The Law Society of British Columbia has suspended Surrey lawyer Serf Grewal for two months effective Aug. 2 after a tribunal found he committed professional misconduct involving “unintentional misappropriation” of slightly more than $42,000 of client trust funds.
This, according to a bulletin published by the law society on Aug. 10, was due to “trust shortages and accounting errors, mishandling of a further $3,770 of client trust funds which resulted in a trust shortage that he did not report to the Law Society, improper withdrawal of $5,500 held in trust for fees before delivering bills to the client, failure to comply with accounting obligations over a four year period, and improperly commissioning an affidavit by not personally witnessing the attestation.”
Grewal also breached Law Society rules related to reporting requirements, the panel concluded. Rather than impose a lengthier suspension, the bulletin states, the panel “considered evidence establishing that none of Grewal’s misconduct arose from dishonesty or deliberate misconduct for personal gain.”
The hearing document states it was “apparent to the panel” that Grewal “was dealing with significant issues, which had a debilitating effect on his life and his career. It is also clear to the panel that the respondent has taken laudable steps to address the situation in which he found himself.”
Beside the suspension, the panel ordered Grewal to “not undertake” any residential real estate conveyances, to take courses and to pay $9,000 in costs.