My conviction in absentia was based upon the written and oral testimony of two Toronto lawyers who swore that, during a conference call with them, I had confirmed that I had received a copy of a certain court order. Their sworn evidence also assured the court that they had served the order upon me in Ontario via courier. The courier company however, stated that they had never received the court order from the lawyers, and no shipping documents, signature receipt, or tracking number have ever been produced by the lawyers.
In fact, I had not received the court order, and stated this many times clearly during the conference call as a forensically certified recording proved. Instead I asked, many times, for the lawyers to please send me a copy. Looking for representation I returned to Canada and hoped to put the recording of the conference call and other evidence before the court. I knew that I would face prison time for contempt if I were unsuccessful.
So I searched for a lawyer to represent me. Many of the young lawyers I approached were sympathetic and forthright, even admitting that they were ashamed to have to turn me down.
They explained that they dared not take my case because they feared the professional and social sanctions that would certainly result. Some cited conflicts of interest involving past colleagues and law firms, while others explained that they regularly receive work from the large Bay Street firms, and could not afford to jeopardize that source of business. Best, the lawyers lied to the judge to convict you, but our firm simply does not handle this type of case. Trying to defend myself Since no lawyer would represent me at any price, I was forced to represent myself.
The judge the same judge who presided over the original hearing would not listen to the conference call recording or consider any other fresh evidence that proved that I had never received the court order, and that for the lawyers to claim otherwise was perjury.
The judge sent me to prison. It was while I was in prison that I finally found and retained a lawyer willing to appeal my conviction. My appeal: finally represented by a lawyer I shall never forget this moment. You must also identify whether your employee payroll payments are currently being made. Your payments are considered to be current if you have not made the final monthly or quarterly payment prior to the end of your designated filing date. It is required that a system be implemented and the relevant information be kept in the client file itself.
Accounting software If your law firm uses accounting software for recording trust and general transactions identify the software and related version. The version you have can be determined from the drop down Help menu under About. Accounting software conversion If you converted from a manual accounting system to computer accounting software, or even changed accounting software during the reported period, please answer yes.
This question applies to the recording of trust and general transactions. Area of practice Please complete to the best of your ability the areas of law practiced by the law firm. Typically this would be done using the number of client files handled by the law firm and please round to the nearest whole number.
If completing this section using the online form, the total should be automatically calculated. May Page 3 of 16 4 6. Personal representatives Rule 1 defines the situations where a lawyer is acting in a representative capacity. This also includes family trusts where the funds are held outside of the law firm trust bank accounts. Loans from clients The Code of Professional Conduct permits lawyers to enter into business transactions with clients, which includes lending or borrowing money.
Also include loans made to companies controlled by lawyers in the firm. Control can be defined as voting control or de facto control over the decisions made by the company. Note: the Code does not intend to prevent lawyers from acting as a regular customer of the client when the client is a lending institution. Loans to clients The Code of Professional Conduct permits lawyers to enter into business transactions with clients, which includes lending or borrowing money.
Also include loans made by companies controlled by lawyers in the firm. Mortgage or investment collections Please answer yes if the law firm collects recurring or regular amounts on behalf of a client such as monthly rental, interest or mortgage receipts.
Do not include collections on mortgage arrears as they are not typically recurring collections over an extended period of time. Listing of general bank accounts List all of the general bank accounts including the details such as account number, location, name on account, etc.
This would also include any separate payroll, GST or other accounts that may not be specifically in the name of the law firm. For example, a law firm may establish a management company that holds the lease and pays the staffing costs.
Please list these on the schedule as this account and the related expenses pertain to the law firm. Receive trust money in general Please answer yes if the law firm general bank account received and disbursed any trust money during the reporting period. This is not permitted under the Rules so please identify if this occurred. Please include any bank errors even where the trust funds were immediately returned to the trust bank account.
Use another law firm s trust bank account In some situations a law firm practicing without a trust bank account may receive trust funds. These funds must only be deposited into a trust bank account and it is acceptable to use the trust bank account of another law firm provided the transactions are fully recorded by the law firm that is handling the trust money and the client is aware of the arrangement. General accounting records This question is comprised of four subsections and refers to the specific requirements within the Part 5 Rules.
Some of the more detailed requirements include: a General Journal rule 4 e This journal requires the recording of every transaction that is processed through the general bank account s with the exception of bank clearing errors that are corrected by the bank.
As part of the recording process you need to identify the source of the funds and the form the money was received in such as cash, cheque, direct deposit, etc.
When recording the payee, you need to record the full and proper name. If funds are receipted such as for cash, please record that receipt number or if by electronic transfer, bank confirmation number, which is usually 14 to 18 digits.
Lastly, a continual running balance must be maintained, not just at month end. This ledger is required to record the billings rendered to the client, the payments on those billings and the balance owing to the law firm. There should never be instances where the law firm owes money to the client on these ledgers. Maintain source documents May Page 5 of 16 6 In addition to recording the general transactions in the required journals and ledgers, the law firm must retain the source documents that support the transactions.
Typically the negotiated cheques are in the form of cheque images both front and back of the cheque images must be printed and maintained. Endorsing general cheques It is not permissible to sign over to a third party a cheque that the law firm receives that should have been deposited into the law firm general bank account.
If a mistake is made on the payee, either return the cheque or deposit the cheque into the general bank account and then issue a general cheque to the proper payee.
Reconcile general monthly It is now a requirement under rule that all general bank accounts of the law firm be reconciled each and every month by the following month-end. This entails reconciling the bank balance of the general account s to the running balance at month end of the general journal. General cheques not honoured Please answer yes to any instances in the reporting period where the law firm issued a general cheque or other type of payment that could not be negotiated by the recipient due to insufficient funds in the general bank account.
Receive cash trust or general It is permissible for law firms to receive cash for deposit into the general or trust accounts. The exempted purposes are listed under rule 5 a to d and receiving cash for fees and disbursement is one of the permitted exceptions. Separate receipt book for cash As per rule 1 a separate duplicate receipt book is required for recording all cash transactions received.
This receipt book must not contain any non-cash receipts and you need not maintain separate receipt books for trust and general cash receipts. However, if trust and general cash receipts are May Page 6 of 16 7 combined, then you must ensure that there is a clear distinction as to which account the cash receipt was deposited into.
The receipt book can be computer generated provided the receipts are signed by the appropriate parties, a copy is given to the party bringing the cash and all receipts are filed together. Please refer to rule 5 d. Bill rendered for work performed Funds received from a client of the law firm cannot be deposited into the general bank account unless a statement of account has been rendered. Additionally the legal services on the statement of account had to have been performed.
It is not acceptable to bill for future services. There might be instances of where client funds received do not pertain to legal services and do not require a statement of account e. Please contact the Trust Safety department if you are in doubt about a transaction. If there are negative accounts receivable balances, these must be investigated and corrected immediately. To ensure appropriate action is taken, a hard copy should be printed and retained.
Fees earned deposited into the general bank account All fees earned by a law firm must be deposited into the law firm general bank account. It is not permissible to deposit the funds into a personal or other bank account of the lawyer even though the funds may eventually be paid into those accounts. Reliance on one client Some law firms may have a significant portion of their law practice dedicated to one client or one client group.
Trust bank accounts List all of the trust bank accounts including the details such as account number, physical location, name on account, etc.
This would also include all pooled trust accounts and any separate interest-bearing accounts. Pooled trust accounts are those which co-mingle client funds and have also been referred to as mixed or operating trust accounts.
For law firm pooled trust accounts, this coverage extends to each client of the law firm provided the law firm remits annually to its financial institution proof that they are acting as a trustee.
Proof consists of submitting a client trust listing file numbers and amounts only, no client names as at April 30 by May 31 to each financial institution where they operate a trust bank account. Retention of books and records Rule 1 requires a law firm to maintain the most recent 2 years of financial records at its principal place of practice in Alberta. For example a law firm with a December 31, year end would maintain its and records on-site. Posting of trust transactions To ensure that trust transactions are posted as they occur, it is important that the law firm formally assigns the posting function to specific individuals.
If too many individuals have posting duties it is difficult to determine where posting problems occurred. Trust accounting records This question is comprised of four subsections and refers to the specific requirements within the Part 5 Rules. Some of the more detailed requirements include: a Trust Journal rule 4 a May Page 8 of 16 9 This journal requires the recording of every transaction that is processed through the trust bank account with the exception of bank clearing errors that are corrected by the bank.
If funds are receipted such as for cash, please record that receipt number or if electronically, then record the bank confirmation number. For transfers of funds between client files or different client matters you need to record both the file name and file number for both the source and destination of the funds.
You cannot combine multiple client matters onto one trust ledger card. To ensure that each client matter is separately recorded, the trust ledger must show the client name, matter description and file number. Additionally, for each withdrawal and receipt you must include a brief description of the transaction.
It is not sufficient to state paid as per client direction, as withdrawals and receipts must relate to the legal matter the firm is acting upon. In a manual system it is acceptable to keep copies of the transfer authorization documents as your journal provided they are all maintained together, in date order and represent a complete file of all transfers.
This journal does not apply to transfers between trust bank accounts on the same file nor from the pooled trust accounts to the general account for fees and disbursements. Pooled trust bank accounts Please check all of those queries that apply to your circumstances.
Typically the negotiated cheques are in the form of cheque images both front and back of the cheque images must be printed. Separate interest-bearing trust bank accounts Please check all of those queries that apply to your circumstances. Please note that stocks, bonds, mutual funds are NOT acceptable forms of investment for client trust funds held in the name of the law firm for the client.
Interest on separate interest-bearing accounts May Page 9 of 16 10 Interest earned on the client separate interest-bearing accounts must be recorded in the month that the law firm was advised of the amount earned. It is not necessary to calculate an accrued interest amount such as posting interest each month on a one year interest bearing investment if the interest is only paid upon maturity. Payments made from separate interest-bearing accounts Withdrawals from a separate interest-bearing trust account must be transferred firstly to a pooled trust account and then can be disbursed to the appropriate party.
Source documents Please check all of those queries that apply to your circumstances. Typically the negotiated cheques are in the form of cheque images both front and back of the cheque images must be maintained.
These funds can be used to offset trust shortages, bank service charges, etc. These law firm trust funds would be in addition to any legal transactions that lawyers within a law firm would use the trust account for. For the latter transactions, the funds must be paid out when the transaction has been completed and cannot remain in the trust bank account and used as the lawyer sees fit. Depositing of trust funds As per rule 1 trust funds are to be deposited no later than the next banking day of receipt.
This means that trust funds received on a Monday must be deposited no later than the end of Tuesday providing there is no banking holiday. However, depositing trust funds the same day as they were received is strongly recommended and in any event, trust withdrawals relating to those trust funds cannot be made until the funds have been deposited.
Additionally the legal services on the statement of account had to have been performed. She remembers telling him, "It doesn't matter if we lose everything and we're on the street.
Source documents Please check all of those queries that apply to your circumstances. They had been together just over a year at the time. You don't have to. She was 22, barely older than his daughters from his first marriage.