|For immediate release||December 4, 2001|
Law Society disciplines B.C. 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):
Gerald Abraham Goeujon (1961), of Vancouver, admitted that acting for a client in an immigration matter when he had given the Law Society an undertaking to restrict his practice to criminal law matters, constituted professional misconduct. A hearing panel ordered that he be reprimanded.
Lawrence Everett Pierce (1984), of Vancouver, was found to have professionally misconducted himself by charging a fee that was both excessive and unreasonable and by rendering a fee based on a percentage of funds held in trust when his retainer agreement required him to bill on an hourly rate basis. A hearing panel ordered that Mr. Pierce pay a fine of $12,000 and costs of the hearing in the amount of $5069.91.
Gregory John Lanning (1992), of Vancouver, was found to have incompetently performed duties undertaken as a lawyer by failing to review a file with sufficient diligence to note an undertaking restraining him from releasing funds until specific conditions had been met. A hearing panel ordered Mr. Lanning to enter into a practice supervision agreement, to submit to a practice review and to pay costs relating to the investigation and hearing.
Rodney John Strandberg (1992), of Fort St. John, admitted his conduct in misleading his client and the Law Society by telling them he had initiated a court action when in fact he had not and in not serving his client in a diligent manner, constituted professional misconduct. A hearing panel ordered that he be suspended for one month beginning Dec. 11, 2001, pay a fine of $15,000 and costs of $2,000.
Barbara Eleanor Burton (1993), a former lawyer who withdrew from practice in January 1998, was found to have failed to respond to communications from the Law Society. Ms. Burton also admitted that she failed to deposit client funds in trust forthwith and that she withdrew client funds for fees without first preparing a bill contrary to Law Society Rules. A hearing panel ordered that Ms. Burton be reprimanded.
Michael Patrick Barrie Custance (1990), a former lawyer who ceased practising in December 1999, admitted that he professionally misconducted himself when he, on multiple occasions, misappropriated client funds, breached his undertakings and acted contrary to other Law Society Rules and the Professional Conduct Handbook. The Law Society accepted Mr. Custance's admissions on his undertaking not to reapply for reinstatement for 10 years, not to apply for membership in another law society without first advising the Law Society of B.C. in writing, not to permit his name to appear on the letterhead of any law firm in B.C. without consent of the Law Society and to obtain the Law Society's written consent before working for a law firm in B.C.
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.
The Law Society of B.C. since 1949 has maintained a fund to compensate clients who suffer financial loss through a lawyer's misappropriation of trust funds. In cases of misappropriation, the Law Society endeavours to contact persons who may have a claim.
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 or the B.C. government's website at http://www.qp.gov.bc.ca/statreg.
The Law Society of B.C. makes the following documents available to the media in discipline matters:
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.