Winnipeg lawyer Barry Gorlick disbarred

Barry Gorlick admitted to 15 counts of misconduct including failure to serve a client and misappropriating funds.

'He chose to take someone else's money to meet his personal commitments,' states law society report

Winnipeg lawyer Barry Gorlick misappropriated a total of $59,129 of client trust money for his personal benefit, the law society report states. (Canadian Bar Association)

Winnipeg lawyer Barry Gorlick has been disbarred for professional misconduct.

The Law Society of Manitoba released a report this week saying he should no longer be allowed to practice law. Gorlick, who was called to the bar in 1980, was cited for incidents dating from 1994 until 2014.

"We find that Mr. Gorlick engaged in years of unethical conduct that culminated in deliberate acts of misappropriation," according to the report. "He chose to take someone else's money to meet his personal commitments."

During a panel hearing last fall, he pleaded guilty to 15 counts of misconduct, including failure to serve a client, failure to conduct himself in a courteous manner, breach of duty to act with integrity, and misappropriating client funds.

The latter includes the deliberate creation of false documents, as well as misleading his staff and partners. A total of $59,129 of client trust money was paid to his personal benefit, the report states.

The panel believes Gorlick is unlikely to repeat those actions, has greatly benefited from therapy, and that the public would be adequately protected if he was allowed to continue practicing under strict conditions.

If not for the misappropriation of funds, Gorlick would probably be facing a fine or suspension, according to the report from the panel. But the penalty for misappropriation — other than for exceptional circumstances — is disbarment.

"Of paramount consideration is the preservation of the public's trust in the integrity of the legal profession," the report concludes

Later Friday, it was learned the victim of an explosion at the Petersen King law offices on River Avenue was Gorlick's romantic partner, Maria Mitousis.

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