Business Development Manager Banned for Falsifying Emails

| General


A legal professional had been employed by a leading provider of legal services emanating in the City of London and had accrued more than seventeen years of expertise with the business. The headlines made clear that she was not acting as a solicitor, however, the provider employed her in the capacity of a Business Development Manager. The working relationship between the legal services provider and the individual Business Development Manager appears to have been progressing well, and her longevity covered more than an entire school generation. The legal services provider was apparently in the process of compiling, populating, and submitting its respective application to the leading legal website the Legal 500, and several pieces of correspondence were received from the Legal 500 confirming that the legal services provider was to be admitted to the Legal 500 for the years 2020 dated 12th February 2020 and 10th August 2021 respectively.

Be Sure Your Sins Will Find You Out…

However, matters took a worrying turn when evidence emerged suggesting that the Business Development Manager had shockingly falsified the two pieces of email correspondence, gone rogue on a folly of her own by inexplicably failing to submit the legal service provider’s application form until after the cut-off point for applications. 

Now a relatively standard response for anyone facing this situation may be for The BDM to potentially approach the provider of legal services and honestly disclose the error or inform them within a reasonable time period that they deadline is likely to be missed. However, this particular Business Development Manager made the polar opposite decision and attempted to disguise the fact that the period for sending in applications for the two years had expired and falsely manufactured correspondence in the form of emails, the content of which purportedly provided evidence that the legal service provider was registered in the Legal 500 publication for the respective years 2020 and 2021.

What Did The Solicitors Regulation Authority Say?

These matters usually only really see the light of day when the SRA is notified by a concerned party regarding an issue based on some form of documentary or physical evidence appearing to suggest wrongdoing, unprofessional conduct, or poor behaviour. However, from reading the judgment it is unclear how this case meandered its way to the attention of the regulator SRA. However, when the SRA they reviewed the evidence and seemingly took a dim view of the BDM’s decision to cover-up the missed deadline, the manufacture of fake documents and misleading that the firm was registered on the Legal 500 when this was untrue. 

The SRA was damning of this behavior and labeled it as deceptive. To make an example the BDM and deter others tempted to act like this the SRA handed down an order preventing her from carrying out work for any legal service providers and if she wants a return to this line of work, she would need to approach the regulator for their approval. 

Way Forward?

Legal professionals need to be mitigating the risk of being sanctioned by the regulator by:

  • ensuring they are aware of important deadlines
  • managing their time effectively so they can comply with tight timescales
  • providing notice to an employer that an important deadline is likely to be missed
  • avoiding dishonestly claiming to have complied with deadlines by making false confirmation emails and
  • acting truthfully, ethically, and professionally at all times 

They would be well advised not to choose the wrong path if they want to continue in their prestigious position.

Written by Adam Green

ASSESSING FIRMS

#DLAPiper #CliffordChance #HoganLovells #Linklaters #Allen&Overy #Latham&Watkins #FreshfieldBrukhausDeringer #Ashurst #NortonRoseFulbright

THE ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN USING THE FOLLOWING SOURCES 

[SOURCE 1] Hyde, John – Office Manager Barred for selling City’s firm’s property on eBay – Law Society Gazette – 12 October 2022 - Office manager barred for selling City firm’s property on eBay | News | Law Gazette

[SOURCE 2] Shears, Emma – Solicitors Regulation Authority – 4th October 2022 - SRA | Shears, Emma - 7004718 | Solicitors Regulation Authority

[SOURCE 3] Section 43 applications and order – Weightmans - Section 43: Unqualified persons and the SRA | Weightmans

[SOURCE 4] Section 99 – How we regulate non-authorized persons – 17 November 2021 – Solicitors Regulation Authority - SRA | Guidance | Solicitors Regulation Authority


 

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