Discipline Decision – 2007
An Adjudication Panel of the Discipline Committee of the Law Society found Michael J.M. Drover of St. John’s, NL, guilty of conduct deserving of sanction pursuant to section 48(3) of the Law Society Act, 1999.
The Complaint alleged that Mr. Drover failed to comply with the Trust Account Rules, failed to avoid a conflict of interest between lawyer and client, and failed in his duties respecting preservation of clients’ property
Mr. Drover entered a not guilty plea.
The Adjudication Panel found:
By Order of the Adjudication Panel dated March 6, 2007, Mr. Drover was reprimanded and ordered to pay 50% of the expenses incurred by the Law Society in the investigation and hearing of the Complaint. The Adjudication Panel also ordered that the decision and order be subject to publication in accordance with the Law Society Rules.
Discipline Decision – 2013
TAKE NOTICE THAT an Adjudication Tribunal of the Disciplinary Panel of the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, having conducted a hearing pursuant to the Law Society Act, 1999, found Michael J.M. Drover of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, guilty of conduct deserving of sanction. Mr. Drover entered a guilty plea to allegations concerning his failure to fulfill his Undertaking and his failure to respond to communications from the Law Society in a timely fashion. The Adjudication Tribunal noted that members of the Law Society must be able to rely upon Undertakings given by other members, and that undue delay in performing Undertakings, and unduly delayed responses to inquiries regarding the performance of Undertakings, undermines such reliance. The Adjudication Tribunal also noted that public confidence in self-governance of the legal profession is reliant, in a large measure, upon the expectation that members of the Law Society will promptly and fully respond to the Law Society regarding allegations of conduct deserving of sanction.
The Adjudication Tribunal ordered, pursuant to subsection 49(2) of the Law Society Act, 1999 that:
Discipline Decision – 2017
An Adjudication Tribunal of the Disciplinary Panel of the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, pursuant to the Law Society Act, 1999, found Michael J.M. Drover of Michael Drover PLC Inc. guilty of conduct deserving of sanction and ordered that he be disbarred.
An excerpt from the Decision on Sanction dated April 19, 2017 follows.
The Adjudication Tribunal in this matter found the Respondent guilty of conduct deserving of sanction in a written Decision and Reasons dated March 2, 2017. The Respondent was found by this Tribunal to have misappropriated a total of $181,483.97 from three clients in a series of transactions over three years. The Respondent was further found to have used funds held in trust for two clients to pay a number of invoices from his firm totaling $220,775.00 without giving these clients copies of the invoices. The Respondent was also found to have attempted to mislead the Law Society and to have failed to respond in a timely and substantive matter to communications from the Law Society.
The accepted principle of sanction which is particularly relevant to the present case is expressed in Fahey, Re 1998 CanLII 12417 (NL LS), as follows: “except in extraordinary circumstances, deliberate theft of a client’s property will result in disbarment”. The Respondent in this case knowingly planned and engaged in fraud and the theft of a total of $181,483.97 from three clients. There are no extraordinary circumstances or mitigating factors in this case which would lead this Tribunal to conclude that anything less than disbarment is the appropriate sanction and is necessary to protect the public from further harm.
The Respondent not only failed to co-operate but attempted to mislead the Law Society during the period of the Custodianship and the Law Society’s investigation into this matter. It is entirely appropriate, therefore, that he be ordered to pay the Law Society the costs incurred in relation to the Custodianship and in the investigation and hearing of the Complaint.
The Adjudication Tribunal ordered, pursuant to subsection 49(2) of the Law Society Act, 1999: