Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Lawyer faces new allegation of professional misconduct

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A Winnipeg lawyer has been suspended indefinitely while the Law Society of Manitoba investigates multiple allegations of professional misconduct.

The attorney -- who can't be named unless he is found guilty under provisions of the Legal Profession Act -- was called to the bar in 1980.

'A decision was made here that he needed to be suspended in order to protect the public'

He was initially charged last year with breach of integrity and failing to serve a client following an investigation by the law society. He was allowed to continue practising while the matter remained active. A full hearing before the governing legal body is set for this spring.

But new allegations have surfaced that forced the law society to bar him from keeping his practice open. The lawyer is accused of misappropriating client trust funds.

Alan Fineblit, the chief executive officer of the law society, told the Free Press the move by the agency speaks to the seriousness of the case.

"Suspension pending resolution is very rare," Fineblit said. "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. He said the two sets of charges involve two different clients and 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.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 25, 2014 0

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