Kelowna lawyer suspended 18 months for skilled misconduct
The Law Society of British Columbia (LSBC) has issued Kelowna lawyer Paule Fiona Seeger (Moore) a suspension of at least 18 months for professional misconduct.
The suspension takes effect on Sept. 1, 2022, and will last until at least March 1, 2024.
She will need to appear before a board of examiners and satisfy them that her competence to practice law is not adversely affected by a health condition or substance-use issue.
“Seeger acknowledged professional misconduct by misappropriating or improperly withdrawing client funds for the payment of legal fees before the services were provided,” explained a release from the LSBC.
“Seeger also admitted to improperly withdrawing funds from trust for disbursements that had not been incurred, representing completing work that had been performed by her articled student, leaving pre-signed trust checks for use by an employee, and failing to notify the Law Society of a monetary judgment against her as required by the rules.”
According to the LSBC, the hearing panel took into account previous disciplinary cases that determined the lawyer’s mental health or substance-use issues were a factor in the misconduct.
“The panel found the amount of client monies that had been misappropriated or improperly withdrawn to be serious, but considered Seeger’s admission of misconduct and remedial action she has taken to address factors that contributed to it,” the release noted.
If Seeger does return to practice law once its suspension is lifted, she will be subject to conditions that include entering into and complying with a medical monitoring agreement.
She will also be prohibited from supervising articled students, must practice under a supervision agreement and practice in a setting deemed acceptable by the LSBC.
Finally, Seeger will be prohibited from operating a trust account and from having any signing authority over a trust account.
The LSBC decision can be viewed here.
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