Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Summary of decision on application for enrolment

Applicant 13

Panel: Gavin Hume, QC, chair; Roland Krueger, CD; Christopher McPherson, QC

Decision issued: May 1, 2019 (2019 LSBC 13)

Counsel: Gerald Cutler, QC for the Law Society; David Taylor for Applicant 13

BACKGROUND

Applicant 13 and his wife were both enrolled in the Law Society Admission Program and were articling at different law firms. The applicant aspired to practise in the area of business, corporate, commercial and securities law. His wife was articling at a firm practising criminal law.

As a result of the difficulties that his wife was having with her articles, the applicant started a blog to “ test the waters” in what he and his wife saw as a lucrative practice in the area of “ driving law.” He described this as “ Plan B,” since at the time of his conduct he hoped to get an offer from his articling firm at the end of his articles.

The applicant copied a client file containing information from his wife’ s firm.  He also copied a binder of materials relating to speeding offences, which also originated at his wife’ s firm. He believed that this material could be potential precedents if he and his wife later entered into practice together after their articles. He also made Freedom of Information requests for copies of correspondence between his wife’ s firm and various departments within the government of BC.

In response to a comment on his blog, the applicant impersonated his wife and referred the commenter to his wife’ s firm, in the belief that her firm would see her in a better light if she was seen as generating business for the firm.

His wife’ s firm was alerted to this blog post and filed a notice of civil claim alleging a number of wrongdoings on the part of the applicant and his wife. The claim against the applicant was dismissed. The applicant was placed on paid leave and subsequently agreed with the firm to terminate his articles.

DECISION

The panel found that the Applicant’ s behaviour was out of character for him, that his conduct was an isolated series of events, and that he has since taken the appropriate steps to address his misconduct. The panel concluded that the applicant is of sufficiently good character and repute and fit to become a barrister and a solicitor of the Supreme Court, and that he may be enrolled in the Law Society Admission Program once he has secured articles and completed the application requirements specified in the Law Society Rules.

2019 LSBC 13 Decision on Application for Enrolment