VANCOUVER lawyer Sonia Hayer has admitted to professional misconduct and consented to be suspended for six months, effective June 1, according to an announcement by the Law Society of British Columbia.
Hayer committed professional misconduct by disbursing funds from her trust account without making reasonable inquiries about her client and the circumstances of the retainer, by failing to verify and obtain client identification information properly, and by failing to report a trust shortage of $150,000 to the Law Society.
She also admitted to permitting a paralegal to use her Juricert password and affix her digital signature to electronic documents, as well as improperly handling client trust funds by permitting a paralegal to sign trust cheques on her behalf and making false representations to the Law Society during the course of the investigation.
Hayer has acknowledged her wrongdoing, recognized the gravity of her actions and expressed remorse for her misconduct. The Law Society’s Discipline Committee Chair accepted a consent agreement between the Law Society and Hayer that set out the six month suspension and a written commitment that she would cease working with the paralegal and never work with him again.
Read the detailed consent agreement.