News Releases

For immediate release May 31, 2002

Law Society of B.C. disciplines lawyers

VANCOUVER – Pursuant to its statutory duty to govern B.C.'s legal profession in the public interest, the Law Society of B.C. has disciplined the following lawyers (the lawyer's year of call to the B.C. Bar appears in parentheses):

Lawrence E. Pierce (1984), of Vancouver, will be suspended for three months, effective June 3, 2002. A discipline hearing panel ordered the suspension in January 2000 after finding Mr. Pierce guilty of professional misconduct for threatening to give evidence damaging to another lawyer's client in a personal injury case unless that client reached a settlement with Mr. Pierce in an unrelated case between Mr. Pierce and the other lawyer's client. Mr. Pierce applied to the Supreme Court of B.C. for a judicial review of that decision and the Law Society's Discipline Committee consented to an interim stay of his suspension pending the review. The B.C. Supreme Court set aside the hearing panel's verdict. That decision was subsequently overturned by the B.C. Court of Appeal and the hearing panel's decision restored. The Law Society is appealing the length of the suspension.

James Douglas Hall (1994), of Victoria, admitted that taking remuneration from a company of which he was a director without the required authority constituted conduct unbecoming a lawyer. Mr. Hall also admitted that advising an accountant that he had filed the company's tax return when he had not done so constituted conduct unbecoming a lawyer. A hearing panel ordered that Mr. Hall be reprimanded, pay a fine of $6,500 and costs of $4,471.

Grant Curtis Kruse (1972), of White Rock, a former lawyer who ceased practising in May 2000 and ceased membership in the Law Society in January 2001, was found guilty of professional misconduct for failing to respond to Law Society communications and for breaching an undertaking to pay property taxes for a residential conveyance. A hearing panel ordered Mr. Kruse, who did not appear at the hearing either in person or by counsel or agent, to pay a fine of $12,000 and costs of $6,640.

Interim Suspension

John Wilson Dobbin (1973), of Vancouver, has been suspended by three Benchers of the Law Society pursuant to s. 39 of the Legal Profession Act, pending the conclusion of the hearing of a citation against him for failure to respond to Law Society communications. Mr. Dobbin acknowledged that he had not responded to the Law Society respecting a non-client complaint, despite follow up from the Law Society, and he could not explain why he not been able to respond. The three Benchers noted that, if they did not order an interim suspension, right-thinking members of the public would properly conclude that some lawyers are immune from effective professional discipline. Mr. Dobbin has consented to the appointment of a custodian for his practice.

The Law Society of B.C. was founded in 1869 and is the governing body of the legal profession in B.C. It is an independent organization funded by dues paid by all B.C. lawyers. Under the provisions of the Legal Profession Act, the Law Society is responsible for the licensing, professional conduct and discipline of the more than 10,000 lawyers in B.C.

For more information on the regulation and discipline of lawyers see The Legal Profession Act:

Section 3: Law Society duty to protect the public.
Part 4: Discipline

The Legal Profession Act is available on the Law Society of B.C. website here.

The Law Society of B.C. makes the following documents available to the media in discipline matters:

Citation
Hearing report
Penalty report
Discipline Digest and Discipline Case Digest

Discipline hearings are generally open to the public; please check with the Law Society prior to the hearing if you wish to attend. A list of upcoming hearings is available on the Law Society's website.

Law Society of B.C. media contact:
Brad Daisley, Public Affairs Manager
Office: 604-443-5724 or 1-800-903-5300 toll-free in B.C.
Cellular: 604-836-3257
Email: bdaisley@lsbc.org
www.lawsociety.bc.ca