A Standards Committee opened an inquiry into the conduct of a lawyer following a report from a court registrar. Ultimately, with the lawyer not renewing his practising certificate and winding up his practice, the Standards Committee took no further action.
When it first received the report from the registrar, the Standards Committee appointed another lawyer as investigator. The investigator interviewed the lawyer and several people who worked with him. That happened at the time of the practising certificate renewals process, and the lawyer advised he did not intend to renew his practising certificate. The investigator’s report took that into account.
The Law Society’s Inspectorate conducted and completed its “exit interview” for the lawyer. The lawyer’s active matters were transferred to other lawyers. The practice was wound up and the trust account was closed.
The Standards Committee took reassurance from the information provided by the Inspectorate, that he had “safely wound up his practice”. Because of that, the Standards Committee considered that there was “no current risk to the public” and decided to take no further action on the matter.
The Standards Committee noted that the Law Society also has a representative function and can offer support to lawyers though its National Friends Panel.
Law Society comments: The full range of ‘Practising Well’ support services can be found at https://www.lawsociety.org.nz/professional-practice/practising-well/.