|For immediate release||July 16, 2015|
Law Society orders disbarment of former Kelowna lawyer Douglas Welder
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 lawyer Douglas Warren Welder of Kelowna be disbarred.
In a decision on facts and determination issued on November 28, 2014, a hearing panel found that Welder committed professional misconduct in connection with his involvement in a Ponzi scheme. While Welder was not a perpetrator of the scheme, nor was he knowingly assisting in any illegal enterprise, he failed in his duties as a lawyer by representing a corporation being used to facilitate such a scheme. He received and disbursed over US$1.6 million in investment funds contrary to the terms of a cease trade order issued by the BC Securities Commission and without advising the investors that he was not protecting their interests.
The disbarment was ordered by the panel in its decision on sanction issued July 13, 2015 on the basis of the seriousness of Welder’s misconduct and his extensive professional conduct record, including a number of conduct reviews and citations dating back to 1991.
In its decision, the panel stated that: “Public confidence in the integrity of the legal profession would be undermined by allowing anything less than disbarment.”
The panel also found Welder to be ungovernable, which provided a further basis for the disbarment, and ordered him to pay $19,194.40 in hearing costs.
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.
For further information contact: