Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Summary of Rule 3-7.1 Consent Agreement

Larry D. Routtenberg

Penticton, BC

Called to the bar: July 12, 1983

Consent agreement accepted: July 14, 2021

FACTS

Larry D. Routtenberg misappropriated or improperly withdrew client trust funds when he authorized the withdrawal of residual trust balances on 19 instances totalling $1,055.12, to clear out aged trust balances prior to a compliance audit. He did so by billing clients for disbursements he thought had likely been incurred. He did not check the file materials to confirm that the withdrawals from trust were justified, acted in haste and did not have a proper understanding of the trust accounting rules. He failed to ensure bills were first sent to clients before withdrawing the funds from trust.

Routtenberg was alerted to the impropriety of his actions during the compliance audit and immediately returned the funds to trust. He later paid the funds to the clients or applied to remit them to the Law Society. At the time, Routtenberg was suffering from a medical condition.

CONSENT AGREEMENT

Routtenberg admitted he committed professional misconduct by misappropriating or improperly withdrawing client trust funds when he was not entitled to the funds and without first preparing and immediately delivering a bill to the client, and by failing to ensure that bills were sent to clients prior to withdrawing funds from trust.

Routtenberg agreed to be suspended from the practice of law for 10 weeks and provided an undertaking that he will not handle any trust transactions for two years. In accepting the consent agreement, the Chair of the Discipline Committee considered the facts and Routtenberg’s professional conduct record, which consisted of one conduct review for failing to properly dispose of confidential files.

Rule 3-7.1 Consent Agreement