Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Summary of decision of the hearing panel


Tova Grace Kornfeld

Vancouver, BC

Called to the bar: September 13, 1983

Written materials: October 17, 2019

Panel: Pinder K. Cheema, QC, chair, John Lane and Shona A. Moore, QC

Decision issued: February 10, 2020 (2020 LSBC 05)

Counsel: Angela R. Westmacott, QC for the Law Society; Howard A. Mickelson, QC for Tova Grace Kornfeld

Agreed facts

Between 2013 and 2014, Tova Grace Kornfeld arranged loans for three long-standing clients in respect of three separate transactions. Each of the clients was in need of immediate financial assistance, which Kornfeld directly, or through her family, provided on a short-term basis. In each case, Kornfeld was attempting to assist the client with bridge financing. Each of the three clients repaid the funds with interest, as planned.

The transactions were identified in the course of a routine compliance audit. At no time did Kornfeld seek to extract or obtain any undue advantage from these long-standing clients. However, she failed to disclose her conflict of interest to the clients, recommend and require that they receive independent legal advice and obtain their informed consent.

Admission and determination

Kornfeld admitted, and the hearing panel agreed, that her conduct constituted professional misconduct.

The panel determined that Kornfeld ought to have recognized that she was in a conflict of interest with her clients and should have taken the steps set out in the BC Code to address that conflict. She failed to do so, which was a marked departure from the conduct the Law Society expects from a lawyer.

The panel accepted Kornfeld’s statement that she was motivated by a desire to assist her clients; however, she and her family did obtain a financial benefit from arranging the loans.

Disciplinary action

The panel accepted Kornfeld’s proposed disciplinary action and ordered that she:

  1. pay a fine of $7,500; and
  2. take the Law Society trust accounting course.

 

2020 LSBC 05 Decision of the Hearing Panel