The Law Society Tribunal has temporarily suspended Richmond St. lawyer Otto Mok, who has been practicing since 2004, due to findings of professional misconduct.
The panel determined that the following allegations were established:
- The Respondent failed to serve Client A, contrary to subrule 2.01(2) of the Rules of Professional Conduct in effect prior to October 1, 2014 (the “Rules”), in that he failed to communicate at all stages of the matter in a timely and effective manner and failed to clearly and fully explain the nature of the billing arrangement;
- The Respondent failed to account for retainer funds to Client A in a timely manner, contrary to subrules 2.07(5) and 2.08(10) of the Rules and By-law 9;
- The Respondent failed to deposit cash retainers totalling $18,500 into a trust account, pursuant to By-law 9;
- The Respondent accepted payment in excess of $7,500 in cash contrary to By-law 9;
- The Respondent failed to conduct himself in such a way as to maintain the integrity of the profession, contrary to Rule 6.01 of the Rules by preparing false statements of account, and filing them at an assessment hearing.
The panel ordered that Mok be suspended for three and a half months commencing on May 26, 2017 (the date of the Tribunal’s decision and order).
Mok was also ordered to comply fully with the terms of the Law Society’s Guidelines for Lawyers Who are Suspended or Who Have Given an Undertaking Not to Practise while suspended.
He also has to pay costs to the Law Society in the amount of $5,000. An installment of $2,500 is to be paid on or before May 26, 2018, and an installment of $2,500 shall be paid on or before May 26, 2019. Commencing immediately after May 26, 2019, interest shall accrue on any unpaid part of those costs, at a rate of 2% per year.
Counsel for the Law Society was Louise Hurteau. Mok self-represented.