Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

 

Citation issued: April 17, 2019

Respondent 1

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 November 2011 and March 2019, in the course of acting as lawyer, attorney or trustee for one or both of your clients AB and the Z Co., you improperly withdrew some or all of $509,852.10 held in trust on behalf of your client(s) in payment of your fees when you were either not yet entitled to the fees, or the fees were unreasonably high or excessive or not properly charged to your client(s), contrary to one or more of your fiduciary duties, Chapter 9, Rules 1, 7 and 8 of the Professional Conduct Handbook, and rule 2.1-3(i) or rule 3.6-1 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia, in one or more of the following instances:

(a)  between November 2011 and November 2016, you withdrew or authorized the withdrawal of fees totaling $34,889.85 in payment of one or more of your accounts rendered for managing and administering the affairs of your client(s) pursuant to a Power of Attorney, without your client’s express authorization or a court order;

(b)  between October 2015 and February 2017, you withdrew or authorized the withdrawal of fees totaling $193,167.90 in payment of one or more of your accounts rendered in connection with the collapse of the D organization without your client’s express authorization or without first obtaining the consent of the beneficiaries or court order;

(c)  in March 2016, you withdrew a “sales facilitation fee” of $46,950.00 in connection with the sale of your client(s)’ real property located in British Columbia without your client’s express authorization or without first obtaining the consent of the beneficiaries or court order;

(d)  in March 2017, you withdrew fees of $8,100.00 to attend your client’s funeral without first obtaining the consent of the beneficiaries or court order;

(e)  between January 2017 and March 2019, you improperly withdrew or authorized the withdrawal of fees totaling $170,568.35 in payment of one or more of your accounts rendered to the Z Co. as trustee without first obtaining the consent of the beneficiaries or court order;

(f)  between August 2018 and March 2019, you improperly withdrew or authorized the withdrawal of fees totaling $56,176.00 in payment of accounts for services rendered in connection with a Law Society trust audit and investigation, when those amounts were not properly charged to your client(s).

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct, conduct unbecoming the profession, or incompetent performance of duties undertaken in the capacity of a lawyer pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.