The Law Society of BC Tribunal (LSBC) has suspended Kelowna lawyer Paule Fiona Seeger (Moore) for 18 months for professional misconduct.
Seeger acknowledged professional misconduct by misappropriating or improperly withdrawing client funds for the payment of legal fees before the services were provided, according to a statement by 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 cheques for use by an employee, and failing to notify the LSBC of a monetary judgment against her as required by the rules.
A hearing panel found the amount of client funds that had been misappropriated or improperly withdrawn to be serious, but considered Seeger’s admission of misconduct and remedial action she has taken to address factors that contributed to it.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 statement said once the suspension is complete Seeger will be required to appear before a board of examiners to satisfy that her competence to practice law is not adversely affected by a health condition or substance use issue.
If Seeger returns to the practice of law, she will be subject to conditions, including entering into and complying with a medical monitoring agreement.
She will not be allowed to supervise articled students, must practice under a supervision agreement and in a setting deemed acceptable by the LSBC, and is prohibited from operating a trust account and from having any signing authority over a trust account.
The suspension takes effect September 1, 2022, and lasts until at least March 1, 2024.