5.  Between approximately October 2017 and May 2019, you breached one or both of your undertakings to the Executive Director of the Law Society of British Columbia dated March 2, 2017 and February 7, 2018, contrary to rules 7.1-1(f) and 7.2-11 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia, by doing one or more of the following:

(a)  opening a separate interest bearing account at [financial institution 1], Account [number] to hold trust funds belonging to your client NK (the “NK Trust Account”);

(b)  depositing a total of $816,908.94 of client trust funds into the NK Trust Account;

(c)  making or authorizing some or all of the deposits or withdrawals or transfers totaling $816,908.94 plus interest to or from the NK Trust Account without a trust supervisor being added as a mandatory second signature on the NK Trust Account or without the approval of the trust supervisor(s), or both; and

(d)  failing to provide your trust supervisor(s) with information and documentation related to the deposit and withdrawal of funds from the NK Trust Account.

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

Breach of Undertaking and Practising While Suspended

6.  You engaged in the practice of law by holding yourself out as a practicing lawyer on one or more of three online profile pages and, by doing so, you did one or both of the following:

(a)  breached your undertaking to the Law Society dated May 23, 2019 to cease practice as of May 26, 2019, contrary to rules 7.1-1(f) and 7.2-11 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia;

(b)  practised law while suspended as of June 17, 2019 under Rule 3-81, contrary to section 15 of the Legal Profession Act and rule 7.1-1(f) of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia.

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

Misrepresentation/Misleading the Law Society

7.  In the course of a Law Society compliance audit and subsequent investigation, you made representations to the Law Society that you knew or ought to have known were false or misleading, contrary to one or more of Rule 3-5(7) of the Law Society Rules and rules 2.2-1 and 7.1-1 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia, by doing one or more of the following:

(a)  on or about August 8, 2016, you represented in a letter to the Law Society’s Trust Assurance Department that you had corrected the trust shortages from 2014 and 2015, as reflected on your March 2016 trust reconciliation, when you knew or ought to have known that you had not done so;

(b)  on or about November 14, 2016, you provided the Law Society’s Trust Assurance Department with a September 2016 trust reconciliation in which you:

 (i)  represented that you had corrected various trust shortages, when you knew or ought to have known that you had not done so;

(ii)  omitted or failed to disclose trust transactions totaling $24,598.50, which you knew or ought to have known would increase your trust liability;

(iii)  represented that the trust reconciliation had been reviewed and signed by LH, when you knew or ought to have known that she had not done so;

(iv)  represented that the trust reconciliation had been completed and signed by KB, when you knew or ought to have known that she had not done so.

(c)  on or about November 14, 2016, in a covering email attaching your September 2016 trust reconciliation, you represented that you had corrected the errors from 2015 and 2016 when you knew or ought to have known that you had not done so;

(d)  on or about July 3, 2018, in your 2017 Trust Report filed with the Law Society, you:

(i)  represented that your bank accounts for your practice were [financial institution 1] [number] (trust) and [financial institution 1] [number] (general) when you knew or ought to have known that you also maintained [financial institution 1], Account [number] (the “NK Trust Account”);

(ii)  answered “No” to the question of whether you had any separate trust accounts when you knew or ought to have known that you maintained the NK Trust Account; and

(e)  in an email dated April 25, 2019 to the Law Society’s Professional Regulation Department to which was attached a draft letter dated April 1, 2019 to the Executive Director of the Law Society, you represented that:

(i)  you had “no other funds in trust” except those in a [financial institution 2] account, when you knew or ought to have known that the NK Trust Account remained open;

(ii)  you had “no other trust accounts” except the one at [financial institution  2], when you knew or ought to have known that the NK Trust Account remained open.

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