A former Kelowna lawyer, who wrote himself into a client’s will, won’t be practicing law again for at least seven years.
The Law Society of British Columbia says it has accepted admissions of professional misconduct by former lawyer Christopher Roy Penty, and has allowed him to resign from membership in the society in the face of discipline, effective Sept. 28.
In an agreed statement of facts, Penty admitted to four allegations of professional misconduct, including preparing a last will and testament and naming himself as a beneficiary, acting in a conflict of interest, failing to comply with his client’s instructions to donate his share of the residual estate funds to charities by withdrawing and using some or all of those funds for his own personal use and making misrepresentations to the court.
In resolving the disciplinary proceedings, the society required Penty to agree not to apply for reinstatement for a period of seven years, in order to, in its words, “protect the public interest.”
If Penty applies for reinstatement after seven years, the society says he will have to satisfy a credentials hearing panel that he is “of good character” and fit to practice law. If reinstated, would will also have to comply with whatever conditions or limitations on his practice that may be imposed.
The law society sets standards of professional responsibility for B.C. lawyers and articled students, and upholds those standards through a complaints and discipline process. The standards and processes are important to maintain public confidence and trust in lawyers, says the society.
In addition, the society also upholds and protects the public interest in the administration of justice by ensuring the independence, integrity and competence of lawyers, establishing education and professional development standards for lawyers, regulating the practice of law and preserving and protecting the rights and freedoms of all persons.