Presented by Stephen McClyment, Investigation Counsel, Law Society of Upper Canada
Organized crime targets lawyer trust accounts to “layer” and then “launder” proceeds of crime, therefor lawyers are under a duty to be scrupulously ethical as to what they accept as funds into their trust accounts. I will describe the Rules of Professional Conduct and By-Laws that are currently in place to prevent lawyers from engaging in frauds and money laundering but I would emphasize that unless lawyers apply common sense and due diligence in an effort to act “ethically” in accordance with the Rules and By Laws those Rules and By-Laws will be ineffective in preventing criminal activity by the parties targeting the lawyer’s trust account and reputation.
I would try and explain what the Law Society is seeing so that other stakeholders in commercial transactions could also be put on notice of how lawyers can be compromised and then involved in and/or actually facilitate frauds.
I would be speaking about the unintended consequences and complications that the Law Society is seeing in its investigations following the amendment of our Rules of Professional Conduct in 2011 to make the Rule designed to prevent lawyers from knowingly facilitating frauds more comprehensive.
Stephen McClyment obtained his B.A from the University of Toronto in 1971, and his LL.B. degree from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1974. He was called to the Bar in 1976. In 1976 he established his own law firm in Toronto and continued a very successful general practice both in Toronto and Markham until September 2000 when he joined the Law Society of Upper Canada as Investigation Counsel.
Stephen McClyment has had many years of legal experience in the practice of commercial and residential real estate, mortgage, and other secured transactions. He has wide experience as counsel in criminal and civil litigation including mortgage collection and enforcement proceedings for all types of secured transactions. Since July 2003 he has been the Senior Investigation Counsel at the Law Society of Upper Canada. Among his other responsibilities he initiated and leads the Mortgage Fraud Team at the Law Society. As well as managing a large caseload of investigations, he is responsible for providing timely, cogent and concise legal advice to the Investigations Department staff including, other investigation counsel, forensic auditors, investigators and management staff.
He leads interim teams to address public protection issues as they emerge on investigations and assists in obtaining interim Undertakings, Discipline Panel Orders and as applicable Court Orders to provide protection to clients and other stakeholders involved with a Lawyer and/or Paralegal Licencee under investigation and pending a final disposition of such an investigation. He has frequently made presentations on behalf of the Law Society in connection with many aspects of the investigation and discipline process at the Law Society to stakeholders and other interested groups.