Greg Brodsky , Defence lawyer seen in a file photo breached professional stands He’s made a name for himself nationally as one of Canada’s top criminal defence lawyers.
But when Greg Brodsky ran into charges that he’d breached professional standards as a lawyer, all he could do was enter a guilty plea. Brodsky must pay $39,000 in fines and costs after admitting he mishandled a former client’s account. It marks the first time Brodsky has been called on the carpet by the Law Society of Manitoba during a 46-year career that has seen him defend more than 600 alleged killers, which is believed to be a North American record.
Brodsky, a former Chairman of the law society’s Ethics and Judicial Committees, appeared before a panel of three lawyers last month on two charges: breaching the code of professional conduct by failing to act with integrity and receiving payment for legal services without accounting for such payment to his law firm; and breaching the law society’s accounting rules by failing to deposit a retainer to a pooled trust account.
The law society and a lawyer acting on behalf of Brodsky made a joint recommendation for the $20,000 fine and the $19,000 cost of the investigation, prosecution and hearing of the case. “The panel considered the lengthy practice history of the member and his contribution to the profession and the community and accepted the joint recommendation,” the decision reads. The law society has several available sanctions for lawyers found guilty of misconduct, ranging from a reprimand and a fine to a suspension or disbarment.
An online search of other disciplinary notices over the past several years reveals Brodsky’s fine is one of the largest handed down. “It is a substantial fine,” Darcia Senft, counsel with the law society, told the Free Press on Monday. She said the sanction will be on Brodsky’s permanent record. Brodsky declined to comment when reached by the Free Press Monday.
According to a summary of agreed facts, Brodsky was hired in December 2005 to defend a man facing unspecified criminal charges. The accused wrote a cheque in the amount of $5,000, which was made payable to Brodsky’s law firm of Brodsky & Company. Another $5,000 cheque was written to the firm in March 2006.
The $10,000 retainer was based on expected services that had not yet been rendered. Both cheques were deposited in the pooled trust account of his firm, as required. In August 2006, Brodsky phoned his client requesting an additional $10,000.
This time, Brodsky told the man to write the cheque to him personally, rather than to his firm. Brodsky then deposited the cheque into his own personal bank account. On December. 4, 2006, Brodsky’s firm rendered a statement of account to the client that showed a credit for a trust transfer in the amount of $10,000 made up of the two separate $5,000 cheques paid to him previously. However, the statement did not make any reference to the $10,000 paid to him personally.
The client immediately filed a complaint with the law society and Brodsky agreed to refund the $10,000 at the centre of the dispute. No explanation for the incident has been provided in the disciplinary summary. “The panel found Mr.
Brodsky guilty of professional misconduct based on his admission to the charges,” the decision reads. Brodsky graduated in 1963 from the University of Manitoba’s law program. He received his master’s of law in 1965.
He was called to the Ontario bar in 1971 and to the Saskatchewan bar in 1977. Brodsky was appointed to Queen’s Counsel in 1976 as a senior partner at Walsh Micay. Brodsky has made headlines across Canada for his role in several precedent-setting cases that created the so-called battered wife defence and modernized the not-criminally-responsible defence.