Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Summary of Decision of the Hearing Panel

Daniel Markovitz

Vancouver, BC

Called to the bar: May 14, 1993

Hearing date: November 3, 2020

Panel: Ralston S. Alexander, QC, chair, David Dewhirst and Thomas L. Spraggs

Decision issued: May 28, 2021 (2021 LSBC 22)

Counsel: Morgan L. Camley for the Law Society; David G. Milburn and Nicholas J. Preovolos for Daniel Markovitz

FACTS

Daniel Markovitz was practising as a sole practitioner in the area of criminal law and was retained in a matter on a pro bono basis pending an application for a court-ordered retainer. He attended the accused’s first court appearance as counsel and was provided with a package of disclosure material by provincial crown counsel. The materials were sensitive and were subject to an implied undertaking to the court that the contents would not be disclosed for any purpose other than defending the accused. His retainer ended one month after it began when the accused retained new counsel.

Markovitz was later vacationing in Hawaii when he was contacted by a newspaper reporter seeking information about the accused. He said he was no longer counsel for the accused. He verified information to the reporter that was part of the information contained within the crown disclosure, in breach of the implied undertaking. The reporter later published a story identifying him as the source for confirming information contained in the crown disclosure.

ADMISSION AND DETERMINATION

Markovitz admitted he committed professional misconduct in disclosing confidential information from the crown disclosure and agreed to the Law Society’s proposed disciplinary action of a $15,000 fine.

The hearing panel agreed that his conduct constituted professional misconduct and considered whether the disciplinary action proposed was appropriate. It considered the serious nature of the misconduct, his significant professional conduct record, including numerous engagements with the Practice Standards Committee, several conduct reviews and a previous citation, the impact on the victim and the need to maintain public confidence in the integrity of the profession, particularly in preserving client confidentiality.

DISCIPLINARY ACTION

The panel accepted the proposal and ordered Markovitz to pay a $15,000 fine.

2021 LSBC 22 Decision of the Hearing Panel