TALLAHASSEE — Canadian attorney Adam Seif faces suspension in Florida in a reciprocal discipline following a Nov. 15 Florida Supreme Court order following his suspension in Canada, according to a recent announcement by the Florida Bar.
"Seif's business relationship with a non-lawyer employee resulted in a six-month suspension for violating Rules of Professional Conduct of the Law Society of Upper Canada," the state bar said in its Nov. 30 announcement of the discipline and the Supreme Court's order. "This is a reciprocal discipline action, based on an employee's misconduct while at Seif's firm, and his failure to supervise."
In that matter, Seif was alleged to have employed a man who claimed to have a Florida law degree and qualified in immigration matters, the state bar said.
"[Seif] never requested credentials or a background check, and subsequently learned that the employee was neither a paralegal nor a lawyer, and he had a criminal record," the announcement said. "After leaving the firm, the nonlawyer employee went to prison for stealing more than $5,000 from Seif."
The Florida Supreme court likewise handed down a six-month suspension against Seif, according to the court's two-page order. Seif's Florida suspension was effective 30 days from the date of the state Supreme Court's order to allow him time to close out his practice and protect his existing clients' interests, according to the high court's order.
The Florida court also ordered Seif to pay $1,250 in costs.
Florida court orders are not final until time to file a rehearing motion expires. Filing such a motion does not alter the effective date of Seif's suspension.
Seif was admitted to the bar in Florida on Oct. 23, 2008, according to his profile at the state bar website. No prior discipline before the state bar is listed on Seif's Florida bar profile.
A Law Society of Upper Canada tribunal commenced a conduct proceeding against Seif in September 2016 following the society's allegations that Seif "failed to assume complete professional responsibility for the operation of his law firm," the tribunals notice of application said.
Seif also was alleged to have failed to prevent or to have facilitated the unauthorized practice of law when he allegedly failed to adequately supervise two employees in his law firm who were not licensed by the soceity to practice law.