'Bizarrely rude' BC lawyer suspended for 4 months | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

Would you like to subscribe to our newsletter?

Vernon News

'Bizarrely rude' BC lawyer suspended for 4 months


A veteran BC lawyer with a "long history of rude and discourteous behaviour towards others" has been suspended for four months and ordered to pay $25,000 in costs for his "deplorable misconduct" in a family law case.

According to a May 30 Law Society of BC decision, long-standing lawyer Donald Roy McLeod took advantage of an unrepresented party and used "every trick of his trade and every tool in his toolbox to justify his misconduct."

The decision said in 2015 the Victoria-based lawyer was involved in a family law dispute that involved the splitting of a pension.

As the spouse of McLeod's client was unrepresented and the judge involved was not "overly familiar" with pension law, the court relied on McLeod's knowledge on the law governing pension division.

However, according to the decision, McLeod, who's now in his 70s, took advantage of the confusion.

Instead of following the law that states that pensions are divided only for the period of time a couple is together, McLeod submitted that his client was entitled to the pension from when it began.

This resulted in a "windfall" for his client.

"(McLeod) made no submissions that would have justified such a deviation from the norm, and did not make any effort to clarify with the court or otherwise correct the record as to why such an unusual order was being made. As later became clear, this was not the order the court intended to make, and was in fact an error," the decision read.

McLeod argued to the Law Society that his job was to get the best outcome for his client, as it was a legal order.

"While it may have been legal, it was clearly not the order the Court intended to make, and was without evidentiary basis," the Law Society said.

READ MORE: B.C. lawyer with 'creepy uncle' routine suspended for sexual harassment

When the spouse then hired a lawyer to sort out the pension issue McLeod then filed contempt applications against them and their new lawyer.

The Law Society said McLeod was using the court to force an "unjust outcome" saying the move was "high-handed" and "for an ulterior purpose."

Justice George Macintosh described the contempt application as "premature, unfounded and deserving of chastisement."

After the Law Society issued a citation of the allegations in 2018, McLeod took them to the BC Court of Appeal. The court struck down two of the Law Society's allegations but still upheld two professional misconduct findings.

READ MORE: B.C. immigration lawyer who forged medical notes loses licence

The decision said McLeod has been a lawyer since 1981 but has a lengthy professional misconduct record.

In the early 1990s, he was found to have spoken "intemperately and rudely" to members of the public, while several years later a conduct review described him as "bizarrely rude" and "shockingly ill-judged."

In 2004, the Law Society said he'd "demonstrated a real desire to address the types of problems that 'litter his discipline history.'" A decade later he was suspended for a week for disclosing confidential client information.

The Law Society said McLeod's previous conduct files all have an "uncanny resemblance" and that given his age and history of past interactions with the regulator there is "little chance of rehabilitating" his conduct.

The regulator said he refused to acknowledge or apologize for his misconduct until after the Court of Appeal ruling.

"The apology was, as they say, a day late and a dollar short," the Law Society said describing it as a "begrudging apology" that happened seven years after the event.

"The (Law Society) finds that the apology is simply an afterthought and a strategy to attempt to mitigate the sanction (McLeod) must face," the decision read.

Ultimately, the Law Society suspended him for four months and ordered him to pay $25,303.

READ MORE: B.C. lawyer who spoke to media breached publication ban: Law Society

McLeod's website says after 43 years of practicing he has now retired.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

News from © iNFOnews, 2023

  • Popular vernon News
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile