Lawyer resigns over accusations he treated residential school clients 'like cattle'

A Calgary lawyer was condemned and sanctioned by his peers today, described as treating his First Nation clients "like cattle."

David Blott and his firm accused of inadequately representing thousands of clients

Ernie Black Rabbit never received a settlement despite spending a decade in a residential school. (CBC)

The Law Society of Alberta says a Calgary lawyer revictimized his aboriginal clients and treated them like cattle.

David Blott was representing about 4,600 people who were applying for compensation for the residential school settlement program.

Today, those former clients applauded the decision to see Blott stripped of his right to practice law in Alberta.

Blott offered up his resignation to the law society, avoiding a lengthy disciplinary hearing.

Clients like Ernie Black Rabbit of the Blood Reserve say they never had a fair shot at compensation for years spent in residential schools.

"I applied but I didn't get, what got me now is younger kids — way younger than me — they had quite a bit of money and they mentioned someone here got $180,000 — I didn't get any," said Black Rabbit.

“I would really like him to help me like everybody else."

Blott and his firm are accused of taking on thousands of clients and not properly serving them. The clients were described as treated "like cattle" on "an assembly line."

Black Rabbit says he never spoke to a lawyer and never approved the application form submitted by Blott's law firm.

He was denied compensation, despite 10 years in a residential school.

A disappointment, since some settlements were as high as a quarter million dollars.

Connie Calling Last did receive an award, but says she took home less than half of it.

"Look what happened, who is rich? Him. I'm not rich, I'm still poor out of what he did."

Class-action lawsuit

Blott still faces a class-action lawsuit, which will be led by Erin Ippolito, a lawyer.

"The Canadian residential school system was a terrible situation and the trauma that it inflicted on the clients was re-lived and Mr. Blott abused those clients and re-traumatized them," said Ippolito.

The law society panel recommended the attorney general investigate.

With files from Kyle Bakx/CBC