Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Modules Of Saskatchewan

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court imposed a six-month suspension for misconduct summarized on the web page of the Board of Bar Overseers as reciprocal discipline for sanctions imposed in New York

In 2009, the respondent had commenced the process of getting admitted to the practice of law in Saskatchewan, Canada. The process involved the completion and submission of several Online Modules, which evaluated competency in a variety of legal areas. In submitting the completed Online Module, the applicant had to certify that it was his or her own original work and that he or she had complied with the Professional Integrity Policy. The Professional Integrity Policy prohibited collaboration on the modules with other applicants.

The respondent and another applicant collaborated in completing two of the Online Modules. On February 3, 2009, the collaboration came to the attention of the director of the Canadian Center for Professional Legal Education (“CPLED”) program. CPLED launched an investigation of the collaboration and suspended the respondent’s participation, pending completion of the investigation and hearing before the Admissions and Education Committee for the Law Society of Saskatchewan.

On September 8, 2009, the Committee issued a decision finding that that respondent had violated “the spirit and the letter of the Professional Integrity Policy.” The Committee thus required the respondent to re-take the Online Modules and competency tests, pay a fine and costs, and wait not less than three months after successfully completing the modules before he applied for admission.

On December 6, 2009, the respondent filed an Application for Admission questionnaire in connection for his application to the bar of New York. In response to a question about the disposition of any application for admission to the bar of other jurisdictions, the respondent failed to disclose the Saskatchewan investigation into his collaboration with another applicant or the decision of the Committee.

The respondent was admitted to the bar of New York on January 12, 2010. However, in January 2017, the New York disciplinary authorities filed a petition against the respondent alleging that he violated New York Rule of Professional Conduct 8.1(a) due to his lack of candor in the disciplinary process. On October 19, 2017, the New York Grievance Committee for the Third Judicial Department revoked the respondent’s admission to the New York bar without prejudice to his submission of a new application for admission.

By failing to disclose on his New York bar application, in response to a specific question about the disposition of his application to the bar of other jurisdictions, that the Saskatchewan Law Society had determined that he had violated “the spirit and the letter of the Professional Integrity Policy” by collaborating on the Online Modules, the respondent violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 8.1(b) and 8.4(c) and (d).

The decision of the Admissions and Education Committee of the Law Society of Saskatchewan may be accessed here. 

The decision of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeals is linked here. (Mike Frisch)

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