Another Edmonton lawyer resigns for helping disbarred ex-defence counsel Shawn Beaver

Lintz admitted to helping Beaver surreptitiously practise law between 2015 and 2020, including after Beaver’s 2017 disbarment for misappropriating client trust funds

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Another Edmonton lawyer has been drummed out of the profession for helping disgraced defence counsel Shawn Beaver practise law while disbarred.

The Law Society of Alberta accepted the resignation of Greg Lintz last month, finding the 67-year-old retired lawyer should be allowed to quit rather than face a disciplinary hearing.

Lintz admitted to helping Beaver surreptitiously practise law between 2015 and 2020, including after Beaver’s 2017 disbarment for misappropriating client trust funds.

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He granted Beaver use of his firm’s resources, including his legal assistant, which allowed Beaver to provide legal services to nine clients over the five-year span.

Lintz is the latest person to lose their legal career for helping Beaver, who was later sentenced to 90 days in jail for continuing to practise law on the sly. Including Beaver himself, Lintz is the third lawyer to resign or be disbarred. Another, Geoffrey Green, was suspended from practising law for one year.

Beaver was once a sought-after defence lawyer and well-liked law professor at the University of Alberta.

He was suspended in 2015 pending a law society probe, which eventually issued 12 citations under the Legal Profession Act related to a $180,000 shortfall in Beaver’s client trust account. He was found guilty of seven of the violations and disbarred, with the hearing tribunal concluding Beaver used the money “in order to finance his personal spending habits and the financial obligations of his practice.”

Beaver was later charged with civil contempt for continuing to secretly practise law in breach of court orders. In 2021, then-Court of King’s Bench Associate Chief Justice John Rooke sentenced him to a year in jail, finding Beaver had used a junior lawyer as a “false front.”

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Shawn Beaver
A 2003 file photo of then-defence lawyer Shawn Beaver. Photo by John Lucas /Edmonton Journal

The junior lawyer, Chipo Florence Jura, eventually resigned and was disbarred. Beaver’s sentence was reduced to 90 days on appeal.

Lintz was called to the Alberta bar in 1981 and was a partner with Purdon Lintz. His arrangement with Beaver began in 2015.

“This included allowing Mr. Beaver to … prepare arguments, pleadings and legal briefs, meet with clients and provide legal advice and opinions, take instructions from clients, review disclosure and other client documents, and script emails and letters to other counsel with the intent that Mr. Lintz’s name be inserted,” the law society decision states.

Lintz did not pay Mr. Beaver directly, but also made “no effort to inquire as to what Mr. Beaver’s arrangements were with the clients,” the law society said. All nine clients appeared to have been aware of Lintz and Beaver’s arrangement. Beaver referred to the clients to Lintz, who “facilitated Mr. Beaver retaining some significant involvement in the files.”

The law society contacted Lintz in December 2020. He ended his arrangement with Beaver and cooperated with the investigation. By the time a hearing was scheduled in 2023, Lintz was retired and dealing with medical issues and opted to resign rather than face a tribunal.

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In Alberta, lawyers cannot unilaterally leave the profession and must undergo a law society hearing to ensure their practice is properly dissolved.

The law society tribunal ultimately allowed Lintz to resign, rather than go through another process for lawyers who attempt to quit in the face of serious, unresolved misconduct charges, which would have seen him classified as a “deemed disbarment.” The hearing took place May 10.

Lintz also signed a legal undertaking agreeing not to apply for readmission to the law society. If he does reapply, he will be required to pay over $22,000 in costs for the Beaver-related proceedings.

Lintz’s lawyer, Walter Raponi, did not respond to a request for comment.

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