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David Schaefer

David L. Schaefer Law Corporation | Vernon, British Columbia, Canada

A lawyer since 1997


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Current Status:
Not Practicing Law
Practice Areas:
Firm Name:
David L. Schaefer Law Corporation
2901 32 Street, Vernon, British Columbia, Canada V1T 5M2
More Information:

A legal practitioner in BC has expressed profound regret following his accidental withdrawal of approximately $9,000 from the bank account of an elderly couple. This incident occurred while the lawyer, David Leslie Schaeffer, was entrusted with the role of their power of attorney. The couple, identified only as “DE” and “AE,” were aged 88 and 95 respectively at the time, and both were grappling with cognitive challenges.

Schaeffer, who operates his legal practice in Vernon, will face a suspension commencing on March 1 for a duration of one month. This disciplinary action comes after a Law Society of BC hearing panel concluded that Schaeffer had engaged in professional misconduct.

The panel noted that Schaeffer’s actions significantly eroded public confidence in the legal profession. The Law Society of BC emphasized the detrimental impact of such conduct on the perception of lawyers by the general public.

Schaeffer's appointment as power of attorney for the couple occurred in October 2018. Subsequent to this, in May 2020, he dissolved his partnership at a law firm and continued his practice independently.

Investigators from the Law Society initiated an inquiry into Schaeffer's actions following concerns raised by his former law partner. The investigation centered on over $11,000 worth of withdrawals from the couple's bank account, a process facilitated by Schaeffer, who possessed the debit card linked to this account.

According to the findings of the panel, detailed in their decision dated January 22, Schaeffer mistakenly believed he was accessing his own funds during these transactions. At that time, Schaeffer also had a business Visa credit card issued by the same bank, and both the credit and debit cards shared similar physical characteristics and required identical PIN codes.

Schaeffer explained to the society that the confusion arose from the similarity between his personal banking cards and those of his clients, which he kept together in his wallet.

Furthermore, the panel highlighted concerns regarding Schaeffer's record-keeping for the account. Between January 3, 2019, and April 14, 2020, Schaeffer made 33 separate withdrawals totaling $9,903 from the couple’s accounts. However, he only maintained receipts for withdrawals amounting to around $1,000.

The Law Society's code of conduct mandates that lawyers must distinctly label and safely store clients’ property, separating it from their own. While Schaeffer did not concede to violating this specific code, he did acknowledge using the funds for personal purposes on nine occasions inadvertently.

The panel acknowledged Schaeffer's admission of misconduct and his cooperative stance during the hearing as mitigating factors. Additionally, Schaeffer proactively completed courses in legal accounting and training on representing clients with dementia, demonstrating his commitment to rectifying his mistakes and improving his professional conduct.


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