A Nova Scotia law firm is shutting its doors as a result of the debt it has discovered in the wake of a scandal that saw a former partner, the former president of the N.S. Liberal Party, allegedly admit to misappropriating funds from clients’ accounts.
Adam Rodgers confirmed that the Port Hawkesbury-based Rodgers Law Group — formerly known as Boudrot Rodgers Law Inc. — will be closing its door after he discovered the firm was $1.5 million in debt.
“That part was not altogether unknown to me, but the details of payment terms and overall financial health of the firm was something I only discovered after taking on the management role in the past month,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers’ former partner, Jason Boudrout, was suspended from practising law in the province by the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society on Oct. 31. He was also removed from his role as managing partner Boudrot Rodgers Law Inc., with the firm being renamed Rodgers Law Group.
A day before, on Oct. 30, it was announced that Boudrot resigned as president of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party. The party’s board accepted Boudrot’s resignation, “citing personal reasons.”
Rodgers says 15 staff members have been given layoff notices, although he said expects that some may join the seven lawyers who were working at the firm.
“The lawyers are each working on plans for where they will practice next, and I expect each of them will do so successfully,” he said.
The new managing partner at the firm says he plans to continue practising law in the Strait Area.
“I came back to my home area to practice law so that I could help as many people as I can in this part of Nova Scotia have access to a high quality of justice, and I am still determined to do that,” said Rodgers.
He says that the firm’s clients can choose whether to remain with their current lawyers.
An investigation into Boudrot is underway, although the Nova Scotia Barristers Society has said they are not able to provide any details about the ongoing investigation. They say under the Legal Profession Act, the complaints process is confidential.
The executive director of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party, Mike Mercer, had previously told Global News that he was unaware Boudrot’s law license had been suspended until Oct. 31.
Mercer said that when Boudrot offered his resignation on Oct. 30, he said it was “nothing party-related.”
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On Nov. 1, the premier told reporters the news is concerning, but the party is not concerned about its own finances.
“There would be no involvement in terms of the party,” Stephen McNeil said. “He did not have any signing authority or access to the party (finances).”
Boudrot was elected party president at the most recent annual general meeting on Oct. 13. Before that, he served as vice-president for eight years.
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