Ottawa lawyer James Bowie suspended again by Law Society of Ontario

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Ottawa lawyer James Bowie, already under indefinite suspension for unrelated professional misconduct last year, has again been suspended by the Law Society of Ontario for not fully co-operating with its legal-services-for-sex investigation.

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The complaint this time is that Bowie may have sexually harassed women, including female clients, may have offered representation in exchange for sexual favours and may have provided legal services below the standard of competence and quality.

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So far he’s not playing ball with the law society and hasn’t complied with its investigator’s requests, including the original client files of the complainant, and a list of all female clients he has represented since January 2018.

Bowie didn’t attend his June hearing before the law society tribunal and gave no explanation for his absence. The panel proceeded in his absence and the chair reserved the decision. In that decision, recently released, Bowie was given an additional two-month suspension following his current indefinite suspension, which continues until he fully co-operates with the law society investigations.

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Bowie was first suspended last year and told to cease practising law immediately until he answered fully to complaints that he gave crummy service and ghosted clients when they demanded refunds. As reported by this newspaper, Bowie practised law while under suspension in 2022.

The Glebe lawyer is also facing criminal prosecution on charges of harassment, extortion and two counts of uttering threats to a woman.

Bowie is also being sued for $325,000 in a sexual harassment and defamation lawsuit filed by a former client.

In the statement of claim, a 29-year-old woman struggling with finances says Bowie offered a “deal” that would have her perform oral sex every two weeks to pay off her legal bill.

The former client, “deeply disturbed” by the proposition, also said Bowie sent her an unsolicited image of his penis, according to the claim.

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The lawsuit, which includes an allegation of breach of confidence, matches the narrative this newspaper previously reported after the former client filed a complaint with the law society.

Bowie is also accused of threatening the former client to keep quiet.

“(Bowie) advised the (client) not to tell anyone about their Snapchat exchanges and warned that, if she did, she would jeopardize her criminal defence and could end up getting convicted,” the claim states.

More, the claim says, Bowie “bragged” to the client about knowing the Crown attorney assigned to the file and suggested that would help her in getting the charges tossed.

Bowie, accused in open court of predatory behaviour, believed he was famous on Twitter for his commentary on the convoy protest in early 2022. He said his social media account was more time-consuming than his legal practice and he was just too busy to reply to the law society.

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“I’ve just been busier than I’ve ever been in my life,” Bowie told a law society investigator in an email.

One of his former clients told this newspaper in December that she flatly rejected Bowie’s unwanted propositions.

A message from a Bowie account replied to her on Snapchat: “I’m talking about our deal, what we were talking about before, and I’m propositioning you.”

The client at the time said she didn’t want to perform oral sex. A message from the purported Bowie account then asked: “Do you find me attractive?”

The client then replied: “Into you? Romantically?” “I’ve never met you.”

The client told this newspaper, “It made me feel powerless and also ashamed that all I was worth was sexual favours. It led to depression, time off work, lost weight, stress and suicidal.”

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In the complaint to the law society, she said, “(Bowie) has caused me trauma and I am worried he will do the same to other vulnerable people. He should not be in a position of power or trust.”

None of the criminal or civil allegations have been proved or tested in court.

Bowie’s criminal lawyer, Eric Granger, has told this newspaper his client doesn’t have a criminal record, is presumed innocent and will be vigorously defended.

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