Law Society disciplines lawyers
TORONTO, July 18 /CNW/ - In keeping with the Law Society of Upper Canada's mandate to govern Ontario's legal profession in the public interest, the Law Society disciplined the following lawyers. The notation following a lawyer's name indicates year of call to the bar and his/her age. Orders for which a member receives an admonition are not published. A hearing panel, which usually includes two lawyers and a layperson, is responsible for determining the appropriate disposition of the matter.
A detailed listing of the particulars in each case can be found on the Law Society's web site at www.lsuc.on.ca. A link to discipline decisions can be found under "Hot Topics" on the left side of the screen.
Jeffery Howard Burns (1973, 51) of the City of Miami, Florida was found guilty of conduct unbecoming for:
On October 6, 2000, before the United States District Court, Southern District of Florida, he pleaded guilty to and was convicted of the following criminal charge:
- that he, on or about August 25, 1998, through February 16, 1999, at Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, in the Southern District of Florida, and elsewhere, did knowingly and wilfully combine, conspire and confederate and agree with each other and with others unknown to the Grand Jury to commit an offence against the United States, that is, to knowingly and wilfully conduct financial transactions affecting
interstate and foreign commerce which involved funds and monetary instruments represented by a law enforcement officer to be the proceeds of a specified unlawful activity, that is, the receiving, concealment, buying, selling and otherwise dealing in narcotic and dangerous drugs punishable under the laws of the United States, believing that the transactions were designed in whole and in part to conceal the nature, location, source, ownership and control of the represented proceeds of said specified unlawful activity, in violation of Title 18, United
States Code, Section 1956(a)(3)(B); all in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956(h).
Hearing panel ordered that:
months commencing March 15, 2002.
Charles David Cotterall (1989, 50) of the Country of Mexico was found guilty of professional misconduct for failing to maintain sufficient balances in his trust accounts to meet all his obligations to clients; failing to
maintain adequate books and records with respect to his practice; failing to fulfil undertakings; failing to serve clients in a conscientious, diligent and efficient manner; failing to fully account to his clients for monies received in trust; failing to fulfil a financial obligation in connection with his law practice; and acting in a conflict of interest. Hearing panel ordered that: - the member be suspended for a period of six months, such suspension to commence at the conclusion of his administrative suspension, and to continue indefinitely until the member has completed the following to the satisfaction of the Secretary of the Law Society:
i. produced his updated books and records, in full, for the fiscal years of 1996, 1997, and 1998;
ii. corrected the trust shortages as reflected in his trust account as at July 31, 1997;
iii. provided corrected accounts to the investors' group in relation to the statement of account dated May 10, 1995 in the amount of $4,322.62, the statement of account dated July 26, 1995 in the
amount of $2,873.30, and the statement of account dated November 1, 1995 in the amount of $220.42;
iv. provided a revised and detailed account in respect of the statement of account dated November 3, 1997 in the amount of $15,210.00; and v. provided an accounting to the investors' group for the balance of $4,082.00 in retainer fees or, in the alternative, return the
$4,082.00 to the investors' group;
- if the member resumes the private practice of law in Ontario, he is restricted for the first two years to practising as an
employee or, alternatively, if he wishes to practise as a sole practitioner, it will be in conjunction with his cooperation in the Practice Review Program as specified in paragraph 4 below; - if the member chooses the employment option, the member must confirm his employment plans to the Law Society, and give notice of the Order made in respect of these proceedings to his
employer. The member must also confirm any change in his employment plans by providing the Society with 30 days notice, such notice to include the name and contact numbers of the
prospective new employer. Any employer the member proposes must be acceptable to the Secretary of the Law Society and, the
member must obtain the approval of the Secretary prior to commencing his employment;
- if the member chooses the sole practitioner option, he will cooperate in the review of his practice, at his own expense, pursuant to section 42 of the Law Society Act, and that he will implement any recommendations made by the Practice Review Program, or by the Secretary of the Law Society in addition to the usual requirements of Practice Review, the member shall co- operate in the monitoring of his practice which will include a random review of his selected files, books and records every three months;
- if the member chooses the sole practitioner option, the member will agree to being audited by the spot audit department within the first twelve months of his practice;
- if the member chooses the sole practitioner option, the member will provide monthly trust comparisons to the Law Society for the two year period following resumption of practice, all trust comparisons having been approved by a certified general accountant;
- regardless of whether the member chooses the sole practitioner or employee option, he will be required to enrol in the Bar
Admission Course on Professional Responsibility and successfully pass the exam within the first year of returning to practice and he will be required to complete one of the following within the first year of returning to practice:
i. enrol in a second Bar Admission Course of the member's choosing and successfully pass the exam; or
ii. enrol in and complete the Start Up Workshop offered by the Professional Development and Competence Department of the Law Society; or
iii. enrol in and successfully complete another course or workshop acceptable to the Secretary of the Law Society
which deals with accounting practices, practice
management, time management or stress management; - the member shall pay the costs of the Law Society in the amount of $6,000.00 at the conclusion of his discipline suspension.
Bruce Hamilton Crozier (1988, 47), of the City of Lachine, Quebec was found guilty of professional misconduct for failing to serve clients in a conscientious, diligent and efficient manner; failing to provide a statement of account; and misleading his clients. Hearing panel ordered that: - the member be given permission to resign his membership in the Law Society within 45 days, failing which, that he be disbarred.
Helena Maria Fernandez (1991, 39) of the City of Toronto was found guilty of professional misconduct for failing to deliver a client file to a client's new lawyer; failing to deliver an accounting to her client for monies paid to her; and failing to respond to a Law Society investigation. Hearing panel ordered that:
- the member's rights and privileges are suspended, commencing on the date the member applies to change her status from inactive to active, for a definite period of three months and thereafter indefinitely until the member, to the satisfaction of the Secretary or acting Secretary, i. properly accounts to RM for the $6,000 RM provided to the member for the matrimonial work RM retained the member to do; and
ii. produces to RM his client file, or, if the member is unable to produce the client file, explains to the Law Society why the client file is missing;
- the member shall pay to the Law Society, by no later than the end of the third year that the member has been back in the active practice of law, for the Lawyers Fund for Client Compensation, the amount of any grant made from the Fund to RM as a result of the member's misconduct as found by the Law Society Hearing Panel in this Application;
- if no grant is made from the Lawyers Fund for Client Compensation to RM as a result of the member's misconduct as found by the Law Society Hearing Panel in this Application, the member shall refund to RM the
funds received from RM for which the member cannot properly account to RM as fees allowed to the member on an assessment for work done by the member for RM.
Leroy Valentine Matthew (1983, 58) of St. Kitts, West Indies, was found guilty of professional misconduct for borrowing funds from a client; failing to respond to the Law Society regarding a complaint made against him; failing to disclose to the Law Society that he had borrowed money from a client in his annual filings; failing to serve clients in a conscientious, diligent and
efficient manner; failing to respond to the Law Society in a timely and responsive fashion regarding a complaint; failing to co-operate with a Law Society investigation by failing to produce the complete books and records of his practice and client files; failing to maintain sufficient trust monies on deposit in his trust account to meet all of his trust obligations thereby resulting in a trust fund shortage; failing to maintain adequate books and records of his law practice; and ceasing the practice of law without making adequate arrangements for the protection of his clients and without properly advising the Law Society of Upper Canada. Hearing Panel ordered that: - the member be and he is hereby granted permission to resign his membership in the Law Society of Upper Canada within 30 days, failing which he is disbarred.
John Louis Rossi (1978, 50) of the City of Windsor was found guilty of professional misconduct for practising while he was subject to an administrative suspension. Hearing Panel ordered that:
- the member be suspended for a period of six months, commencing on June 3, 2002 and concluding on December 3, 2002;
- the member pay $500 in costs to the Law Society within 60 days of the date of this Order.
For further information: please contact: Sean O'Connor, (416) 947-3317,