|For immediate release||December 14, 2015|
Law Society disbars former Vancouver lawyer John David Briner
Vancouver, December 14, 2015 – 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 former lawyer John David Briner of Vancouver be disbarred.
Briner was found to have committed professional misconduct by misappropriating trust funds of $50,439.44, breaching trust accounting rules, and failing to cooperate with a Law Society investigation.
In December 2012, Briner’s office received $50,439.44 from a third party, intended for a client of Briner’s. Briner deposited the money into his pooled trust account but instead of crediting the amount to his client, Briner intentionally credited it to the ledger of another client, which was in an overdraft position. On the same day that he credited the funds to the wrong account, Briner prepared a bill to the second client for $10,000 and withdrew that amount purportedly in payment of his fees and disbursements. The balance of the trust funds were withdrawn on behalf of the second client.
The discipline hearing panel found that there was a clear advantage gained by Briner by using one client’s trust funds to cover an overdraft in another client’s trust account, and that he offered no corroborating evidence to support his position that the misappropriation was a simple mistake.
The Law Society of British Columbia upholds and protects the public interest in the administration of justice by ensuring the independence, integrity and competence of lawyers, establishing education and professional development standards for lawyers, regulating the practice of law and preserving and protecting the rights and freedoms of all persons.
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