A veteran Winnipeg lawyer has been suspended indefinitely while the Law Society investigates multiple allegations of professional misconduct.
The attorney – who, under provisions of the Legal Profession Act, can’t be named unless he is ultimately found guilty – was called to the bar in 1980.
He was initially charged last year with breach of integrity and failing to serve a client following an investigation by the Law Society. However, he was allowed to continue practicing while the matter remained active. A full hearing before the governing legal body is set for this spring.
But new allegations have now surfaced which forced the Law Society to bar him from keeping his practice open. Specifically, the lawyer is accused of misappropriating client trust funds.
Alan Fineblit, the Chief Executive Officer of the Law Society, told the Free Press this move by his agency speaks to the seriousness of the case.
"Suspension pending resolution is very rare," Fineblit said Monday. "But a decision was made here that he needed to be suspended in order to protect the public."
Fineblit said it’s possible the matter may be forwarded to police for a criminal investigation once the Law Society concludes its business. Fineblit said the two sets of charges laid against the lawyer involve two different clients and entirely unique facts.
"They’re totally unrelated," he said. Further details on the two sets of allegations have not been released publicly.
Additional sanctions could be ordered by the Law Society once a disciplinary hearing is held. Potential options include fines, additional suspensions or even disbarment.