Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Summary of Decision on Facts and Determination

Aaron Murray Lessing

Called to the bar: May 17, 1991

Ceased membership for non-payment of fees: January 1, 2021

Hearing date: October 26, 2021

Panel: Michael F. Welsh, QC, Linda Berg and Catherine W. Chow

Decision issued: January 26, 2022 (2022 LSBC 06)

Counsel: Mandana Namazi for the Law Society; no one appearing on behalf of Aaron Murray Lessing

FACTS

Aaron Murray Lessing breached client confidentiality on three separate occasions involving three different clients.

In the first matter, Lessing forwarded an email from a client containing personal and confidential information about the client’s ex-spouse to Lessing’s then spouse without seeking permission or informing his client that the email had been forwarded.

In the second matter, Lessing forwarded to his then spouse an affidavit he had received from the lawyer for his client’s husband, without informing his client, her husband or the husband’s lawyer. The affidavit included financial and personal medical information.

In the third matter, Lessing forwarded an email contained in an affidavit to his then spouse, without permission or informing his client. The email was highly personal and included sensitive allegations, medical information and details of private conversations.

Lessing admitted he sent the emails to his then spouse, stating that the purpose was so she could print the documents for him on their home computer for his review. His former spouse said she had never worked for Lessing as a legal assistant, bookkeeper or in any other capacity, that Lessing had never asked her to print things for him and that they did not have a home office. The former spouse also said that Lessing would bring information home on a memory stick and tell her that she should read it. Lessing and his former spouse later separated. In the course of his family law proceedings against his former spouse, Lessing swore and filed an affidavit containing statements about her lawyer for which he had no factual basis.

DETERMINATION

The hearing panel determined Lessing breached his duties as a lawyer and his actions grossly betrayed the confidence of his clients. The panel also found he impugned the integrity of opposing counsel in his affidavit without any factual basis, and his conduct was abusive of the legal system and his position as a lawyer.

The panel found Lessing’s conduct constituted professional misconduct.

2022 LSBC Decision on Facts and Determination