Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

 

Citation issued: November 4, 2020

Neal Burton Wang

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 June 2016 and November 2016, on behalf of your client AK, you used your trust account to receive and disburse a total of approximately $163,705.94 (the “AK Trust Matter”), and you failed to do one or more of the following:

(a)  provide substantial or any legal services in connection with the AK Trust Matter;

(b)  make reasonable inquiries about the circumstances of the AK Trust Matter; and

(c)  make a record of the results of any inquiries made about the circumstances of the AK Trust Matter.

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

2.  Between approximately June 2016 and November 2016, in relation to your client AK, you failed to obtain, record, and verify client identification information, contrary to one or more of Rules 3-100, 3-102, and 3-105 of the Law Society Rules, then in force.

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

3.  Between approximately August 2017 and August 2018, on behalf of your client R Inc., you used your trust account to receive and disburse a total of approximately $43,265.26 (the “R Inc. Trust Matter”), and you failed to do one or more of the following:

(a)  provide substantial or any legal services in connection with the R Inc. Trust Matter;

(b)  make reasonable inquiries about the circumstances of the R Inc. Trust Matter; and

(c)  make a record of the results of any inquiries made about the circumstances of the R Inc. Trust Matter.

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

4.  Between approximately August 2017 and August 2018, in relation to your client R Inc., you failed to obtain, record, and verify client identification information, contrary to one or more of Rules 3-100, 3-102, 3-103, 3-104, 3-105, and 3-106 of the Law Society Rules, then in force.

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

5.  Between approximately August 2017 and June 2018, in relation to one or both of your clients L Investments and A Corp., you used your trust account to receive and disburse a total of approximately $3,193,792.37 (the “L Investments Trust Matter”), and you failed to do one or more of the following:

(a)  provide substantial or any legal services in connection with the L Investments Trust Matter;

(b)  make reasonable inquiries about the circumstances of the L InvestmentsTrust Matter; and

(c)  make a record of the results of any inquiries made about the circumstances of the L Investments Trust Matter.

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

6.  Between approximately August 2017 and June 2018, in relation to one or both of your clients L Investments and A Corp., you failed to obtain, record, and verify client identification information, contrary to one or more of Rules 3-100, 3-102, 3-103, 3-104, 3-105, and 3-106 of the Law Society Rules, then in force.

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

7.  Between approximately August 1, 2016 and June 12, 2018, 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 one or more of the following:

(a)  withdrew or authorized the withdrawal of trust funds when the funds were not properly required for payment to or on behalf of a client, by withdrawing bank fees directly from your trust account, contrary to Rule 3-64(1) of the Law Society Rules;

(b)  made payments from trust funds when your trust accounting records were not current, contrary to Rule 3-64(3) of the Law Society Rules;

(c)  made or authorized the withdrawal of funds from your trust account by way of online transfers, email transfers, ATM withdrawals, and/or bank drafts, contrary to Rule 3-64(4) of the Law Society Rules;

(d)  withdrew or authorized the withdrawal of trust funds for the payment of your fees, without first preparing and immediately delivering a bill for those fees to your clients, contrary to Rule 3-65 of the Law Society Rules;

(e)  failed to maintain a book of entry or data source showing all trust transactions, and in particular the source and form of the funds received and the name of each recipient of money out of trust, contrary to Rules 3-68(a)(ii) and (v) of the Law Society Rules;

(f)  failed to maintain minimum general account records, and in particular a book of original entry (general ledger), contrary to Rule 3-69(1)(a) of the Law Society Rules;

(g)  failed to record each trust or general transaction promptly, and in any event not more than 7 days after a trust transaction, contrary to Rule 3-72(1) of the Law Society Rules;

(h)  failed to prepare monthly trust reconciliations for your pooled trust account within 30 days of the effective date of the reconciliation or at all, contrary to Rule 3-73 of the Law Society Rules; and

(i)  delivered one or more bills to your client(s) that were not signed, or accompanied by a letter signed, by or on your behalf, contrary to section 69(3) of the Legal Profession Act; and

(j)  delivered one or more bills to your client(s) that did not contain a reasonably descriptive statement of the services with a lump sum charge and a detailed statement of disbursements, contrary to section 69(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct or a breach of the Act or Rules, pursuant to section 38 of the Legal Profession Act.