Nova Scotia

N.S. lawyer accused of misconduct was victim of ex-law partner, panel hears

A Nova Scotia lawyer accused of professional misconduct described himself as a victim of his former law partner Tuesday at a disciplinary hearing into his actions. Adam Rodgers said he doesn't understand why he's the subject of the hearing by the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society.

Adam Rodgers blames former partner's 'selfish, thoughtless ambition'

Adam Rodgers is alleged to have breached provisions of the Code of Professional Conduct and the Legal Profession Act. (Brett Ruskin/CBC)

A Nova Scotia lawyer accused of professional misconduct described himself as a victim of his former law partner Tuesday as a disciplinary hearing into his actions wrapped up.

Adam Rodgers of Port Hawkesbury made the comments on the second and final day of the hearing by the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society. 

"I still do not quite understand why I am here," Rodgers told the three-member disciplinary hearing panel, which reserved its decision. 

Rodgers is alleged to have breached provisions of the Code of Professional Conduct and the Legal Profession Act. He's accused of professional misconduct and professional incompetence for failing to report the alleged activities of Jason Boudrot.

The two men headed the law firm Boudrot Rodgers until October 2018. That's when Rodgers alleged he discovered his partner was stealing from clients' trust accounts.

In his arguments to the disciplinary hearing, Rodgers said he was a victim of the "selfish, thoughtless ambition of our managing partner."

Rodgers accused of ignoring signs

But the lawyer for the society argued there were plenty of warning signs and accused Rodgers of being willfully blind to Boudrot's alleged actions.

The society reached a settlement agreement with Boudrot in September 2019. While he did not admit guilt, he agreed to be disbarred.

A forensic audit was completed on Boudrot Rodgers, but the findings are being kept confidential as part of the settlement agreement. It has not been shared with police — something Rodgers has also questioned.

Thilairani Pillay, executive director of the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society, confirmed Tuesday the society has not forwarded a complaint about Boudrot to the RCMP.

She said confidential information about the law firm's clients contained in the audit has to be protected.

Boudrot given ultimatum

Rodgers told the hearing that once an associate pointed out what Boudrot had allegedly done, the two lawyers confronted Boudrot.

Rodgers said he did not immediately report Boudrot to the society because the meeting was on a Friday and he worried about what the weekend would do to Boudrot's mental health.

Instead, Rodgers said he waited until Monday when he gave Boudrot an ultimatum. Rodgers said his former partner called the society himself.

"And that was the last time I've ever laid eyes on him," Rodgers said.

Rodgers said clients have been reimbursed for their losses. He said he has been forced into personal bankruptcy after he put some of his own money into the firm to try to keep it afloat.

Ultimately, the losses proved too great and the firm shut down. Rodgers is now practising by himself in the Port Hawkesbury area.

The disciplinary panel said it would try to deliver a decision on the complaints against Rodgers by the end of November.

 

 

About the Author

Blair Rhodes

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Blair Rhodes has been a journalist for more than 35 years, the last 27 with CBC. His primary focus is on stories of crime and public safety. He can be reached at blair.rhodes@cbc.ca

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