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Paralegal held himself out as a Lawyer, misappropriated $31,000 of a client’s trust fund accounts; acting for opposing parties in a conflict of interest, engaging in fee splitting, failing to supervise a non-licensee, and charging excessive fees to a client. He used the trust money for office supplies and himself: since has not paid the money back into the accounts.

Ordered[]

To pay $90,000 to Law Society for Costs within two Years, and Revocation of license.

Reasoning[]

In order to maintain public confidence in the legal professions, the public must be able to have confidence that client monies held in trust will not be misappropriated by the licensee holding them. Paralegals know they must comply with the Paralegal Rules of Conduct and with the By-Laws under the Law Society Act- setting up requirements for handling trust accounts. Integrity is essential to the privilege of calling oneself a paralegal licensed by the Law Society of Upper Canada.  

Rule[]

Presumptive penalty for Misappropriation is REVOCATION (revoked Paralegal license).

Exception[]

For circumstances to qualify as exceptional, they must not only explain why the misconduct has occurred but also credibly indicate that it is out of character and unlikely to recur. This exception DID NOT apply to Ping Lee.

Note: Translation services are necessary to eliminate barriers in a diverse society and the Law Society could not ask the Court for Costs for translators (for witnesses speaking Mandarin and Somali). The Cost would be borne by the Law Society. Synonymous with not being able to ask for Cost for Gas, or Transportation to come to the Court house (Cost of business).

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