Court or Tribunal: 
Catchwords: Legal fees, Professional Misconduct, Removal from Roll
Judges:  E Hayes (General Member)Hon G Mullane ADCJ (Principal Member)M Riordan (Senior Member)

Background: Sydney solicitor Victor Berger made regular phone calls to a frail and elderly client, checking on her health, her relationship with her children, and her housework. Months before the woman died, aged in her 90s, Mr Berger sent her family members a bill for $176,800. The June 2012 bill charged $90,527 for "non-legal work", such as the personal phone calls to the woman, known as Mrs N. After her unit was sold, Mr Berger directed the buyer to pay $154,000 into his bank account, despite it being trust money belonging to Mrs N's estate. He later had $20,000 transferred from the trust money to his son-in-law. An assessor found Mr Berger overcharged the woman by $137,543. Five years earlier, Mr Berger went to an intensive care ward and oversaw an 84-year-old dementia patient sign  
  [Legal Issue]In view of the practitioner’s entrenched inadequacies regarding costs disclosures and his conduct that has been dishonest and sometimes fraudulent, as well as his repeated failures to comply with the laws regarding the management of trust money and his continuing denial that any of the conduct that has been found to have occurred is “dishonest”, the Tribunal is not satisfied that he is currently fit to practice as a legal practitioner. The practitioner has not demonstrated any convincing insight into the nature of his conduct and he has not expressed any real remorse for any of his actions. There is no evidence that he has paid compensation to any victim of his unsatisfactory professional conduct and professional misconduct. The Tribunal notes that during the Stage 2 hearing hi   [Court Orders]1. The name of the Respondent Victor Berger is to be removed from the roll of local lawyers. 2. The respondent must pay the costs of the applicant of or incidental to both the proceedings number 2015/00383879 and 2016/00378630 as agreed or as assessed.     

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