Former lawyer William James Heflin suspended for six months

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By Law Society of British Columbia

Former lawyer William James Heflin has been suspended for six months and ordered to pay $4,348 in costs after committing professional misconduct by sexually harassing a client.

A Law Society Tribunal hearing panel found that Heflin committed professional misconduct when he sexually harassed his client at the Victoria courthouse. Heflin was representing his client in a family law matter and conducted himself in a wholly inappropriate manner.

Heflin admitted that he had his client sign a Notice of Intention to Act in Person with the intent to start a sexual relationship with her, inappropriately touched her and kissed her without her consent.

The hearing panel found that Heflin’s conduct detrimentally affected his client, who experienced mental health issues following the harassment. Heflin was in a fiduciary relationship with his client and his conduct of sexual harassment was serious and a breach of trust.

Heflin is a former member of the Law Society and is not currently seeking reinstatement. In the event Heflin does reapply for reinstatement and his application is granted, the suspension will begin following reinstatement.

A summary of the full decision can be read here.

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The Law Society of British Columbia ensures the public is well served by legal professionals who are honourable and competent. We regulate the legal profession in BC, protecting the public interest in the administration of justice by setting and enforcing standards of professional conduct for lawyers. We also bring a voice to issues affecting the justice system and the delivery of legal services.