|For immediate release||November 27, 2014|
Vancouver Island lawyer suspended for disclosing confidential client information
Vancouver – The Law Society sets standards of professional responsibility for BC lawyers and articled students, and upholds those standards through a complaints and discipline process. These standards and processes are important to maintain public confidence and trust in lawyers. Accordingly, the Law Society has ordered that Jennifer Eileen McCormick of Ladysmith be suspended for professional misconduct.
A hearing panel found that during an interview with a media outlet in November 2011, McCormick breached her duty of loyalty to a client, disclosed confidential client information without the client’s consent, and made public statements concerning the affairs of her client before she was satisfied that the communication was in the best interests of the client. The panel concluded that her actions constitute professional misconduct.
Duty of loyalty and solicitor-client privilege are cornerstones of the legal profession. Without them, the ability of any client to confidently disclose all of the facts in pursuit of legal advice would be compromised. In an oral decision, the panel ordered McCormick suspended for 45 days. The suspension is expected to begin December 1. She was also ordered to pay $5,000 in hearing costs. The public is protected by imposing and publicizing this suspension.
The panel will issue written reasons for its decisions in due course, and those reasons will be posted on the Law Society’s website.
The Law Society of British Columbia regulates the more than 11,000 practising 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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