|For immediate release||May 7, 2012|
Former immigration lawyer receives eight-year ban after admitting misconduct
Vancouver - A former immigration lawyer who was suspended by the Law Society four years ago will have to wait until 2017 before he can apply to become a lawyer again.
Rico Rey Hipolito was suspended in 2008 after failing to produce records for a compliance audit. These mandatory audits are a regular part of the Law Society’s Trust Assurance Program.
Following an investigation, and prior to a set of allegations going to a hearing, Rey Hipolito admitted to professional misconduct related to some of his actions:
- In 2004 he received money as a flat fee for an immigration-related sponsorship application and extension of visitor’s visa application from a client (“BF”) acting for her mother. He failed to serve clients in a conscientious, diligent and efficient manner in that he did not ensure the applications were filed and did not correctly and promptly report on the status of the file to the client. He also failed to handle the money received in accordance with the Society’s trust accounting rules.
- In 2006, while representing another client (“YM”) he failed to repay $6,000 he had promised to refund to YM after the client’s judicial review of an application for permanent residency was dismissed.
- In 2008 while representing a client (“CE”) on her application to sponsor her husband for permanent residence, he committed professional misconduct by taking a flat fee as his own when he had not yet performed the services for which he had been retained nor had he delivered a bill to the client. He also misappropriated $1,040 which had been given to him in trust to pay Citizenship and Immigration Canada filing fees and misled CE as to the status of her application.
- In 2009, in two instances, he gave legal advice and accepted payment for his services when he was suspended from practicing law by the Society.
“This lawyer’s actions fell far below the standards set for the legal profession,” said Deborah Armour, the Society’s Chief Legal Officer. “It is serious misconduct which has been met with serious action to protect the public.”
Read the Agreed Statement of Facts.
The Law Society of British Columbia regulates the more than 10,000 lawyers in the province, setting and enforcing standards of professional conduct that ensure the public is well-served by a competent, honourable legal profession.
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