BARE BONES BRIEFS: Grossly inadequate: two-month practice suspension for Jeremy Magence; | Panama Papers lawyer acquitted of money laundering | The “most American solution ever” | Lawyer addicted to pooping in Pringles can | Barrister attacks fashion designer for taking empty seat at opera

By Julius Melnitzer | July 4, 2024


On June 27, the Law Society Tribunal Hearing Division suspended Jeremy Magence of Toronto personal injury firm Bergel Magence LLP for two months and ordered him to pay $5,000 in costs. The panel found that he engaged in misleading advertising by allowing paralegals Joyann Oliver and Rathiga Velalagan of JNR Legal Services Professional Corporation to display his profile and biography while failing to disclose more than $250,000 in referral fees he paid them. The Tribunal also found that Magence failed to keep required records in relation to those fees; failed to prevent the unauthorized provision of legal services by JNR; and acted for clients represented by another lawyer.

Here’s the problem: If Magence paid $250,000 in referral fees, how much in revenue and profit did the files referred generate for him and his firm? You can bet it was probably several multiples of $250,000. Does a two month suspension cover the profits associated with the referral? Very likely not, especially because Magence has a firm behind him that can cover for him while he’s gone. So how does the penalty deter similar conduct? Beats me.

RELATED ARTICLE: LSO goes after Jeremy Magence for $250K in undisclosed referral fees


Practice Source reports that a Panamanian judge has acquitted 28 individuals accused of money laundering in the Panama Papers case, including Jürgen Mossack, co-founder of Mossack & Fonseca, the law firm at the centre of the international money laundering and offshore tax evasion scandal. The judge ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove that the allegedly incriminating documents complied with chain of custody rules. The remaining evidence, he found, “was not sufficient and conclusive to determine the criminal responsibility of the accused”.

RELATED ARTICLE: Named in the Pandora Papers? Now what?


In 1881, in what Practice Source calls “The Most American Solution Ever”, an enterprising Texas resident, James Williams, obtained a patent aimed at fighting pest problems. He called his invention an “animal trap”, which was clearly an understatement: the invention consisted of a wodden frame holding a pistol, with a lever extending from the front that set off the gun when any burrowing creature stepped on it.

RELATED ARTICLE: Lemon lawsuit a lemon


Jack Blakeslee, an Ohio lawyer, got a one-year license suspension after he was convicted of disorderly conduct for defecating into a Princles can and throwing it into the parking lot of a victims advocacy center on his way to court. According to Practice Source, Blakeslee was somehow addicted to this form of excretion, having done his business similarly on about 10 other occasions and throwing the lot away indiscriminately. Fortunately for Blakeslee, he proved to be a man of resolve and had his suspension reduced to six months when he was able to prove that he had been “clean”, so to speak, for six months following his sentence.

RELATED ARTICLE:  LST sanctions counsel for uncivil conduct 

When fashion designer Ulrich Engler, attending the opera, tried to sit down in an empty seat for which he had not paid and in which UK lawyer Matthew Feargrieve’s wife had placed her coat, the enraged barrister, Practice Source reports, attacked him. Feargrieve was convicted of common assault. Almost five years later, the Bar disciplinary tribunal suspended his license for 12 months. Adding insult to injury, it turned out that Feargrieve had disclocated his own shoulder during the attack.

RELATED ARTICLE: Lawyer forgives client who stabbed him in court

Julius Melnitzer is a Toronto-based legal affairs writer, ghostwriter, writing coach and media trainer. Readers can reach him at [email protected] or

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