Law Society of B.C. says Doroshenko was suffering from a concussion and other significant health issues due to an accident that affected his ability to function and work.
Vancouver lawyer and Queen’s counsel Paul Doroshenko has been suspended from practice for two months after admitting that client trust funds were mismanaged at his firm Acumen Law.
According to a statement from the Law Society of B.C., Doroshenko has reimbursed missing trust funds and no clients were harmed by his misconduct. He did not benefit from any of the administrative mistakes.
In a 14-page consent agreement between Doroshenko and the law society, a picture is painted of messy financial administration due to the lawyer’s “reliance on his staff to ensure that his books were in order, which led to many of the issues with his accounting records.”
In the consent agreement, Doroshenko said that on 82 occasions a total of $44,353 was misappropriated or improperly withdrawn between Feb. 2014 and Aug. 2018, and that on 20 occasions a total of $25,000 in trust funds was not deposited on time between Jan. 2014 and April 2018.
The law society went on to say Doroshenko failed to properly supervise staff and no longer employs “individuals involved.”
The two-month suspension starts on June 21.
“He was also suffering from a concussion and other significant health issues due to an accident at that time, which affected his ability to function and work,” the statement read. “No clients were harmed and all funds were subsequently corrected or replaced.”
Doroshenko does not have a prior professional misconduct record with the law society but was seriously admonished last month by B.C.’s top court after he attempted to overturn a Supreme Court of B.C. ruling in which a former articling student successfully sued him for wrongful dismissal.
In a caustic 8,500-word rebuke, Appeal Court Justice Richard Goepel said the lower court didn’t punish Doroshenko enough and added more than $100,000 to the award of damages to his former employee.
“The conduct described by the trial judge can properly be described … as ‘high-handed, malicious, arbitrary or highly reprehensible misconduct that departs to a marked degree from ordinary standards of decent behaviour,’ ” Goepel wrote.
“The awards of general and aggravated damages are not sufficient to achieve the goals of denunciation, deterrence, and retribution” — and hence the award was increased to $165,000.
Doroshenko, who specializes in defending people arrested under the Motor Vehicle Act, joined the bar in 2000 and founded Acumen in 2008.
He was appointed to the Queen’s counsel in 2017.
— with files from Ian Mulgrew