Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Summary of Decision of the Review Board

William Terrence Faminoff

Vancouver, BC

Called to the Bar: August 1, 1985

Review: March 8 and 9 and May 31, 2016

Review board: Thomas Fellhauer, Chair, Jeff Campbell, QC, J.S. (Woody) Hayes, Sharon Matthews, QC, Steven McKoen, Mark Rushton and Sarah Westwood

Decision issued: January 26, 2017 (2017 LSBC 04)

Counsel: Susan M. Coristine for the Law Society; Michael D. Shirreff and Emilie E.A. LeDuc for William Terrence Faminoff.

BACKGROUND

A hearing panel concluded that William Terrence Faminoff had committed professional misconduct for improper handling of clients’ trust funds, failure to maintain proper accounting records, intentional misrepresentation to the Law Society by backdating statements of account, and breaches of undertakings. The panel suspended Faminoff for two months and ordered that he pay $8,430 in costs (facts and determination: 2014 LSBC 22; disciplinary action: 2015 LSBC 20; discipline digest: Summer 2015).

Both the Law Society and Faminoff sought a review of the panel’s decision on disciplinary action.

DECISION OF THE REVIEW BOARD

The Law Society argued that the panel erred with regard to the panel’s finding a number of mitigating factors and placing insufficient weight on misleading the Law Society and the need to protect the public interest. The Law Society sought an order that the discipline decision be set aside and an order be substituted suspending Faminoff for six months.

Faminoff submitted that the hearing panel should not have considered a previous discipline matter when deciding disciplinary action. He further argued that fresh evidence should be admitted regarding the Law Society’s public communications about this disciplinary matter and the effects of those communications on his reputation. He asked that the two-month suspension be set aside and replaced with an order for a one-month suspension.

The review board considered all the circumstances of the case and disciplinary action taken in other similar cases and concluded that a suspension of two months fell within the appropriate range. It confirmed the penalty decision of a two-month suspension.

2014 LSBC 22 Decision on Facts and Determination

2015 LSBC 20 Decision on Disciplinary Action

2017 LSBC 04 Decision of a Review Board