Vancouver criminal lawyer suspended for professional misconduct

·2 min read
Defence lawyer Paul Doroshenko has admitted to the Law Society of B.C. that his firm misappropriated or improperly withdrew $44,353.19 in client trust funds. (CBC News - image credit)
Defence lawyer Paul Doroshenko has admitted to the Law Society of B.C. that his firm misappropriated or improperly withdrew $44,353.19 in client trust funds. (CBC News - image credit)

Vancouver criminal defence lawyer Paul Doroshenko has been suspended by the Law Society of British Columbia for two months effective June 21 after admitting to professional misconduct.

The Law Society of B.C. said Doroshenko took responsibility by admitting to misappropriating or improperly withdrawing thousands of dollars in client trust funds.

The society issued a statement Wednesday afternoon specifying the breaches of conduct:

  • 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 totalling $25,095.93 into trust as soon as possible.

  • Maintaining more than $300 of his own funds in trust.

Doroshenko was also accused of failing to maintain accounting records or adequately supervising his staff and making false representations to the Law Society in his annual trust report.

The Law Society said he has acknowledged his role in ensuring accounting records are up to date and said the accounting breaches are because of Doroshenko's lack of attention to the administrative side of his practice and his reliance on his staff.

In the end, the society said none of Doroshenko's clients were harmed, and all funds were corrected or replaced.

The improper withdrawals happened because funds were withdrawn before the accounting mistakes were identified or corrected according to the society.

The Law Society of B.C. said in a statement that Doroshenko was dealing with health issues at the time.

"He was also suffering from a concussion and other significant health issues due to an accident during that time, which affected his ability to function and work."

The Law Society's Discipline Committee chair decided the two-month suspension and five hours of continued professional development credits was an appropriate punishment.

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