A Nova Scotia attorney was found guilty of professional misconduct over the events that led to the collapse of his law firm.
However, a Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society disciplinary body found that the most serious charges against Adam Rodgers were unsupported.
Rodgers and Jason Boudrot were partners in the law firm Boudrot Rodgers until October 2018. Then Rodgers claimed he found out that his partner had stolen from clients’ escrow accounts.
The company reached an agreement with Boudrot in September 2019. Although he did not admit guilt, he agreed to be expelled. The RCMP has opened a criminal investigation into Boudrot’s activities, but no charges have been brought.
Panel publishes decision
Society accused Rodgers of professional incompetence and misconduct, saying he should have realized what his partner was doing sooner and stopped it. The two sides quarreled in October last year in front of a three-person committee. The panel announced its decision on Tuesday.
“The board is satisfied that Mr. Rodgers has neither intentionally nor actively misused funds or supported Mr. Boudrot,” the decision said in part.
“The panel is pleased that the company has shown that it is likely that Adam Rodgers assisted Jason Boudrot through his willful blindness and recklessness and thereby failed to preserve and protect customer property.”
“My conscience was always clear”
Rodgers previously said he expected to be exonerated by the jury and said he was a victim of his former partner’s “selfish, thoughtless ambition”.
On Tuesday, the Port Hawkesbury attorney said he was pleased to be released from the misappropriation of funds.
“My conscience was always clear, but it was still satisfying to see it confirmed by the panel,” he said. “That I didn’t take anything away from anyone and that I did a good job as a lawyer for my clients and that I handled the crisis caused by my previous partner appropriately.”
Rodgers said he had no contact with his former partner.
The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society reached an agreement with Jason Boudrot in September 2019. He admitted no guilt but agreed to be disfellowshipped. (Law firm Boudrot Rodgers / YouTube)
A forensic review ordered by the Company found that Boudrot was withdrawing money from escrow accounts without authorization.
“Some may say that Adam Rodgers was naive and a betrayed or ignorant accomplice for Jason Boudrot; others might say Adam Rodgers was a victim of Jason Boudrot,” the panel wrote.
The panel must meet within 60 days to determine what penalty Rodgers faces. He said he didn’t expect anything as severe as a lockdown.
Rodgers is practicing alone now. The loss of funds and the ensuing controversy forced his former company to go bankrupt. He is representing members of Lionel Desmond’s family in investigating why the former soldier killed his family and himself.
That investigation will resume public hearings next month, and Rodgers said it is currently taking up most of his time.