Paul L. Caron

Monday, November 27, 2023

Former Law School Dean Faces Disbarment For Allegedly Misspending $500,000 From Endowment Intended For Students

CBC, Former Manitoba Law School Dean Can't Be Trusted as Lawyer and Should Be Disbarred, Law Society Lawyer Says:

Black-BranchA lawyer representing the Law Society of Manitoba argues the former head of the University of Manitoba's law school can't be trusted as a lawyer and should be disbarred based on numerous allegations he misspent or misused hundreds of thousands of dollars from the university.

In his closing arguments to a law society disciplinary panel on Thursday, Rocky Kravetsky, a lawyer representing the society, broke down the list of accusations against the former dean, Jonathan Black-Branch — including nearly $500,000 he allegedly misspent on professional development from a U of M endowment meant for students.

"These are serious, serious breaches," Kravetsky told the panel of the law society at Black-Branch's professional misconduct hearing in Winnipeg.

"The likelihood is we would be seeking disbarment.… Jonathan Black-Branch is simply not a person that can be trusted to be a lawyer.… He does not demonstrate the integrity that lawyers are required to."

The professional misconduct hearing has focused on alleged integrity breaches in Black-Branch's expense claims, ranging from meals at a pricey private Winnipeg club, to accommodation, travel, education expenses and more. ...

The law society panel is mulling next steps. Black-Branch faces the possibility of a reprimand, suspension or disbarment. "This is a case of persistent and pervasive failure of integrity," Kravetsky said.

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