Law Society Rule 2-69.1 provides for the publication of summaries of credentials hearing panel decisions on applications for enrolment in articles, call and admission and reinstatement. For the full text of hearing panel decisions, visit the Regulation & Insurance / Regulatory Hearings section of the Law Society website.
Robert John Douglas McRoberts
Hearing (application for call and admission): May 20, 2010
Panel: Gavin Hume, QC, Chair, Stacy Kuiack and David Mossop, QC
Report issued: August 3, 2010 (2010 LSBC 19)
Counsel: Jason Twa for the Law Society and Robert John Douglas McRoberts on his own behalf
Robert John Douglas McRoberts was called to the Bar in Manitoba in 1978. In 1982, he was admitted as a lawyer in Saskatchewan; however, he is currently a disqualified member due to non-payment of his inactive member fee.
McRoberts’ law practice began in Manitoba with a small firm that quickly grew to a 35-40 person firm with offices located in a number of shopping malls. His firm later expanded to 12 locations in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Toronto.
McRoberts has been the subject of 10 claims under the Law Society of Manitoba’s Professional Liability Insurance Program. He has been the subject of three discipline hearings with the Law Society of Manitoba and has been given one caution. He was also involved in 21 civil actions between 1989 and 1995.
In March 2008, McRoberts submitted an application for Call and Admission on Transfer to the Law Society of BC. The Law Society conducted an investigation concerning his application.
In six of the 10 professional liability insurance claims, no damages were paid by the insurance program. While three claims were still outstanding, the panel determined there was no suggestion of any dishonesty with respect to those claims. Only one of the three outstanding claims has a reserve. The panel noted that this was of some significance.
The panel reviewed the Law Society of Manitoba’s decision regarding the three charges of professional misconduct and found that no dishonesty was involved.
After a detailed review of the civil actions, the panel determined that McRoberts was not personally involved in a number of the civil litigation matters, but instead was named as a result of the role that he played in the firm. The evidence showed that the administrative and system problems were directly associated with the rapid growth of his firm. The panel noted that McRoberts’ firm had significantly improved its administrative practices and that his discipline record and civil action ceased after 1995.
The panel concluded that McRoberts met the test of “good character” and found no suggestion of any dishonesty or other inappropriate motive or activities on his part in the discipline matters and civil actions. That conclusion was reinforced by three letters of commendation as well as evidence given by a BC lawyer who had been associated with McRoberts and attested to his honesty and skill.
The panel ordered that McRoberts be called and admitted, on the condition that he:
1. take the Small Firm Practice Course;
2. take a minimum of two hours of continuing legal education on practice management for each of the next two calendar years; and
3. practise only in the following arrangements for a minimum of two years:
(a) as an employee or as a member of an existing firm approved by the Practice Standards Committee, if at all possible;
(b) failing that, under supervision on terms and conditions agreeable to the Practice Standards Committee.