Law society suspends lawyer who received Queen's Counsel designation after helping NDP win 2017 election

A consent agreement states that he "reimbursed the missing trust funds and no clients were harmed by his misconduct"

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      The B.C. NDP needed all the help it could get going into the 2017 provincial election.

      It had lost the four previous elections by arguing that its policies were better than those of the B.C. Liberals.

      So in the 2017 campaign, B.C. NDP politicians and their supporters focused much more attention on corruption, high housing prices, and money laundering.

      It worked.

      Even though the B.C. NDP fell two seats shy of the B.C. Liberals and lost the popular vote, John Horgan still became premier. It came thanks to the support of the three B.C. Green MLAs.

      One of those who helped the B.C. NDP in the campaign was Paul Doroshenko, a high-profile lawyer and former B.C. Liberal supporter.

      The fact that he had previously helped a former B.C. Liberal premier, Gordon Campbell, generated some attention in the weeks leading up to voting day.

      Prior to the 2017 election, Doroshenko and another lawyer, David Fai, filed papers in a lawsuit by a former TransLink worker. The lawsuit alleged that the B.C. Liberals benefited from "partisan" B.C. government advertising buys.

      In effect, the plaintiff purported that the B.C. Liberal party misused taxpayers' money for their own benefit.

      This also generated a fair amount of publicity before voting day, reinforcing NDP arguments that the B.C. Liberals were untrustworthy.

      Through a GoFundMe campaign, Doroshenko raised $12,985 to cover costs associated with the lawsuit.

      Seven months after the election, the B.C. cabinet granted Doroshenko and 26 other members of the bar a prestigious Queen's counsel designation.

      “Each appointee has earned this very special honour by demonstrating a superb record of achievement and commitment to our province’s legal system," Attorney General David Eby said in a news release. "As professionals, volunteers and advocates, they have shown integrity and leadership in upholding the rule of law, serving their communities and striving to make British Columbia a safer and more equitable place to live.”

      In April 2018, a B.C. Supreme Court judge threw out the case regarding government advertising. And Doroshenko said on the GoFundMe page that the lawyers would not be returning any funds to donors.

      "As for money we collected, we're months away from an accounting," Doroshenko wrote. "We have kept all of the donations (minus what GoFundMe charged) in trust and paid for the suit to date ourselves. If there is any money remaining after we do the accounting, we have a committee of 3 lawyers and our litigant who will decide how we can use this money to advance the goal of stopping the BC Government (regardless of the party) from spending taxpayer money for partisan advertising."

      Today, the B.C. Law Society announced that Doroshenko had admitted to professional misconduct and agreed to a two-month licence suspension, effective June 21.

      It came in connection with client trust funds and not any of the money generated through GoFundMe.

      "Doroshenko admitted to misappropriating or improperly withdrawing $44,353.19 in client trust funds; failing to identify a trust shortage, pay funds to immediately eliminate the trust shortage and report the trust shortage to the Law Society; failing to maintain sufficient funds on deposit to meet his trust obligations; failing to deposit trust funds totaling $25,095.93 into trust as soon as possible; maintaining more than $300 of his own funds in trust; failing to maintain accounting records in compliance with the Law Society Rules; failing to adequately supervise his staff; and making false representations to the Law Society in his annual trust report," the law society stated in a news release.

      It maintained that these 82 accounting breaches were due to Doroshenko's "inattentiveness to the administrative side of his practice".

      In the consent agreement, it's revealed that Doroshenko suffered a "serious concussion while doing construction work at his home" in 2016.

      "He experienced memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and an inability to hold more than one thought," the document states. "At the same time, the Lawyer experienced incidents of sadness, chronic pain in his legs, and permanent impairment of vision in his right eye."

      Then on January 1, 2018, Doroshenko "suffered a slip and fall accident and suffered injury to his elbows, tailbone, and back".

      The consent agreement states that he "reimbursed the missing trust funds and no clients were harmed by his misconduct".

      In early May, Doroshenko had another bout of bad luck, stating over Twitter that he was the victim of a random assault.

      Less than a week later, the B.C. Court of Appeal ordered Doroshenko to pay a former articling student $193,934 after his law firm fired her and alleged that she used company files to compete with his company.

      There's been no indication that the B.C. cabinet has any plans to revoke Doroshenko's Q.C. designation.

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