Credentials hearing

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. If a panel rejects an ­application, the published summary does not identify the applicant ­without his or her consent.

For the full text of hearing panel decisions, visit the Regulation & Insurance / Regulatory Hearings section of the Law Society website.

Jungwoon (Pierce) Lee

New Westminster, BC

Hearing (application for enrolment as an articled student): June 3 and 4, 2009

Panel: Robert D. Punnett, QC, Chair, Haydn Acheson and David Mossop, QC

Report issued: July 21, 2009 (2009 LSBC 22)

Counsel: Jason Twa for the Law Society and Kevin Woodall for Jungwoon (Pierce) Lee

Jungwoon (Pierce) Lee attended UBC law school between 2004 and 2007 and received his LLB. In October 2008, Lee obtained an articling position and submitted his application for enrolment as an articled student to the Law Society. The Credentials Committee ordered a hearing related to three assaults by Lee that raised concern about his fitness to be enrolled as an articled student. Additionally, Lee failed to disclose to the Law Society a fourth assault that occurred in 2006.

The three incidents where Lee engaged in physically aggressive behaviour involved a fellow high school student in 2000, his younger brother in 2003, and a former girlfriend in 2004. In 2006, in another physical altercation with his younger brother, Lee grabbed a large kitchen knife and verbally threatened his brother. The police were never called, and no charges were laid. Lee failed to disclose this incident to the Law Society.

Lee was assessed to evaluate his propensity towards assaultive behaviour. He described having poor role models in his parents in terms of both emotional and physical restraint. Lee had initially shown a rather lacklustre attitude towards rehabilitation; however, after attending a few sessions with an anger management counsellor, he decided to start dealing with his problem. Lee has since participated in group counselling as well as a six-week anger management program.

The counsellor reported that Lee appears to have more insight into the fact that, as a professional, there would be serious consequences that would jeopardize his professional status were he ever to act out physically even in a highly provocative situation. The counsellor perceives Lee to be at a low to medium level of risk. He is not a low risk because of the history in his case, but also not a medium risk because he has made definite progress and has come to certain realizations as he has matured over the past few years.

The panel was impressed, not only by Lee’s efforts to rehabilitate himself, but also by the evidence of what he has learned from his counselling sessions and the anger management group sessions.

The panel concluded that Lee passed the fitness test. Lee is allowed to enrol in the admissions program as an articled student; however, the panel ordered that:

1. before the articling agreement is entered into, any prospective principal must be informed of and given a copy of the panel’s decision;

2. the principal must undertake to the Law Society to inform the Law Society forthwith, in writing, of any aggressive behaviour involving Lee that the principal becomes aware of, whether or not such behaviour occurs during working hours;

3. the principal must undertake to provide quarterly reports to the Law Society setting out how Lee is progressing and dealing with his anger management issues;

4. Lee must develop and follow with the counsellor, or another person designated by the counsellor, a counselling program, including one-on-one counselling dealing with anger management;

5. Lee must see any psychologist or psychiatrist as directed by the Credentials Committee; and

6. at the end of his admission program, Lee must provide the Law ­Society with an affidavit detailing any aggressive behaviour or anger management issues involving Lee during his term in the admission program, whether or not such behaviour occurred during working hours.

The panel ordered that Lee pay costs of $500.

This hearing deals only with Lee’s enrolment in the admission program; the Credentials Committee still has to decide whether Lee should be called and admitted as a lawyer.