When Rick Downs of Sturgis went to the Peet Law Firm in Preeceville on Monday, Dec. 22, the sign on the door looked quite normal, showing “Christmas Hours” that suggested the office was closed for holidays.
Peet Law Firm in Preeceville is “closed for the holidays.”
However, when he visited the Saskatchewan Law Society website an hour later, the news article there told a different story, informing visitors that lawyer Russell Milton Peet had been suspended from practising law for 30 days.
The “Christmas Hours” dates Downs saw posted at Peet Law Firm exactly correspond with the business days the Law Society’s suspension covers: Dec. 22, 2014, to Jan. 19, 2015.
Information posted on the Law Society website, www.LawSociety.SK.ca , indicates that “Russell Peet was found guilty of conduct unbecoming a lawyer by a Hearing Committee of the Law Society of Saskatchewan.”
It also indicates that “The Discipline Committee of the Law Society then ordered that Mr. Peet be suspended for 30 days and that he pay costs in the amount of $16,216.80.”
Full details on the complaint against Mr. Peet and his suspension can be found online at www.lawsociety.sk.ca/media/95194/peet2014skca109.pdf.
The mission statement of the Law Society is “To govern legal profession by upholding high standards of competence and integrity; ensuring the independence of the profession; advancing the administration of justice, the profession and the rule of law; all in the public interest.”
People who have problems with their lawyers, or who do not feel they have been properly served by their lawyer, can file a complaint with the Law Society. Their concerns will be addressed free of charge.
The complaint for which Mr. Peet is now suspended stems from work he did for Kelvington-area clients between 2007 and 2009.
However, this is not Mr. Peet’s first rodeo. The only question amongst local folks is whether this is his second, third, or fourth suspension, with only the Law Society knowing for sure.
Rick Downs was at Peet Law Firm on Dec. 22 to address concerns he had regarding Mr. Peet’s handling of builder’s lien holdback money for a project he is currently working on.
Due to the excessive “Christmas Hours” and his ongoing problems, Downs went to the Law Society website for contact information. There he saw the news article regarding Mr. Peet’s suspension and decided he had to call.
According to Downs, “When I told them (the Law Society) I was calling about Russell Peet they were very helpful, and encouraged me to file a formal complaint. Within a couple of hours, they emailed me all the information I needed.
“I also brought up the ‘Christmas Hours’ sign on Mr. Peet’s office door, as I felt there is a big difference between going on holidays for a month and being suspended from the practice of law for 30 days.
“I told them I thought lawyers were supposed to be honest and transparent!”
The Saskatchewan Law Society Administration is the first point of contact for filing a complaint against a lawyer. They are located in Regina and may be reached by phoning 306-569-8242.
People who feel they have not been properly treated by their lawyer may file a complaint themselves, or elect to have a lawyer or other non-lawyer third party do it on their behalf.
According to Law Society information, the legal contact for Russell Peet during his suspension is Stephaniuk Law Office in Yorkton.